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Opinion Editorials

Why Wait? – Here’s Glenn Kelman

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from the guys at condodomain.com

image source: condodomain.com


Snatched from comments in this article: The First & Second Moments of Consumer Delight

We agree that the statement about how traditional brokerages maintain high commissions is over-broad and unnecessary. We will change it in our next release, due out at the end of February.

Having said that, we are still opposed to broker-sponsored rules that govern how Redfin and others display listings that don’t pay a commission. It seems possible to oppose such rules without personally insulting anyone. And it is undeniable that if the large brokerages opposed these rules, they wouldn’t exist. But folks like you who do oppose these rules feel unjustly tarnished by such a general statement about traditional brokerages, which is why we will change it.

We would also note that we have never called anyone unethical or greedy, though we do feel that commissions paid by the seller create unwelcome conflicts of interest between buyers’ agents and their clients.

I think that the realities are setting in that finding more likenesses between traditional and online models his goals may be reached more quickly and more easialy.

Are there commonalities? I’m willing to listen, are you? Or has the damage already been done…

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dalton

    February 5, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    What are you asking, Benn?

    > We would also note that we have never called anyone unethical or greedy, though we do feel that commissions paid by the seller create unwelcome conflicts of interest between buyers’ agents and their clients.

    Okay. Fair enough. And what is Redfin doing to change that? Let’s check their website …

    Redfin’s fee for representing a home-buyer is usually one third of the commission paid to the buyer’s agent by the seller. Redfin refunds to you the other two-thirds of that commission. Emphasis added.

    The conflicts are “unwelcome” but if they’re paying their buyers back, then it’s cool? There’s a word for those who pontificate on the evils of others while ignoring their own place in the same corral. But don’t pay any attention to the man behind that curtain. Just focus on the booming voice and the special effects.

    As a side note, I can list ANY home on my company’s corporate site with the seller’s permission. No co-broke required.

  2. Benn Rosales

    February 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I’m vague because I’m looking to see if you see any commonalities in some of the beefs Redfin has with the status-quo way of doing things.

    A lot of folks beef with NAR, and disintermediation and more, so I’m wondering if there are common grounds- is there really a sincere desire on either side change the real estate landscape.

    I think Glenn’s first statement was very telling and I’m wondering if there’s an opportunity here…

  3. Thomas Johnson

    February 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Redfin could take the high road and refuse to accept commissions from those pesky listing brokers. He doesn’t even get it. The listing commission is paid by the seller to the listing broker. He could always refuse the payment.

    This is the divorcing the commissions issue which has been treated extensively on BHB

    I wonder if Kelman’s VC investors want to hear that he doesn’t like the rules by which he has to play, after he has burned through how many millions? . Do they understand that they bought into a football team trying to play baseball?

    [link adjusted]

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    February 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t believe they’re legitimate beefs, Benn. It’s nothing more than the same old anti-agent spin. It’s survival is based on the current system. It cannot survive in a world where buyers proactively choose a buyers agent because when they pay for their own representation out of pocket. Many who would use Redfin for a rebate will go it alone rather than pay anyone. Such is the reality when dealing with a fiercely independent market segment.

  5. Molly Hadley

    February 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    With bemused interest I’m watching and reading (I’m famous 🙂 , on two different blog sites. Why do brokers exist? To provide info to folks who don’t want to go to all the bother of finding it themselves, to stay focused on the transaction until completion, and to act as a liason between parties to ensure a successful transaction. Am I leaving something out?
    I’ve had some darn savy clients who could have very easily bought or sold their properties without my services. Those smart people choose to use me because having someone ithey trusted in the middle brokering the deal seemed the intelligent thing to do. It could have been as simple as they didn’t have the time to devote to the deal, they didn’t have the amount of info I did, not because I was hording it, but because I spent every work day over the course of years emmersing myself in the market details and they didn’t. And finally, it could have been to give themselves distance from the negotiation so they could focus on their bottom line and not get caught up in an exchange with the other party. (objectivity in the negotiation.)
    The fact is, brokers were invented to fill a need and buyers and sellers liked the service enough to keep it in existance. MLS services were devised, implemented, and maintained by real estate brokers to facilitate sales. I’m all for throwing open the doors on that info but I understand why r.e. professionals don’t want to give away their livelyhoods. Those listings represent trusted relationships that have been fostered with clients. I’m not about to publish my client list for all to see and mls services aren’t interested in giving it away for free either. I don’t think Kelman gets it. He’s so focused on being the buyers best online houdini tech friend and protector and next big idea thinker that he’s forgetting that buying is tied to selling and there is a much larger picture than he’s looking at. Maybe he will get it and survive the trial by fire becoming an online pheonix of phenomenal proportions.

  6. T. Longo

    March 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Wow…looking back 2+ years ago. If I had only left Glenn hanging upside down, we may have been able to take more market share 🙂

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Opinion Editorials

9 ways to be more LGBTQIA+ inclusive at work

(OPINION EDITORIALS) With more and more people joining the LGBTQIA+ community it’d do one well to think about ways to extend inclusiveness at work.

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LGBTQIA+ people may have won marriage equality in 2015, but this momentous victory didn’t mean that discrimination was over. Queer and LGBTQIA+ identified people still have to deal with discrimination and not being in a work environment that supports their identities.

Workplace inclusivity may sound like the hottest new business jargon term on the block, but it actually just a professional way of making sure that everyone feels like a valued team member at the office. Business psychologists have found when people are happy to go to work, they are 12 percent more productive.

Making your business environment a supportive one for the queer community means you’re respecting employees and improving their workplace experience.

Here’s nine ways you can make your workplace more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people.

1) Learn the basics.
If you’re wanting to make your workplace more open to LGBTQIA+ people, it’s best to know what you’re talking about. Firstly, the acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual and the plus encompassing other identities not named; there are many variants on the acronym. Sexual orientations (like lesbian, gay, bisexual) are not the same as gender identities.

Transgender means that that person “seeks to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.” Cisgender means a person identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth. If you need a more comprehensive rundown about sexual orientation, gender identity, and the like, visit the GLAAD reference guide.

2) Stop using the word “gay” as an insult.
Or insinuating people you don’t like are “gay” together. This is the most basic thing that can be done for workplace inclusivity regarding the queer community. Anything that actively says that LGBTQIA+ people are “lesser” than their straight counterparts can hurt the queer people on your team and make them not feel welcome. It’s not cool.

3) Don’t make jokes that involve the LGBTQIA+ community as a punchline.
It’s not cute to make a “funny quip” about pronouns or to call someone a lesbian because of their outfit. This kind of language makes people feel unwanted in the workplace, but many won’t be able to speak up due to the lack of protections about LGBTQIA+ identities in anti-discrimination statutes. So stop it.

4) Support your colleagues.
If you’re in a situation and hear negative or inappropriate talk regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, stick up for your co-workers. Even if they’re not there, by simply expressing that what was said or done was inappropriate, you’re helping make your workplace more inclusive.

5) Avoid the super probing questions.
It’s okay to talk relationships and life with coworkers, but it can cross a line. If you have a transgender colleague, it’s never going to be appropriate to pry about their choices regarding their gender identity, especially since these questions revolve around their body.

If you have a colleague who has a differing sexual orientation than yours, questions about “how sex works” or any invasive relationship question (“are you the bride or the groom”) is going to hurt the welcomeness of your office space. Just don’t do it.

6) Written pronoun clarity is for everyone!
One thing that many LGBTQIA+ people may do is add their pronouns to their business card, email signature, or name badge for clarity. If you’re cisgender, adding your pronouns to these things can offer support and normalize this practice for the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only does it make sure that you are addressed correctly, you’re validating the fact that it’s an important business practice for everyone to follow.

7) Tokens are for board games, not for people.
LGBTQIA+ people are often proud of who they are and for overcoming adversity regarding their identity. However, it’s never ever going to be okay to just reduce them to the token “transgender colleague” or the “bisexual guy.”

Queer people do not exist to earn you a pat on the back for being inclusive, nor do they exist to give the final word on marketing campaigns for “their demographic.” They’re people just like you who have unique perspectives and feelings. Don’t reduce them just to a token.

8) Bathroom usage is about the person using the bathroom, not you.
An individual will make the choice of what bathroom to use, it does not need commentary. If you feel like they “don’t belong” in the bathroom you’re in due to their gender presentation, don’t worry about it and move on. They made the right choice for them.

An easy way to make restroom worries go away is creating gender neutral restrooms. Not only can they shorten lines, they can offer support for transgender, nonbinary, or other LGBTQIA+ people who just need to go as much as you do.

9) Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone will slip up during their journey to make their workplace more inclusive. If you didn’t use the correct pronouns for your non-binary colleague or misgender someone during a presentation, apologize to them, correct yourself, and do better next time. The worst thing to do is if someone corrects you is for you to shut down or get angry. An open ear and an open heart is the best way to make your work environment supportive for all.

The workplace can be a supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ people, or it could be a hurtful one, depending on the specific culture of the institution. But with some easy changes, it can be a space in which queer and LGBTQIA+ people can feel respected and appreciated.

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Opinion Editorials

“Starting a business is easy,” said only one guy ever

(OPNION EDITORIAL) Between following rules, finding funding, and gathering research, no business succeeds without lifting a finger.

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While browsing business articles this week, I came across this one, “Top 10 Business Ideas You Can Start for Free With Barely Lifting a Finger.” These types of articles make me mad. I can’t think of many successful freelancers or entrepreneurs who don’t put in hours of blood, sweat and tears to get a business going.

The author of the article is Murray Newlands, a “VIP Contributor.” Essentially, he’s a freelancer because he also contributes to Forbes, HuffPro and others. He’s the founder of ChattyPeople.com, which is important, because it’s the first business idea he promotes in the article.

But when I pull up his other articles on Entrepreneur.com, I see others like “How to Get Famous and Make Money on YouTube,” “Win Like A Targaryen: 10 Businesses You Can Start for Free,” and “10 Ventures Young Entrepreneurs Can Start for Cheap or Free.”

I seriously cannot believe that Entrepreneur.com keeps paying for the same ideas over and over.

The business ideas that are suggested are pretty varied. One suggestion is to offer online classes. I wonder if Newlands considered how long it takes to put together a worthy curriculum and how much effort goes into marketing said course.

Then, you have to work out the bugs, because users will have problems. How do you keep someone from stealing your work? What happens when you have a dispute?

Newlands suggests that you could start a blog. It’s pretty competitive these days. The most successful bloggers are ones that really work on their blog, every day. The bloggers have a brand, offer relevant content and are ethical in how they get traffic.

Think it’s easy? Better try again.

I could go on. Every idea he puts up there is a decent idea, but if he thinks it will increase your bottom line without a lot of hard work and effort, he’s delusional.

Today’s entrepreneurs need a plan. They need to work that plan, rethink it and keep working. They have to worry about liability, marketing and keeping up with technologies.

Being an entrepreneur is rewarding, but it’s hard work. It is incredibly inappropriate and grossly negligent to encourage someone to risk everything they have and are on the premise of not lifting a finger.

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Opinion Editorials

Why freelancers should know their worth

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Money is always an awkward talking point and can be difficult for freelancers to state their worth.

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Recently, I delved into what I’ve learned since becoming a freelancer. However, I neglected to mention one of the most difficult lessons to learn, which was something that presented itself to me rather quickly.

“What is your fee for services?” was not a question I had prepared myself for. When it came to hourly rates, I was accustomed to being told what I would make and accepting that as my worth.

This is a concept that needs multiple components to be taken into consideration. You need to evaluate the services you’re providing, the timeliness in which you can accomplish said services, and your level of expertise.

Dorie Clark of the Harvard Business Review believes that freelancers should be charging clients more than what they think they’re worth. The price you give to your clients is worth quite a bit, itself.

Underpricing can send a bad message to your potential clients. If they’re in the market for your services, odds are they are comparing prices from a few other places.

Having too low of a number can put up a red flag to clients that you may be under-experienced. What you’re pricing should correlate with quality and value; set a number that shows you do good work and value that work.

Clark suggests developing a network of trustworthy confidants that you can bounce ideas off of, including price points. Having an idea of what other people in your shoes are doing can help you feel more comfortable when it comes to increasing prices.

And, for increasing prices, it is not something that is going to just happen on its own. It’s highly unlikely for a client to say, “you know what, I think I’ll give you a raise!”

It’s important to never take advantage of any client, but it’s especially important to show loyalty to the ones that have always been loyal to you. Test the waters of price increasing by keeping your prices lower for clients that have always been there, but then try raising prices as you take on new clients.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that you are doing this work to support yourself and, theoretically, because you’re good at it. Make sure you’re putting an appropriate price tag on that value.

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