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Redfin website beats the real estate world to the punch

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Here at AG, we pour over a great deal of data every day regarding brokerages and the real estate sector overall and we feel lucky that we get to see the real estate world from a bird’s eye perspective and have been forecasting trends effectively for several years now. We recently spotted a real estate company taking part in a trend that until now, no one else has.

Growing discount brokerage Redfin has announced that their mapping feature will now offer clusters of listings that when zoomed in on offer other clusters so that search results are based on proximity. This change may seem minor or like simple eye candy, but we see so much more in their announcement- they’re adhering to modern web standards by using HTML5 with CSS transitions and offering up cross browser compatibility.

Redfin’s update will likely go overlooked in the industry and in two years when the self proclaimed tech savvy brokers get around to following suit, they’ll call themselves pioneers. We have been watching the advancement of web standards as the fight between programming languages heats up (and trust us, Flash vs. HTML5 is a whopper of a fight) and we have wondered when a firm would step up and adhere to standards that are forward facing rather than simply use 2005 technologies and call themselves innovative.

Redfin drew a line in the sand this month. It’s a small line and you probably can’t quite see it yet, it’s that faint, but it’s there. We’re hoping that any indie brokerages on the fringe that have started implementing these web standards will step up to bat, because we haven’t heard of any yet. Redfin has separated themselves from the pack and whether you like their model or not, they’re investing in future technologies without worry about the “tech savvy” agents that are still stuck on how to sign up for “the Twitter” while unaware that they are falling behind the tech curve.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Ken Montville

    November 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Well, I’m not techno geek but does anyone find it ironic that this “clustering” has a red line around it. I’m not sure Redfin is at the forefront of redlining. If memory serves, it’s a pretty old concept. But, then, I’m sure I’m missing the point.

    • Lani Rosales

      November 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      Ken, please read the article (again?); it’s not about clustering or the colors of the lines, it’s about web standards and programming languages…

      • Bob Wilson

        November 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

        Web standards isnt the key here, but it goes hand in hand with new development. The key is increased conversion due to better user experience. Anyone doing this stuff today is going to be using those standards.

      • Ken Montville

        November 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

        I got that it was about web standards. Like I said, I was sure I was missing the point. Is techno steering more ethical/legal than me telling someone in my car, “You said you like this nice {fill in the criteria} neighborhood. You wouldn’t like that other neighborhood. Let’s not go there.”

        Yeah, this is a wonderful, technical advancement and I know it’s not about the color of the lines. It never was even when banks drew the lines on maps.

        The post isn’t that long. I’m just raising the point that sometimes techies can get so absorbed in their techno stuff that they lose touch with humanity.

        • Ken Montville

          November 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm

          Well, I guess from reading the rest of the comments that it’s ok to steer people into certain clusters to the exclusions of others. I guess it’s consumer choice, right.

  2. Bob Wilson

    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Redfin isnt the only one working on this, but the first to market.

    As Glenn says, it fixes the biggest issue with map searches.

    What is important here isnt the web standards, but the fact that Glenn understood what his data was telling him and how that relates to increased conversion, which is the real bottom line.

    • Bob Wilson

      November 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Actually, I believe DS has been clustering as well, so my first to market comment may not be correct.

      • Lani Rosales

        November 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm

        Hey Bob, with your unique background, do you agree that their forward thinking is ahead of the real estate tech curve?

        • Bob Wilson

          November 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

          I dont believe its forward thinking with regard to programming as much as smart business. Few successful companies build tomorrow’s apps with yesterday’s programming.

          What I believe is that Redfin understood their data and picked up on the fact that map based search sucks big time for the consumer, and therefor it sucks for Redfin. While many vendors love to push techno bling for the sake of being able to add the “New & Improved” label, redfin understands that in order to be profitable, you have to convert traffic to leads, and leads to closed sales. Most map based search products are more of a parlor game than tool that adds to the broker or agent’s bottomline, as Redfin alluded to in their post.

          I am impressed with the product, and I have said that about very few map search programs. This is good for them and it raises the bar for others.

          They didnt do this just to have the coolest map search. They did it to make more money. That makes them forward thinkers in this biz.

        • Matt Goulart

          November 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

          Yes, this means Redfin is a head of the real estate tech curve in HTML5. Not entirely sure why the arguement of clusters has started… the article is about web standards. Briefly mentioning the bigger picture of Flash vs HTML5.

          On another note, Microsoft recently entered the web standard to support HTML5 instead of their own silverlight platform.

  3. Jeff

    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I am pretty sure Diverse Solutions has been clustering for awhile.

    • Lani Rosales

      November 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Diverse Solutions is great! That is awesome!!!

      • Cynthia

        November 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm

        Sawbuck has been clustering for years too.

  4. Sheila Rasak

    November 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    What???

  5. Bruce Lemieux

    November 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    DS has clustering, but Redfin’s implementation is so much more elegant and useful. Redfin’s use of clustering on their iPhone app is even better than their web implementation.

    I don’t know anything about Redfin’s technology, but home buyers in the metro D.C. area love the app. At open houses, I ask buyers “how did you find us”. Redfin is easily the #1 answer.

  6. Daniel Bates

    November 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I saw this being done on google maps a while ago. It improves load time remarkably and should be helpful to some real estate browsers.

  7. Roland Estrada

    November 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Maybe I’m not getting it. The map search feature on my search site loads faster and offer the same if not more information than does Redfin. This is not a plug but check it out and judge for yourseslf. My site also renders faster. HTML5 is better suited for for more graphically intensive uses. Check out Apple’s Demo site apple.com/html5/.

    The real Luddites are the real estate vendors such as MarketLinx and SharperAgent. There are others of course. Their big problem is cross-browser compatibility. That could have been achieved years ago but they have no foresight. I’ve complained about the browser issue for years.

    Not to mention cross-platform issues. Zipforms just this year, became Mac compatible. Vendors have been behind for a long, long time. By the time they catch up there something else passing them by.

  8. FlatFeeRealty.com

    November 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    HTML5 standards are definitely the way to go. I just upgraded my sites to be W3C HTML5 valid CSS and markup.

  9. BawldGuy

    November 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve thought for quite some time now, that web standards needed a bottom up revamping. 🙂

    What Bob said.

  10. BawldGuy

    November 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    As I said before — What Bob said.

  11. White Bear Lake Homes

    November 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I follow Redfin’s blog, and I know how much they were pushing to make this release. I have nothing but respect for Redfin, and they have my support in their expedition to advance the real estate technology landscape.

  12. Rob McCance

    November 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Nice dig Lani….you don’t miss much, do ya?

    Here’s a funny one, our MLS provider here in the ATL, FMLS, just paid major bucks for, and is transitioning to a “all new” interface based 100% on….FLASH.

    I sat in on the training class and had to just keep my mouth shut the entire time.

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Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

20 bullsh*t buzzwords that should be banned from tech forever

(OPINION) As the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. Here’s 20 of the worst offenders.

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There’s specific lingo in any industry. Buzzwords, if you will. Get a group of friends who work together for beers after clocking out, and chances are you’ll get lost quickly once they start trading war stories – outsiders beware.

But, there’s one community who puts even nurses (marry a nurse, and you’ll learn what prophylaxis means) to shame with insider speak and bullshit buzzwords: the tech community.

Tech folks are like business and marketing people but mutated. There’s so much free-flowing jargon that goes unchecked and evolves a la Origin of The Species within days. The words and phrases become gospel and, before you know it, people are sharing these nonsense phrases that become the industry norm, leaving anyone on the outside scratching their heads, trying to decipher the tech code.

But, as the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. There are words used so out of context that make you want to turn them into a snarky meme and pass it around the office because you’re a jerk like that. (Well, I’m at least a jerk like that.)

These are some of those words.

The words that need to die a horrible, 24 hour, “what does it all mean” death.

Words that should be locked away in a prison so vile Charles Manson would be like, “Nah, bro. I’m good.”

Please don’t use these words in your marketing, pitch meetings, or just ever. They suck.Click To Tweet

Strap in and lock it down, here we go:

1. Sync
Can’t we just say “everyone knows what’s going on” instead of sync? This is one of those metaphors alluding to tech as melded with the products and culture, serving as interchangeable. We’re people, not iPhones to be plugged into our laptops. We don’t need to sync. We can meet up.

2. Robust
Robust is coffee, a strong tea you imported from India. It’s not a tech software experience. A can of Folgers can claim to be robust, your project tool cannot share this claim.

3. Pain point
Are we still using this one? A pain point is an elbow that’s got an owie, not what a customer thinks sucks.

4. Delight
I’m delighted to eat an excellent meal or get an unexpected call from an old friend. I’m delighted to leave work early to have drinks. I’m not delighted to use enterprise software. Sure, it makes my day easier. Does it offer a view of heaven when I can use self-service? I think not.

5. Disrupt
One of the godzillas of Jargon Mountain. I get that this worked in context a few years ago. But, now? You’re not “the Uber of…” and you’re not “disrupting” anything.

You built a parking app, Pat. You didn’t change the world.

If you dethrone Facebook, you’ve disrupted the world. ‘Til then, keep your pants on. Your algorithm for the best pizza place in town ain’t changing the block, let alone the face of communication.

6. Game changer & Change agent
Does anyone buy into this one? Was the game changed? This goes in the bin with “Disrupt.”

7. Bleeding Edge
Some jerk in some office decided “the cutting edge” wasn’t enough. It wasn’t hyper progressive enough, so they labeled their work the “bleeding edge”.

If this phrase were any more douchey, it would have a neck beard and a fedora and argue the tenants of socialism on IRC with strangers while sipping Mountain Dew.

8. Dog food
Who came up with this? When did a beta test get labeled as “dog food” I’m still lost on how this one became the industry standard. “We’re eating our own dog food.” This doesn’t even make a lick of sense, people. Just say we’re testing something. It’s a lot easier.

9. Alignment
What happened to just saying you agree? I thought alignment was for tires, not for working. I’ll give you parallel, but alignment? Not buying it.

10. Pivot
Pivot is just a fancy, non-finger point-y way of saying change. And typically, that change is reacting to something not going the company’s way. “Pivoting” means reacting to bad news or undesired outcome and making everyone involved feel smarter about the process.

11. Revolutionary
Unless you’ve built software that cures cancer, does something better than Elon Musk, or gets you laid faster than Tinder, you’re not revolutionary. You’re an element of evolution in a steadily progressing world.

12. Internet of Things
I still don’t even know what the hell this means. Really. It’s one of those phrases people use and pretend to know but really don’t.

13. Bandwidth
I thought bandwidth was Internet stuff, not how busy you are at work. Can’t we say, “if you’re not too busy,” instead of, “if you have the bandwidth,”..?? These are people, not routers.

14. Low-hanging fruit
You mean the easy work? “Easy win” even applies here. But the whole gardening metaphor is tired. It’s ok to say, “Do the easy work first” in a meeting. Hiding behind a metaphorical phrase doesn’t make the work any less important.

15. Deliverables
Do we need to break everything down into words to make the process more complicated? Aren’t deliverables, just work? It’s an adjective to describe what work you’re completing… so… it’s just work. Throw in a “key, ” and you’re jargon-y as all get out.

16. Circle Back
Translation: I don’t want to continue talking about this right now, so I’m going to schedule more pointless meetings to discuss this thing I don’t understand and don’t want to talk about in a few days. Likely, scheduled on your lunch break.

17. Action item
What happened to the good ole’ “to do List”? Instead, we’ve got “action item”. You come out of a meeting with a sore ass. The boss pounds on your for the stuff you need to do. You’re up to your ears in homework, yet, it’s not work you need to do – it’s “action items, to be delivered upon.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?

18. Take it offline
If there was ever painful corporate-speak, this one is a granddaddy. Instead of burning minutes in a meeting, someone will announce, “let’s take it offline.” Always happens. What about, “let’s talk about this face to face,” or “I’ll swing by your desk”, or “let’s figure this out.”

We appreciate you not annoying the rest of us with your A+B problem, but we’re not all living in the matrix. Or, at least we think we’re not.

19. Buy-in
Committing to something – a culture, an idea, a feeling. We’re equating life to a poker game and expecting everyone to get the idea, too. So lame.

20. Rockstar – Ninja – Wizard – whatever descriptive verb
This one. Holy horse crap. Can we PLEASE STOP with trying to slap a descriptive label on good work? I get it. You want to exclaim your person is a badass, and they’ve got chops. But this labeling of people in fantastical ways just sucks. When did the craft of a ninja, or the fantastical abilities of a wizard relate to code? And the rockstar thing?

Dudes, you’re not Keith Richards, you wear a startup hoodie and complain when you’re not getting free lunch at work.

Also, these names suck because they imply some male-dominance-cum-brogrammer mentality. They’re shadowy ciphers that are such machismo, it’ll barf up a steak. When a woman gets labeled a “ninja” it’s in an entirely different context, and that’s not cool. Writers have to get creative and use terms like “acrobat” or “juggler” to give off a sentiment of equal playing field, and it’s obnoxious. Just stop with these lame titles.

And there you have it. 20 bullshit buzzwords that should be banned forever and ever. Comment away, and add the jargon you loathe in the comments section. If it goes well, maybe they’ll ask me to write a part two, and we’ll make even more people mad.

This editorial was first published here in 2017.

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Opinion Editorials

Study says women need to be seen as “warm” to be considered confident

(EDITORIAL) A new study reveals that despite progress, women are still successful when they fall into a stereotype. Let’s discuss.

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About 15 years ago, I took a part-time job in a mental health clinic handling bookkeeping and billing. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I attacked the job with what I felt was confidence. For the first few days, I simply felt as if I was an imposter. I kept asking questions and pushing forward, even though I didn’t make much progress. Within just a few days, I felt the hostility of the office manager.

It got progressively worse, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck I’d done to make her so confrontational with me. I thought I was pleasant and respectful of her position, and I was getting along with the other employees. When I talked to our boss, I was told that I intimidated the office manager. HUH? Me? Intimidating? I was a complete mess at the time. I could barely put together a business casual wardrobe. My emotional health was so fragile that I rarely went anywhere new. And she found me intimidating?

Researchers have been studying how people judge others. Susan Fiske, researcher out of Princeton, found that competence and warmth are two of the dimensions used to judge others. Based on that research, Laura Guillén, Margarita Mayo, and Natalia Karelaia studied the competence and warmth at a software company with 236 engineers.  Guillén and her team collected data at two separate times about these engineers and their confidence and influence within the organization.

They found that “men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent, but women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm.

Women must be seen as warm in order to capitalize on their competence and be seen as confident and influential at work; competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not.”

We encourage women to be confident, but based on current research, it may not be enough to close the gender gap in the workplace. A woman must be seen as helpful and dedicated to others to have the same influence as a man. As a woman, it’s easy to be seen as the #bossbitch when you have to make tough decisions. Those same decisions, when made by a man might be considered just “business as normal.”

I guess the lesson is that women still have to work twice as hard as men just to be seen as equals. I know that I have to work on empathy when I’m in an office environment. That office manager isn’t the only person who has thought I’m intimidating. I’ve heard it from it others, but you know what? As a self-employed writer, I’d rather be seen as undeterred and daunting than submissive and meek.

This editorial first appeared here in 2016.

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