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A Learning Opportunity

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Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip


Being a Gambler

I took a gamble and spent the weekend in Las Vegas where I attended, and spoke at the first REBlogworld conference and then attended the Blog World and new media expo.

It was an amazing learning opportunity for me. Even though I did learn about some new technology that I am going to experiment, it wasn’t about technology. It was about the people I met. There is a whole world outside of real estate. I learned from journalists, artists, authors, professional bloggers and small business owners of all stripes.

New Ideas

I came away with new ideas and approaches to the web 2.0 world. I learned that I know more than I thought I did and that people in other industries can learn as much from me as I can learn from them and that we should talk to each other. We as real estate bloggers are not at all behind the times when it comes to how we use technology, and that surprised me since we work in an industry that is behind the times. We had a great group of speakers for the RE Blog event, the presentations were specialized and each was presented by the expert bloggers in our industry.

Here are some of my take aways about authoring a blog:

1. Write about what you are passionate about. Blogs take a lot of work, and if the passion isn’t there the blogger won’t put in enough time.
2. It is better to be helpful than to be authoritative.
3. It is better to start a new category than it is to work to be number one in an existing category.
4. Blogs are a lot of work and they take time.
5. “Do more stupid shit” a quote from Chris Brogan Jeremy Wright when he talked about blog content.

My other big take away is that very little of the conference was about blog platforms or installing plug-ins. Most of the sessions dealt with content, social issues and how to monetize a blog, and even how to take a blog from hobby to business. Blogs are not just about technology, they are about content and we can’t lose sight of that all important truth.

The conferences were the best educational opportunity I have had in the last three years. Through REBlog World I learned more about how my peers use social media, and as always I loved being with the people who live inside of my computer. Bloggers are social and I am no exception.

I would like to thank Todd Carpenter and Jason Berman for putting the REBlogWorld event together. They did a great job, and I consider myself very lucky to have been part of it all.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Todd Carpenter

    September 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    You can count the people on one hand who I hold in your regard concerning real estate 2.0. For YOU to have gotten so much out of this show is it’s single greatest endorsement. Seriously.

    How many times has a hot shot blogger said they have little to learn from conferences? I said it myself before I went to Blog World a year ago.

    The honor is ALL ours Teresa. Thank You.

  2. Mary Pope-Handy

    September 23, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Sounds like it was a great event. I hope to go in the future.

  3. John Perkins

    September 23, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Its great to hear that it was a fantastic event. I wanted to attend but fell behind in a project that has to do with a combination of Blogging and Technology. Just couldn’t catch a break this time. I hope there are a few video’s from event to see sometime soon and will be putting it on my radar to attend next years event.

  4. Chris Brogan...

    September 23, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Jeremy Wright told you to do more stupid shit. : ) I agree wholeheartedly, but that’s Jeremy from b5media.com who said it.

    Super glad you were there. : )

  5. Teresa Boardman

    September 23, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Chris My apologies. I can fix it too. I sat in the back and am not very tall, I couldn’t always tell who was talking. I enjoyed your panel very much and I love your blog too.

  6. Ginger Wilcox

    September 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Teresa. I wasn’t sure if this conference was really going to be all that different than some of the other conferences I have attended. I went in feeling like I already knew quite a bit, but was blown away but the information I received. This conference was truly phenomenal and the quality of the speakers was exceptional. Todd Carpenter and Jason Berman did hit it out of the ballpark.

  7. sheilabragg

    September 24, 2008 at 12:58 am

    A Learning Opportunity: A comment a day may keep the doctor away… leave YOUR mark on this article!L.. https://tinyurl.com/47q8k8

  8. MichelleDe

    September 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    I just love item 5. I tend to have blog avoidance issues because my blog bores me. I do get buisness from it, you would think I would enjoy it a little more 🙁

  9. Rich Jacobson

    September 24, 2008 at 1:48 am

    I totally agree – Todd and Jason did an AWESOME job with our track on Friday. The RE sessions were wonderfully diverse and chock full of incredibly valuable stuff. I’ve suggested to Dave Taylor that some of our talented/gifted veterans be allowed to participate in some of the panels on Saturday & Sunday, or to even be presenters during those days. There’s a much larger conversation that is taking place globally, and it’s exciting to see how blogging is impacting other people/businesses.

  10. Missy Caulk

    September 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Wish I had been there, and I think it is surprising too how many Realtors are into the technology thing vs the Brokers still using a ton of web 1.0.

  11. Paula Henry

    September 24, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    T – Thanks for the tips – I need to work more on the helpful and less on the authoritative. I do find it interesting you mention it is better to start a new category than work to be number one in an existing one. Food for thought!

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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.

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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.

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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 StackExchange.com 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?

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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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