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Opinion Editorials

Why Wait? – Here’s Glenn Kelman



from the guys at

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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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  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

6 skills humans have that AI doesn’t… yet

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the growing power and skill of AI, but here are a few skills where we have the upper hand.



Man drawing on a roll of butcher paper, where AI cannot express themselves yet.

AI is taking over the workforce as we know it. Burgers are already being flipped by robotic arms (and being flipped better), and it’s only a matter of time before commercial trucks and cars will be driven by robots (and, probably, be driven better).

It may feel unnerving to think about the shrinking number of job possibilities for future humans – what jobs will be around for humans when AI can do almost everything better than we can?

To our relief (exhale!), there are a few select skills that humans will (hopefully) always be better at than AI. The strengths that we have over AI fall into 3 general categories: Ability to convey emotion, management over others, and creativity.

Let’s break it down: Here are 6 skills that we as humans should be focusing on right now.

Our ability to undertake non-verbal communication

What does this mean for humans? We need to develop our ability to understand and communicate body language, knowing looks, and other non-verbal cues. Additionally, we need to refine our ability to make others feel warm and heard – if you work in the hospitality industry, mastering these abilities will give you an edge over the AI technologies that might replace you.

Our ability to show deep empathy to customers

Unlike AI, we share experiences with other humans and can therefore show empathy to customers. Never underestimate how powerful your deep understanding of being human will be when you’re pitted against a robot for a job. It might just be the thing that gives you a cutting edge.

Our ability to undertake growth management

As of this moment, humans are superior to AI when it comes to managing others. We are able to support organization members in developing their skillsets and, due to our coaching ability, we are able to help others to grow professionally. Take that, AI!

Our ability to employ mind management

What this essentially means is that we can support others. Humans have counseling skills, which means we are able to help someone in distress, whether that stems from interpersonal relationships or professional problems. Can you imagine an AI therapist?

Our ability to perform collective intelligence management

Human creativity, especially as it relates to putting individual ideas together to form an innovative new one, gives us a leg up when competing against AI. Humans are able to foster group thought, to manage and channel it, to create something bigger and better than what existed before. Like, when we created AI in the first place.

Our ability to realize new ideas in an organization

Think: Elevator pitch. Humans are masters of marketing new ideas and are completely in-tune with how to propose new concepts to an organization because, you guessed it, we too are human. If the manager remains human in the future (fingers crossed!), then we know what to say to them to best sell our point of view.

Using what we know, it’s essential for almost all of us to retrain for an AI-driven economy that is most likely just a few years away. My advice for my fellow humans? Develop the parts of you that make you human. Practice eye contact and listening. Think about big pictures and the best way to manage others. Sharpen your mind with practicing creative processes. And do stay up to date with current trends in AI tech. Sooner or later, these babies are bound to be your co-workers.

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Opinion Editorials

Your business model doesn’t have to be a unicorn or a camel to succeed

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unusual for people to suggest a new business model analogy, but this latest “camel” suggestion isn’t new or helpful.



Camels walking in desert, not the best business model.

This year in 2020 I’ve seen a great deal of unique takes on how our system works. From 45 all the way down to children instructing adults on how to wear masks properly. However, after reading this new article published by the Harvard Business Review, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so out of touch with the rest of the business world. Here’s a brief synopsis on this article on business model.

The author has decided that now of all times it’s drastically important for startups and entrepreneurs to switch their business tactics. Changing from a heavy front-end investment or “startups worth over a billion dollars” colloquially called “Unicorns” to a more financially reserved business model. One he has tried to coin as the “Camel”, using references to the animal’s ability to survive “long periods of time without sustenance, withstand the scorching desert heat, and adapt to extreme variations in climate.”

The author then goes on to outline best practices for this new business plan: “Balance instead of burn”, “Camels are built for the long haul”, “Breadth and depth for resilience”.

Now I will admit that he’s not wrong on his take. It’s a well thought-out adjustment to a very short-term solution. You want to know why I’m sure of that? Because people figured this out decades ago.

The only place that a “Unicorn” system worked was in something like the Silicon Valley software companies. Where people can start with their billions of dollars and expect “blitzscaling” (a rapid building-up tactic) to actually succeed. The rest of the world knows that a slow and resilient pace is better suited for long term investments and growth. This ‘new’ business realization is almost as outdated as the 2000 Olympics.

The other reason I’m not thrilled with this analogy is that they’ve chosen an animal that doesn’t really work well. Camels are temperamental creatures that actually need a great deal of sustenance to survive those conditions they’ve mentioned. It’s water that they don’t need for long periods, once they stock up. They have to have many other resources up front to survive those harsh conditions the article writer mentioned. So by this analogy, it’s not that different than Silicon Valley’s strongly backed “startups.”

If he wanted to actually use the correct animal for this analogy, then he should call it a tortoise business plan. Actually, any type of reptile or shark would work. It would probably be a better comparison in temperament as well, if we’re talking ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ Whatever you do, consider your angle, and settle in for the long haul.

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Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.



work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

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