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Opinion Editorials

Why I Write for AG



Recently, there’s been a bit of bickering going on in the real estate blogosphere and there’s been some blanket statements made about AgentGenius contributors.  It got me to thinking about why I do this (usually) once a week.

  • The pay sucks, I still haven’t seen a check.
  • Benn & Lani only live in the 10th Greenest City in the country as opposed to me living in the 1st, so in a way, they’re also killing me 🙂
  • It’s not to try out the latest version of WordPress (2.7’s been out for 2 weeks 🙂 )
  • I’m not a real estate agent, lending professional, appraiser, inspector, home stager or even working a day job in the real estate industry anymore.  But I am fascinated by the inner workings of it, so I will always be involved one way or another.
  • Per point one above, our recent contributor prize pack really won’t benefit me too much. I also received no letter or email from Benn saying that in order to receive said gifts, I had to write a glowing review.  I’m here to talk about technology and consumers, so (time permitting), I plan on writing some honest reviews of these services, but not here since they’ve all been talked about already.
  • I have received no extra speaking gigs, business or Nobel nominations as a result of writing here. I do it because the people who comment here are nice, thoughtful and grateful for the information.
  • Some of the contributors live in states I could never live in and voted opposite me in the elections, but every single one of them I have met or had a single direct message on Twitter with have been genuinely nice, friendly people. And it’s been a really rough year for me, so AG has been a great support group.
  • I get a ton of traffic to my site via AG.  Just slightly less than 1% of it, to be exact.
  • Benn and Lani have a passion for AG. Whatever their underlying motives may be, I don’t care because all that comes out is they want to have a great, high quality, informative site with excellent contributors and community members.

And here’s my number one reason for writing here:

I was asked.

I must give off a bad vibe to people since I’ve been turned down for so many jobs I’m easily qualified for, but every job I’ve had I have blown everyone away. For me, I just need to be given the chance.  So I was honored and excited that Lani had noticed me and was willing to take the risk with me. Hopefully I’ve lived up to the expectations.

So for anyone who thinks AG contributors are here for fame, glory, money or free stuff from vendors, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Ken Brand

    December 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Cheers in 2009 Nick – you keep keep’n ON, it’s like smack’n that boulder with a sledge hammer – nothing except sore shoulders and sweat stung eyes….then suddenly – it cracks wide open.

    As an AG writer you might not be paid in fame, glory and money, but I’m certain you’re paving a path to your personal definition of success.

    Amen – Rock ON!

  2. Mike Mueller

    December 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Nicely said Nick!
    Let me say that I certainly appreciate your contributions here as well as the contributions from the other writers.
    Special thanks to Benn and Lani for providing the forum.

  3. Marc

    December 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Always a pleasure to read you Nick as well as everyone else here who appears to me to wake each morning on the bright side of the bed and interested in helping, teaching and working with everyone in this business albeit fellow agents coaches, brokers, other writers and even vendors.

    Benn and Lani build a nice place here, full of good vibes and all. It is much appreciated I’m sure by those who actively contribute but equally as appreciated by those like me who read it faithfully.

  4. Chris Griffith

    December 25, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I just did something similar on my blog about the whiners with green eyes. Crap, I’m not even writing here and people are pished at me. lol

    There seems to always be someone mad about what other people do or what they have.

    Water off a duck, Nick.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    December 26, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Nick – I think most of the writers would echo your sentiment. I write because I was asked. It was a honor for me as such a new agent, but I love doing it. Let people say what they want, its the internet and people always will. I know why I come here and read/comment/write. I don’t need to worry about why others wouldn’t. Through AG I’ve met some great people who have really helped me as I begin my career and pushed me to learn more and do more. Say what you want about AG, but that’s reason enough to show up.

  6. Jay Thompson

    December 26, 2008 at 9:06 am


  7. Erion Shehaj

    December 26, 2008 at 11:55 am

    There has always been and there will always be haters on the way to perpetual success. So I guess the bickering is a welcome sign.

    Get … that … dirt off your shoulders 🙂

  8. Jim Gatos

    December 26, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    It’s just soooo sad….

    I’m not getting into it except to say it’s really sad to see upset feelings and such. I also think Russell Shaw is “under-utilized” in real estate. The man should be a TV or Movie Comedy Writer LOL…

    Take care…

  9. Missy Caulk

    December 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    …I write here because I was invited and I love it and the other writers. Period.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t choose to live in Michigan with our cold, snowy winters, but it was great to meet you in S.F. and Ann Arbor is a really great city to live and talk about.

  10. Ines

    December 27, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Nick….you are DA MAN!! I love being here and feel honored to be surrounded by such great people.

  11. Lisa Sanderson

    December 27, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I think I missed something-guess I need to wade through my feedreader to see what’s been going on. Unless someone wants to link me up….

  12. Marc

    December 27, 2008 at 11:50 am

    It’s simple really, there are some seriously unstable folks in this business that enjoy attacking others who don’t quite into their model of perfection. And so they take it upon themselves to point out the flaws in others. AG was honored with their latest throw down.

    The really sad thing this is how much glass their own house is made of.

    Bottom line is, AG has it own culture and there is no rule that says it has to ever fit into anyone else’s mold but it’s own.

    I read the works of AG writers and find this destination to be the one of choice in getting access to the pulse of the agent community along with the positive vibe it breeds.

  13. Jim Gatos

    December 27, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    When is this going to end?

    I can’t say I blame Greg 100%, but I think he went WAY WAY WAY too far with the name calling. His business I guess..

    Who’s right? Well, let’s just say I don’t think you’re all a bunch of sell outs, but I AM going to be a little “dubious” of some of the “positive glowing” posts I read here. I said some, NOT all. Latest example, the one about Postlets. Are they going to be a paid advertiser soon? Seems like that’s what it’s leading to..

    If they are, then maybe you folks could create at least a new category, like “Paid Advertiser Shill Review”…

    I sincerely hope I don’t want to get anyone mad at me, but remember, please. I am a frequent commenter on Agent Genius. I am simply Mr. Joe Q Public Realtor…

    I’ve read ALL the comments “over there”.. I think some folks have made their point against Greg too. I don’t think anyone’s right or wrong.

  14. Benn Rosales

    December 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Jim, I appreciate your comment, and this is the very last time I will speak on this subject publicly, especially in this thread.

    We have reviewed, tutorialized, and suggested 100s of products in the past year, and I have ignored 1000s. Our writers at Ag cannot endorse anything for Ag, we do not speak for them, and they do not speak for us. Further, if a post is paid, it will say so- period.

    No entity can or will ever advertise on Ag w/o a review and every review has cons to it when reviewd. We’ve always believed that cons allow a company to demonstrate its customer service side and its willingness to grow.

    The products offered to our contributors are approved vendors, and you’re damn right I recommend them. Find me a product to date that out does what they do for the real estate community and I’ll be happy to review them- it’s what I do.

    The controversy spun by the ill is just that- an illusion. How often do you see an Ag contributor spinning hatred on Ag or in the sphere? Never. It again is not what we do. The idea that any site has nothing to gain by randomly attacking another for traffic and righteousness is ridiculous- we simply do not participate, nor do we play the game of victimizing companies offering products and services.

    You are not simply mr joe q realtor when you engage in the types of activities that have gone on as of late- I hold you responsible for what you say, there is no double standard to be laid out for anyone attempting to damage or harm us.

    Our policy for reviews has been in our footer for the better part of the past year, if you really want to know our policy, I invite you to read them.

  15. Marc

    December 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t buy it Jim. Who appointed Greg, or you, or anyone the guardian of what’s right or wrong in the blog world? And why, in god’s green earth, are writers and editors from one blog even commenting on or judging the writers and editors of another?

    This whole thing is sickening.

    This would be unheard of in the newspaper world. Editors from competing papers don’t take to raking each other over the coals nor do their litter of writers ever gang up on colleagues from another.

    What happened this past week, which came just days after a scud of an editorial was launched on Brad Inman – a man who single handedly invented online real estate journalism and in my mind, brought technology to the forefront real estate years before it ever would have if left on its own to discover.

    The pattern there is so evident.

    There is so much wrong about what has been perpetuated here against AG especially considering it how it all began Christmas eve knowing full well that incriminations like this would only serve to upset so many good people during such an hallowed holiday.Is nothing sacred anymore?

    This attack was cold. It was calculated. And it reeks of the same stench that continue to waft in from the cage out back behind the real estate house.

  16. Marc

    December 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Recommended reading – This wonderful blog post from Tony, the CEO of Zappos.

  17. Lisa Sanderson

    December 27, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    There is never a good time for cheap n easy potshots but I agree that the timing of this one couldn’t be worse. (Yes, I found the offending post, unfortunately)

    The power of our words is great, and I feel fortunate to be associated with a group of writers here on AG that know that and who take that responsibility to heart. The ‘good vibes’ mentioned by a previous commenter make this place a pleasure to hang around. Let’s not ever forget that.

  18. Jim Gatos

    December 28, 2008 at 12:43 am


    >>You are not simply mr joe q realtor when you engage in the types of activities that have gone on as of late- I hold you responsible for what you say…

    I hope you’re not accusing me of anything malicious. If you saw my other posts at the “other place”, I implored with Greg to apologize to you. Even though I can see his point of view to some extent, I want you to know I NEVER thought it would get THIS ugly. There are much nicer, diplomatic, and politer ways to say a viewpoint. I was sincerely hoping BOTH OF YOU would meet each other halfway. I can also see your point of view, but I am NOT going to flip flop and take your side 100%, neither Greg’s. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding on Greg’s part, in the beginning, or so I thought. Perhaps he should talk to you in private. I don’t have a bone to pick with you, nor Greg. I respect BOTH blogs and I said that there and I’m saying it here. I thought it was a horrible thing that took place. Am I upset? Not really. I was told I am a “sweet & gentle man” but he wanted to handle things HIS way. I have to respect that.

    So, I’m sorry I was backstabbing you if that’s what you thought, ’cause I’m not. As Marc says, “Editors from competing papers don’t take to raking each other over the coals”, yes, that may be so, and you know what? I wouldn’t do that myself. That’s how Greg wanted to do it, that’s how it is. I may have made a mistake in attempting a “polite” way to handle things. Now I see if someone wants to act a certain way, they probably will, no matter what, whether it be you or Greg…

  19. Marc

    December 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    I also said, writers don’t chime in on the attack either and felt that way as a result of the BHB peanut gallery that chimed in behind Greg’s original post.

    But regardless, a real man, a man of integrity, a man with soul, would have picked up the phone, called his colleague and brought whatever concerns he had about this affair to them privately because doing this publicly crossed all boundaries of decency, sport and competition.

    This has nothing to do with transparency or being morally convicted to wearing your heart on the sleeve of the Internet. This was ruthless and calculated and I for one have no respect for anyone that dives that low.

  20. Nick Bostic

    December 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Whew! Take a few days off the computer and look what happens 🙂

    @Ken – I definitely agree, if I felt I got nothing out of this, I wouldn’t be here for sure. It’s fun, it’s a great group and I’m looking forward to the day the boulder cracks!

    @Mike – Thank you much, Benn and Lani are definitely great hosts.

    @Marc –

    @Chris – Being in Oregon, I have to be a duck!

    @Matt – I definitely am not concerned so much with what others think, it was honestly a bit more of a reflection shared publicly 🙂

    @Jay – Thankya much sir!

    @Erion – Dirt is officially brushed off, thanks!

    @Jim – I can honestly say I had no hurt feelings at all, it was a bit more shock at the complete lack of understanding from the attacker. I agree about Russell too though.

    @Missy – Cold snowy winters? I had a week and it was enough 🙂 I’ll come visit someday though. It was great getting to meet you in SF too!

    @Ines – Thank you much, send some of that Miami heat my way though!

    @Marc – “there is no rule that says it has to ever fit into anyone else’s mold but it’s own” – I couldn’t agree more. Your business has one mold, Inman another, AG another, etc. There’s room for more than one idea out here.

    @Benn – exactly the same rules/guidelines you set forth when I joined and I still agree with them 110%, otherwise I wouldn’t be here! Thanks again for the venue.

    @Lisa – I love the “good vibes” around here, even when people are complaining about something, they get it out in a lighthearted, fun way. Again, part of why I’m here.

    And without further ado, I am quite done with this! I can see some people got far more stressed out than I ever did over this and those of you who have met me know I’m one of the most laid back people around, so hopefully you all know I wasn’t trying to pick a fight. Again, thank you Benn and Lani for having assembled this great group and provided a wonderful venue to share our ideas and best practices.

  21. Steve Simon

    December 31, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Well the wife is sick,I was sick, glad I missed most of this…

  22. Vicki Moore

    January 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I know what everyone needs – a good IRS Audit!! Nothing like it to change the attitude.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.




It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.



better equipment, better work

What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

How to build a company culture while working remotely

(OPINION EDITORIAL) It seems that even a post COVID-19 world will involve remote work, so how can you build and maintain a strong work culture that ensures growth and satisfaction?



culture remotely

New startups and existing companies are starting to transition to a fully remote (or nearly fully remote) model, but what does this mean for work culture? If you’re not careful, your work culture could easily become diminished as you transition to a remote environment, and if you’re building a company from the ground up, you may not have a strong culture to begin with.

Culture isn’t something you can afford to give up, so how can you build and maintain your company culture while working remotely?

The importance of a strong work culture

Maintaining a strong, consistent company culture is vital, even if your company is operating remotely. With a strong work culture, you’ll enjoy benefits like:

  • Better recruiting potential. A company with strong work culture will seem more attractive to talented candidates. The best people in the industry will want to work at a place with a great team and a great set of values.
  • Like-minded teammates. Establishing a consistent work culture allows you to selectively hire, then maintain employees who are like-minded. Employees with similar goals and mentalities, even if they come from different backgrounds, will be able to collaborate more efficiently.
  • Smoother communication. A strong foundational work culture that establishes goals, values, and beliefs within an organization can enable smoother, more efficient communication. Staff members will be on the same page with regard to high-level priorities, and will be able to exchange information in similar patterns.
  • Lower stress and less turnover. Better work cultures generally mean lower stress for employees, and accordingly, less employee turnover. Of course, this assumes you’re hiring good fits for the organization in the first place.
  • A better public reputation. Your work culture can also boost your public reputation—especially if you emphasize core values that are important to your target audience.

How to build company culture remotely

Traditionally, you can use in-person team-building sessions, regular meetings, and workplace rules to establish and maintain your company culture, but while working remotely, you’ll need to employ a different set of tactics, like:

  • Hiring the right candidates. Building a great culture starts with hiring. You have to find candidates who fit with your organization, and already share your core values. If someone doesn’t agree with your high-level approach, or if they don’t like your rules or workflows, they aren’t going to do their best work. These same considerations should be applied to your third party hires as well; agencies and freelancers should also fit into your values.
  • Hosting virtual team-building events. You can’t host in-person team-building events, but that doesn’t mean that team-building is inaccessible to you. Consider hosting a video conference to introduce your team members to each other, or bond over a shared event. You could also host virtual game nights, or provide team lunches to celebrate wins. Any excuse to engage with each other in a non-work context can help employees feel more connected and part of the team, and there are plenty of options to make it work virtually.
  • Streamlining communication. Good communication is both a constituent factor and a byproduct of effective company culture. If you want your culture to thrive, you have to set good standards for communication, and encourage your employees to communicate with each other consistently and openly. People need to feel heard when they speak, and feel comfortable voicing their opinions—even if they don’t agree with their superiors. There should also be easily accessible channels for communication at all levels. Over time, this foundation will help your employee communication improve.
  • Improving transparency. Workplace transparency is important for any employer, but it’s especially important for remote businesses trying to build or maintain a strong culture—and it’s challenging if you’re operating remotely. If you’re open and honest about your goals and how you operate, employees will feel more trusted and more engaged with their work. Strive to answer questions honestly and disclose your motivations.
  • Publishing and reiterating company core values. One of the biggest factors responsible for making a company culture unique is its set of core values. Spend some time developing and refining your list of core values. Once finished, publish them for all employees to read, and make time to reiterate them regularly so employees remember them.
  • Making employees feel valued. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make your employees feel valued. Take the time to show your appreciation however you can, whether it’s through a simple thank-you message or an occasional cash bonus, and be sure to listen to employee feedback when you get it.

Building a work culture in a remote environment is more challenging, and requires consideration of more variables, but it’s certainly possible with the right mentality. Spend time setting your priorities, and make sure you’re consistent in your execution.

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