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Stats? I Don’t Need No Stinking Stats!


I just wrote the following as a comment to a post by Matt Stigliano:

There is a world of difference between having a debate and exchanging viewpoints.  Some debates are really in the contest category and the goal ceases to be about discovery and becomes a contest in making the other person wrong.

When a person is looking at other viewpoints in order to broaden his own – making the other person wrong does not enter into it in any way.

I suppose this train wreck was on my mind when I wrote the above.  Years ago when I factually knew everything – anybody who expressed a viewpoint that was different than mine was behind the times or just simply wrong.  Over the years, the more I learned the less self-righteous I became, the more I could see things from the other person’s viewpoint.  I found that there were a great many correct methods and that each and every one of those methods being adjudicated as correct was never anything but a matter of viewpoint.  Things that are “good” are simply those things that an individual considers good.  Same with “bad”.  Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.  There is nothing that is “absolutely good” or “absolutely bad”.  Those things, ideas, people, entities that are conceived to assist survival are ” good”.  Those that inhibit survival are “bad”.

Just as life is improved on a gradient,thought – if it is going to be logical – would allow for gradient scale logic.  Not just YES and NO, but a gradient scale of YES and NO.  Some things are more pro-survival than others and vice versa. 

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284 comments and counting.  The only idea and statement made by Eric Bramlett was that forced registration, to be allowed to see the IDX results, would produce more deals than not having forced registration.  And that he had empirical data to verify that statement as being true.  Not quite at the level of “gravity can be counted upon when you are outside” but still a pretty simple concept.  What happened next is something to behold.  You would have thought that someone set a Mormon down across from a Catholic and demanded of both of them, “Convert him”!!  Perhaps the most remarkable idea put forth (and defended, I might add) was that forced registration was just as evil as murder.

If the purpose of commenting or offering a different opinion is to change the other person’s viewpoint with your “better” viewpoint – just one question:  Does that technique ever work?

And if the reason for communicating isn’t to share with others, then what is left?  To write or talk so you can read it or hear it yourself?

graphic credit

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Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Jim Gatos

    August 27, 2009 at 9:17 am


    What am I missing? I scanned the post and comments. I use “forced” registration myself…

  2. Erion Shehaj

    August 27, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Grinning all the way to the office, Russell

  3. Eric Bramlett

    August 27, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Great post, Russell. I’m a little embarrassed that I was roped into, and offended by the morality argument. My only point, which I believe was made by lack of evidence to the contrary, is that one technique has measurable results that are greater than another. Apparently I came across as an evangelist, and for that, I’m embarrassed.

  4. John Kalinowski

    August 27, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Eric – You shouldn’t be embarrassed at all! I appreciate the post, as we are just getting ready to add IDX to our site, and I now see that I should be asking for registration if I’m serious about growing my company’s business and helping more people buy and sell homes. I think if you offer better service than your competitors, it would be unethical to not try and reach out to as many people as possible to tell them what you an do. You’re doing the right thing.

  5. Doug Francis

    August 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Did part of this post go missing?

    The only reason I understood the lower half was that I commented on Eric’s post on Bloodhoundblog…

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    August 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I was sent a link to the argument, looked briefly but couldn’t back my way through it. I did, however, retreat to my own confines and write a postthat linked to local agents who don’t require registration as I do. Why? Because at the end of the day, there’s more to the value proposition than having an IDX feed. Though the IDX makes for a damn good hook most of the time.

  7. BawldGuy

    August 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    The whole ‘murder’ thing pretty much illustrates emotional thinking, an oxymoronic concept if ever there was one.

  8. Matthew Hardy

    August 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    This is simple. When you have a miniscule real estate business, try to be successful at blogging. I’m much more interested in learning from those who have quantifiable results *selling houses* than from those whose primary interest is pagerank.

  9. Teri

    August 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Passing judgment on passing judgment… gotta love it. 😀

  10. Adam Weart

    August 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    To answer the question:

    “Does that technique ever work?”

    To quote John Mayer: “Has anyone ever changed their mind, from words on a sign?”

    No. I have never seen anyone change their mind.

    If there is a topic that has people so heated, the focus shouldn’t be trying to change the opposition’s mind (especially with a topic like forced registration). Instead rather, you should attempt to change the paradigm.

    Interesting active rain article:

  11. Matt Stigliano

    August 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Russell – What I’m about to say may upset some people, so I want to preface it with the fact that I’m not here to pick a fight, but rather to give my take on what I’ve seen. I’d also like to say thanks for the link (Russell Shaw linked to my post – cool.)

    And if the reason for communicating isn’t to share with others, then what is left? To write or talk so you can read it or hear it yourself?

    I’m not sure that’s the answer. Not in real estate at least. I think it’s one of the answers. I have noticed an interesting trend since beginning both my real estate and blogging careers. We’re all out here blogging for business. We want to attract new clients, new followers, new friends. There are many reasons outside of that that we blog, but let’s just talk business.

    By blogging for business we are attempting to prove our self-worth by our writing. It’s not everything we are, but we need someone to see that value first, so that they might pick up the phone or list their home with us. We need our writing to be convincing to someone we’ve never met to show our expertise and authority on the topic at hand.

    If I tell you you’re wrong on your blog and argue a differing opinion from yours, I have done the simplest thing in the world to show my authority. I have told you that you were wrong. What’s the opposite of wrong? Yep, you guessed it – right. Now you are no longer an authority and I am. I hold the power. Of course, it only takes some one else to come along and call me out to give the power over to them – or even back to you.

    Not every blogger is doing that when they disagree, but give it some thought. I’ve seen enough one-up-manship on blogs to know what’s going on – consciously or not. Some of it is subtle, some of it is not. Some of it might not even be intended. People like to argue for arguments sake at times. At times, they don’t even care what they’re arguing about. Occasionally it passes the point of no return and just gets ugly.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the internet, it is that people are less afraid to be a little more forceful in typing than they would be speaking. Especially if they can remain anonymous. But even with their name right there on every word, they still often have more conviction than they might in person. The psychology of the internet is a strange world – one that will be looked at for years to come I’m sure. At least, I hope it will, because I’d love to read the findings.

  12. Ryan Ward

    August 27, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    What I find most disturbing about the post is not what was written, but, what was not said by those who read but do not post. What must they think? Perhaps if we had them register to view comments we could contact them and ask 🙂

  13. Joe Loomer

    August 28, 2009 at 7:32 am

    The featured speaker at the Keller Williams Family Reunion in Orlando last February was Clint Swindall – a very funny and very motivational man.

    One thing he stated struck me to the core:

    “If you always have to be right, then someone always have to be wrong. If you’re always right and they’re always wrong, sooner or you are going to turn that person into a LOSER.”

    At the risk of going waaaay off course here and injecting too much of my personal life into this argument – that statement alone made me change my parenting approach to allow my children to make more decisions for themselves.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  14. Ken Brand

    August 28, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Human nature amplified by the ability to comment (throw-down) from a remote and safe location (I’m sitting on a white leather couch, bare feet propped up on the coffee table watching CNBC) generally leads to a spectacle and for some, behavior that would never happen if they were sitting across a table from a real person. Funny, sad, interesting, expected and revealing.

    Also, different websites have different cultures, sorta like Vulcans, Humans, Klingons, etc. Some places are sorta like the Fight Club. Anyway, knowing that going in, I learn some and I arrive with entertainment in mind. I like MMA too.

    As sales people, we are lots of thing, hopefully we are professional communicators, presenters and problem solvers – it seem’s we need these skills to create sustainable success. Plus our clients rely on us to “cool out” emotional issues. I wonder if the most aggressive, socially awkward and insecure commenters are also less successful in creating sustainable success?

    And lastly, unless it’s a friend, if someone wants to bust a cap in their own ass, I’ll hand them a fist full of bullets. It’s easier to look like a diamond when you’re standing next to dirt clods.

    Cheers – Nice post.

  15. Bob

    August 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    One of the problems I see with online debate is the lack of willingness to be proven wrong. Of course I think my opinion is right. Who in the world forms an opinion they believe to be wrong? But what’s worse – to be proven wrong, or continue to be wrong?

    My favorite subjects in school were history, logic, and speech, which included argumentation or debate. The key to debate, and it isnt always obvious when in action, is the purpose. Are you seeking to find the truth, or to win the argument for the sake of winning? The latter is eristic, from the ancient Greek word Eris meaning to wrangle or strife.

    This is what we find prevalent through that thread and many other online discussions. For many of the participants, there isnt a reasonable goal of factual discovery, but merely to win the argument. This eristic dialogue is more frequently found in court, where a lawyer needs to persuade regardless of the facts. Same thing we see in politics. However, without the skillset of a Reagan, Clinton or Obama, it usually degenerates into arguing for the sake of conflict. There is no persuasion, winner or resolution.

    With Plato, public debate frequently ended up with reaching some common ground on issues that weren’t based on reason or logic, such as political views. In other areas, it resulted in scientific proofs as myths and theories were factually proved or disproved.

    Eric, I applaud you for taking a chance on this. Unfortunately, many people dont want proof. They dont want to do a/b testing. They believe what they believe and to be proven wrong is failure that is taken personally, not success.

    Success? Yes, success. If my opinion is factually incorrect and you can show me why, I am better for it. That is success. The key is to not be married to the opinion, but to the goal of seeking the truth.

    Or more leads. 😉

  16. Jim Whatley

    August 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I have a pretty good keyword search tool on my site. I all way invite everyone to use it. I believe if I offer a better site it just makes me look better. People are mostly made of water and water follow the path of least resistance.

    The more people that use it the more I become in Google’s eyes the place to go. People follow people.

    Real estate is a number game.

    In Florida, You are considered a VOW Virtuail Office web site. Thus you have to follow a bunch more rules.

    I want to be the pretty girl in the bar that everyone want to meet.

    You have to give them something to know you are interested in meeting them.

    plus I think Russell is the man. Have not meet him but have traded email. Great guy.

  17. Johnson County KS Real Estate

    August 28, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Its nice to see that you have evolved from trying to prove others wrong. Obviously people have different viewpoints, and I don’t think it is anyone’s right or responsibility to shake them from that viewpoints. If they are wrong, sometimes its ok to let them live in their ignorance.

  18. Bob

    August 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Its not about proving people wrong. Its about separating fact from fiction.

    Ever watch Mythbusters on TV?

    If you put forth a viewpoint on a public forum, why be afraid to have it tested? What’s the worst thing that happens? In an intelligent debate the issue is the veracity of the topic r opinion. It isn’t about the opinion holder.

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