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Opinion Editorials

Shall I Be Trendy?



According to the 2007 Swanepoel Trends Report, the Top 10 trends of Real Estate there are a lot of changes on the real estate horizon (oh wait, are we there already?!?). The concept of Web 2.0 is in the forefront of these changes.

I happen to like the whole Web 2.0 thing, and I like real estate … but now this makes me trendy?!? I do not know how “okay” I am with this. I spent the better part of my youth going against the grain – being the anti-trend. And since I still consider myself young (Didn’t you hear? 32 is the new 21 …) I still have that “If every one of my lemming colleagues are going THIS way, then I will go THAT way” kind of attitude. And yes. It IS an attitude.

So in looking at these Top 10 Trends, I am now facing a grain I am not too interested in going against. Ugh …

  1. New real estate business models: What is the impact of ABM’s (Alternative Business Models) on the real estate industry … Internet Real Estate Companies, Flat Fee MLS Shops? I believe that ABM’s are essential in the balance of the business of real estate. Although I disagree with several of them on various points, I still value their place in the business.
  2. What is happening to our local MLS? : The IDX systems out there are giving the local MLS systems a run for their money. A National MLS is definitely on the horizon … but IMHO it won’t be a TRUE National MLS as disclosure laws vary from state to state. (For example, in Colorado it is illegal to disclose that a house may be haunted, whereas other states demand that disclosure.) However, the exclusivity to listings that the MLS once had is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and that is FINE by me. I have no need to hoard my listings. I would rather SELL them.
  3. How does Web 2.0 fit into your life? : I know plenty of agents who run screaming from anything remotely “new fangled” like that pesky “internet”. Okay. Fine. I know that (just like their fashion sense and Glamour Shots) they are stuck in the day where door knocking and cold calling reined king. Well, they can HAVE their gold embroidery blouses and PUSH their advertising into everyone’s lap. I would rather answer the phone call of a new client that has researched me, like what I say and do and wants to do business with me, than cold call a “lead” that doesn’t know me from Adam.
  4. The New Consumer: Great time to plug a post I wrote a year ago about being a GenX Consumer (opens in new window). … Oh how the landscape is different when dealing with a Baby Boomer vs. a GenX or GenY consumer. I get it.
  5. How to deal with the poor image of real estate agents: Um. They suck and deserve that image. So there. Okay … not all of them, and definitely not
    you, my genius friends. But, c’mon! I REFUSE to deal with that poor image. I would rather CHANGE it. GO RENEGADE REALTORS!®
    (BTW, go to Google and type in Renegade Realtor®…)
  6. Consumer and Realtor® Demographics: Who IS a consumer? Who IS buying and selling and investing in homes right now? Who IS representing them? Who IS successful in real estate? Somehow, I am under the impression that thick polyester blend suits and greased back hair do’s are not in the picture as much … Yah, not so much.
  7. Race for/with/against/because of CHANGE: Things are changing so fast that those who are not “in the know” will be left “in the snow”. You might as well just wrap yourself up in toilet paper and ride the Subway to Manhattan … This report mentions CRITICAL MASS. AH! I have been brewing that phrase in my little head since I started real estate and saw the changes coming faster and faster and faster. If we are not on top of the wave of this “new” business of real estate, it will be too late. Early adopters of this Web 2.0 / Life 2.0 way of thinking and doing business will be the ONLY ones still doing business before long. Oh well. So Sad. No. Not really.
  8. Opportunity is knocking: 2.3 kids, a dog and a white picket fence are not the norms anymore. (I could argue that it never was, but that is a whole different post… )The home buying and selling public is a whole new breed of consumer – sprouting from every corner of every possible way of life and culture. Opportunity is endless and many avenues are untouched in regards to niche marketing and making a name for yourself. Yay for niche marketing!
  9. WTF are Realtor® Associations for, anyway? : Who cares? I know they serve a purpose, and I happen to really like mine, but their usefulness even 5 years ago is pretty obsolete today. To be seen as worthy – even a little bit – they are going to have to make some hefty changes in WHO they are and WHAT they offer their members.
  10. The Legacy of Today: Remember the Housing Bubble? What happened to the foreclosure rate? Where did all the Sub-Prime lenders go? Major events of yore are shaping the business that we call Real Estate, today. Do you ignore the importance that each of these have on your business, or do you find ways to make your business BETTER because of (or in spite of) it? I am always up for a good challenge, and these recent events have taught me more about the housing market and my business than any CE class ever could.

I am actually quite excited about these new TRENDS. So, shall I hang up my roller skates, pack up my skate board, put away my stripey tights and Doc Martins and be trendy? No. But, in real estate … if it means making this business a better place to be, then trendy I shall be. (But my yellow Doc’s are still great to wear to closings …)

(All photos courtesy of the Photo Archives of Mariana.)

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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  1. Kevin Sharkey

    November 8, 2007 at 4:24 am

    Got goose bumps on this one. Nice job of wrapping your hands around the greased pig of current real estate conditions and keeping a focus of where we could go. Inspired!

  2. Mariana

    November 8, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Hey thanks, Kevin. Ultimately, it’s all good…

  3. ines

    November 9, 2007 at 2:52 am

    Mariana is trendy, mariana is trendy

    You crack me up every time! number nine even made me spit my water out (I’ll remember not to drink and read your blog next time).

  4. Mariana

    November 9, 2007 at 3:23 am

    Yea Ines … No drinking and commenting! 🙂

  5. monika

    November 10, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Love it Mariana! Trendy…you go girl! I like this trendy …Just Please don’t go the glamour shot route

  6. Ann Cummings

    November 10, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Mariana – trendy?? Yep, I think so! Love that picture of trendy Mariana!

    I do remember that “Renegade REALTOR” post……

  7. Mariana

    November 10, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Monika – Thanks! yoah … No Glamour Shots for me!
    Ann – “Trendy” has never quite been in my list of “things about Mariana” … Guess it has something to do with that “box” I refuse to stay in…

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Opinion Editorials

Uber CEO regrets saying that murder is part of business

(EDITORIAL) Uber CEO calls murder a mistake. Should society support a business that seems to think death is just part of the cost of doing business?



Uber Pickup

On February 21, 2016, I woke up early to notifications about a shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An Uber driver shot multiple individuals. Although I live in Oklahoma, the Facebook algorithms correctly deduced that this incident would be of interest to me. I have family and friends in Michigan, some in the Battle Creek area, just miles east of Kalamazoo. Later that morning, I learned that one of my friends had been killed in the incident.

Uber was criticized for the incident. Lawmakers across the country called for tougher background checks on Uber drivers. It was a PR nightmare for the company. Ultimately, it was the driver who was charged. Earlier this year, the driver pled guilty to all counts against him and was sentenced to life in prison. Uber continued operating, although then-Governor Rick Snyder did sign legislation that increased regulations for the ride-sharing industry.

I say this out of disclosure. This Uber tragedy affected me in a way that may cloud my opinion. I believe that Uber should be regulated more than it is. But recent events have made me question why society supports Uber and what I believe is a toxic culture.

How does Uber keep managing their corporate profile?

Uber seems to weather their PR crises fairly well. They’ve been criticized for inadequate background checks. Sexual harassment allegations at corporate headquarters shook up the management team. Uber has suffered data breaches. In 2018, the organization settled with the FTC for $148 million. Still, the company enjoys a market share of transportation services.

In 2018, Dara Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia took over at Uber as its new CEO, replacing the CEO and founder Travis Kalanick. It was reported that Kalanick “led the company astray” from its moral center. Khosrowshahi said at the time, “In the end, the CEO of the company has to take responsibility.”

Just days ago, during an interview, Khosrowshahi said that “the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a ‘mistake.’” It was a political murder. Khosrowshahi compared the assassination to a self-driving accident with an Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian. It didn’t take long for Khosrowshahi to issue a retraction, saying that he “said something in the moment (he doesn’t) believe.”

Is Uber’s culture toxic?

Khosrowshahi says that his comment shouldn’t mark him as a person. He thinks that what he said was a “learning moment.” When a CEO misspeaks in an interview that isn’t just local, but international, maybe we should pay attention. According to him, murder isn’t a big deal. I wonder if he would say that if it was his father who died, or his friend who was killed by a driver.

When my friend died in the Kalamazoo shooting, I had to seriously think about how I viewed Uber. My friend wasn’t even using Uber at the time. She was getting into her own car at a local restaurant with some friends of hers. I recognize that Uber wasn’t responsible for the driver going on a shooting spree, but I have to wonder if it was Uber’s culture that led to a lack of response at the time.

Uber’s new CEO seems removed from how its services affect individuals and communities as its previous CEO did. When a company thinks that murder is a “mistake,” maybe it’s time to rethink about supporting a service that doesn’t seem to think about people, its employees, its drivers and its riders.

It may be more convenient than a cab, but it’s time to look at Uber’s real impact on society. I hear Uber saying that innocent deaths are just the cost of business. Is that the basis for a billion-dollar corporation?

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Opinion Editorials

Funny females are less likely to be promoted

(CAREER) Science says that the funnier a female, the less likely she is to be promoted. Uhh…



funny females promoted less often

Faceless keyboard warriors around the world have been — incorrectly — lamenting that women just aren’t funny for years now (remember the “Ghostbusters” remake backlash?).The good news is they are obviously wrong. The bad news? When women dare to reveal their comedic side in the workplace they are often perceived as “disruptive” while men are rewarded.

That’s right. Women not only have to worry about being constantly interrupted, receiving raises less frequently than men despite asking for them equally as often, and still making nearly $10,000 less than men each year, but now they have to worry about being too funny at the office.

A recent University of Arizona study asked more than 300 people to read the fictional resume of a clothing store manager with the gender-neutral name “Sam” and watch a video presentation featuring Sam. The videos came in four versions: a serious male speaker, a humorous male speaker, a serious female speaker and a humorous female speaker.

According to the researchers, “humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females.” Translation: Male workers earn respect for being funny while their funny female coworkers are often seen in a more negative light.

There are, of course, several reasons this could be the case. The researchers behind this particular study pointed to the stereotype that women are more dedicated to their families than their work, and being perceived as humorous could convey the sense they don’t take their work as seriously as men.

Psychiatrist Prudy Gourguechon offered another take, putting the blame directly on Sam the clothing store manager, calling out their seemingly narcissistic behavior and how society’s tolerance for such behavior is “distinctly gender-based.” She says these biases go back to the social programming of our childhoods and the roles mothers and fathers tend to play in our upbringing.

So what are women supposed to do with this information?

Gourgechon’s status quo advice includes telling women to not stop being funny, but “to be aware of the the feelings and subjectivities of the people around you.” While recommending an empathetic stance isn’t necessarily bad advice, it still puts the onus on women to change their behavior, worry about what everyone else thinks and attempt to please everyone around them.

We already know that professional women can have an extremely hard time remaining true to themselves in the workplace — especially women in the tech industry — and authenticity is often a privilege saved for those who conform to the accepted culture. We obviously still have a long way to go before women stop being “punished” for being funny at work, but things seem to be progressing, however slowly.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts last year on the improvements that have been made and the changes that still need to happen, including encouraging men to step up and do their part. In the wake of the #metoo movement, CNBC recommended five things men can do to support women at work. There are amazing women in STEM positions around the world we can all admire and shine a spotlight on.

All of these steps — both big and small — will continue to chip away at the gender inequality that permeates today’s workplaces. And perhaps one day in the near future, female clothing store manager Sam will be allowed to be just as funny as male clothing store manager Sam.

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Opinion Editorials

To the unsung entrepreneurial heroes – we believe in you

(EDITORIAL) To the unseen entrepreneur we see you and we know that you work your tails off to do good things in your community even if it never means going IPO.



restaurant entrepreneurs

I recently frequented one of my favorite new restaurants to find it permanently closed after less than a year. This locally sourced brunch place had pinpointed all of the farms that supplied their food on a map of California that hung like gallery art in the center of their restaurant.

They made sandwiches at their shop with donated food for the homeless and wrote inspirational notes to tuck inside their brown bag lunches. Their food was not only nutritious but delicious, and they seemed to always have patrons when we went, not too many that there was a line out the door, but enough that they always seemed busy.

I wish that we had spent more time there, more money, told more of our friends or left glowing yelp reviews, but we are only two people, two people who took a delicious restaurant for granted because we thought how could this fail?

I’m sure that’s what the owners believed too when they started out.

They probably thought they’d make great food that people want to eat in a location newly dubbed Silicon Beach – amid shiny live/work complexes, surrounded by startups and young people.

They ventured that they could morally source nutritious food, give back to the community, and be excellent.

Part of me imagines that they did so well as a restaurant that they shut their doors just to expand, or open in a better location, or take a much needed break. But they probably failed, like so many businesses do, and I want to take a moment to say thanks.

Not just to the restaurant that served the best breakfast tater tots that I have ever had the pleasure of eating, but to every entrepreneur who embarks on a journey that tries to make the world better.

I’m not just talking about the tech entrepreneurs, though we need you too.

I’m mostly talking about the unseen baker that wakes up at 3am every morning just to bring a handful of baked goods to their city. Or about the small store owner that stocks chotchkies and cookbooks and beautiful things all of which I wish I could buy. I’m talking about the start up plumber who shows up to your house on a Sunday afternoon and fixes your toilet because you’re at your wits end.

You are the unsung entrepreneurs, the heroes that we hurriedly thank on our way out the door.

You are the folks who had a dream and risked everything to bring us delicious food, adorable chotchkies, and functional plumbing.

A mentor of mine once told me that to be successful you must jump in the water, swim as fast as you can, and slowly increase the speed.

To those of you out there swimming as fast as you can – we’re behind you, and we appreciate you.

This is your headline, one you don’t often get — keep doing what you’re doing, we believe in you, and your hard work does not go unnoticed.

And if you decide after everything you’ve been through that it’s time to hang a permanently closed sign on your front door, there are people out there, lots of them maybe, who will mourn the loss of your mini quiches, your adorable iPhone cases, or even the best breakfast tater tots in the world.

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