How Connected Is Your Community to Everywhere Else in America?

Emily Badger & Quo trumg Bui:

America is often described as a place of great divides — between red and blue, big cities and rural towns, the coasts and the heartland. But our social lives are shaped by a much stronger force that ignores many of these lines: distance.

In the millions of ties on Facebook that connect relatives, co-workers, classmates and friends, Americans are far more likely to know people nearby than in distant communities that share their politics or mirror their demographics. The dominant picture in data analyzed by economists at Facebook, Harvard, Princeton and New York University is not that like-minded places are linked; rather, people in counties close to one another are.

Even in the age of the internet, distance matters immensely in determining whom — and, as a result, what — we know.

Coastal cities like New York, Washington, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles do exhibit close ties to one another, showing that people in counties with similar incomes, education levels and voting patterns are more likely to be linked. But nationwide, the effect of such similarity is small. And the pull of regionalism is strong even for major cities. Brooklynites are still more likely to know someone on Facebook near Albany or Binghamton than in the Bay Area.

A Picture of Social
Connectedness in America

Promoting Pocket Listings

Pocket listings, or those listings that are just for me, or me and my friends, rise and fall with the market. Tight inventory cycles lead to more, while Buyers markets, often less. Queue a recent inman (compass) news article. [1]
 We’ve helped clients promote listings, including “pre or withheld” properties privately for many years. I’ve summarized a few examples below:
 A. CMA Subject property.
 Agents, teams and brokers can generate a preview or pocket listing, including photos and videos, from our CMA’s subject property in the agent app or cloud system.

 The property information can be shared immediately via email, reports and branded app notifications.
 B. Manual listing entry.
 Our broker cloud system supports private listings. You determine display and share rules.
 C. Public records with status.
 Find addresses via public records, enter media and status; publish.

D. Netsheet

Agents can create net sheets for potential sellers, then, with a tap, create a CMA subject property.

 Note that private listings can be updated via our MLS interfaces when your agents or administrators add an MLS number to the property.
 Brokers, agents and teams should be familiar with local association rules as they consider implementing private and public pocket and preview listings.
 [1]Veronika Bondarenko:

A new marketing initiative by Compass will allow agents to post listings days before they appear on the market — even as conversation around so-called ‘sneak peek’ listings heat up.
 Compass Coming Soon, which rolled out in all but New York and Washington D.C. last week, is a tactic for Compass agents to get a head start on marketing before properties are listed on multiple-listings systems and real estate portals like Zillow and The marketing feature will be available in New York and Washington D.C. later this week.
 Unlike the more secretive whisper or pocket listings for properties outside the MLS, Compass Coming Soon shows buyers properties that will eventually appear on the open market — but first pre-markets them to an agent’s base of clients.

The Constant Consumer

Drew Austin:

Recent technologies have enabled the role of customer to be fused with the newer role of user, who inhabits an entire system rather than a specific transaction. Exploring that transition, writer Kevin Slavin describes how the experience of app-based food delivery narrows one’s perspective: “For users, this is what it means to be at the center: to be unaware of anything outside it.” Those apps’ minimal interfaces, requiring little more than the push of a button to order food, conceal the labor and logistical sophistication that make it possible. Users don’t need to understand the messy complexity that supports their simplified solipsism. In Slavin’s example, that insight wouldn’t help them order more food, so the user experience excludes it.

Amazon similarly merges the customer and the user within its own optimized environments, letting these subjects exist at the center of an ever-expanding system. Imagine an avid Amazon customer’s typical day living with a near future iteration of the platform: He wakes up and speaks his first words of the morning to his Amazon Echo in the kitchen, asking Alexa to order toothpaste after noticing he was running low. Upon checking his email, he gives Alexa a few more instructions, adding social engagements and reminders to his calendar, checking the weather, and finally opening the garage door once he’s ready to leave for work. At the office throughout the day, idle shopping fills his distracted moments. He browses books, clothing, and even furniture, placing orders within seconds, many of which automatically appear in his shopping cart based on patterns from his activity history (he even knows that some of what he buys will be waiting at home tonight). During the evening commute another Alexa-enabled device in his car prompts him to send his sister a birthday card, an action he asks Alexa to do for him. He stops by Whole Foods to pick up groceries — as an Amazon Prime member, it’s always the most cost-effective option in his neighborhood. He arrives home to find a variety of Amazon packages stacked neatly on the living room coffee table, delivered throughout the day by part-time contractors who let themselves into the house via the smart lock on the front door. The soundtrack to his entire day is provided by Amazon Music, in which his Prime membership has automatically enrolled him for a small monthly fee. Few parts of this hypothetical day, which is already within the realm of possibility, remain untouched by Amazon’s user experience.

Amazon, as much as any single company, is transforming the environments in which we live and embedding itself within the fabric of daily existence. Beyond individual experience, those changes also manifest themselves in the physical environment. Many physical retail stores have been rendered obsolete as Amazon and other online retailers started undercutting them on price and offering a wider selection. (Bookstores experienced this first but it eventually spread to almost every form of retail.) Sidewalks and building lobbies have become staging areas for packages, with delivery vehicles exacerbating traffic and obstructing bike lanes as piles of brown Amazon boxes increasingly take up space. As Amazon and food delivery apps eliminate some of the most common reasons to leave one’s house one wonders what sort of neighborhood life will be sustainable in affluent urban areas.

How consumer companies can drive growth at scale with disruptive innovation

Mark Dziersk, Stacey Haas, Jon McClain, and Brian Quinn:

Our analysis of the food and beverage market from 2013–17 reveals that the top 25 manufacturers are responsible for 59 percent of sales but only 2 percent of category growth. Conversely, 44 percent of category growth has come from the next 400 manufacturers.1 Our experience in working with large consumer companies suggests that they don’t suffer from a lack of ideas; where they struggle is in knowing where to make bets, moving products quickly to launch, and then nurturing them to scale. Effectively driving growth through innovation requires CPG companies to evolve many of the assets and capabilities already in place and adopt significantly different and new ways of working.

This change will not be easy. Many of the innovation systems that need to evolve are deeply entrenched. They have their own brand names, dedicated IT systems, firmly established management routines, and more. However, our work with CPG organizations has convinced us that these changes are necessary and can return significant value. Our analysis of ~350 CPG companies across 21 subcategories found that growth leaders excelled at harnessing commercial capabilities, including innovation. Additional McKinsey analysis has shown that CPG “Creator” companies—those that consistently develop new products or services—grow more than their peers. These winning Creators have adopted a formula that borrows the best from progressive new players while fully leveraging existing advantages in scope and scale.

How did we get here?

For the past two decades, CPG innovation models have been designed to maintain and steadily grow already at-scale brands. This meant that most innovations were largely incremental moves with the occasional one-off disruptive success. This slow and steady approach worked because CPGs didn’t really need disruptive innovation to grow. Geographic expansion, pricing, and brand extensions were all successful strategies that kept the top line moving. As a result, most of the systems designed to manage these innovations were optimized for fairly predictable and low-volatility initiatives. They emphasized reliability and risk management.

That very success, however, led to calcified thinking as companies built large brands and poured resources into supporting and protecting them. In recent years, as they have tried to respond to new entrants and rapidly changing consumer needs, CPGs found their innovation systems tended to stifle and stall more disruptive efforts. As the returns from innovation dwindled, companies cut marketing, insights, and innovation budgets to cover profit shortfalls. This created a negative cycle. As a stopgap, many large consumer companies have turned to M&A to fill holes in the innovation portfolio—but on its own, M&A can be a very expensive path to growth with its own difficulties in scalability and cultural fit.

Why big companies squander good ideas

Tim Harford:

Internal politics soon asserted itself. A case study co-authored by Henderson describes the PC division as “smothered by support from the parent company”. Eventually, the IBM PC business was sold off to a Chinese company, Lenovo. What had flummoxed IBM was not the pace of technological change — it had long coped with that — but the fact that its old organisational structures had ceased to be an advantage.

Rather than talk of radical or disruptive innovations, Henderson and Clark used the term “architectural innovation”.

“An architectural innovation is an innovation that changes the relationship between the pieces of the problem,” Henderson tells me. “It can be hard to perceive, because many of the pieces remain the same. But they fit together differently.”

An architectural innovation challenges an old organisation because it demands that the organisation remake itself. And who wants to do that?

The armies of the late 19th century were organised — as armies had long been — around cavalry and infantry. Cavalry units offered mobility. Infantry offered strength in numbers and the ability to dig in defensively.

Three technologies emerged to define the first world war: artillery, barbed wire and the machine gun. They profoundly shaped the battlefield, but also slipped easily into the existing decision-making structures. Barbed wire and machine guns were used to reinforce infantry positions. Artillery could support either cavalry or infantry from a distance.

Tanks, however, were different. In some ways they were like cavalry, since their strength lay partly in their ability to move quickly. In other ways, they fitted with the infantry, fighting alongside foot soldiers. Or perhaps tanks were a new kind of military capability entirely; this was the view taken by J F C Fuller.

These discussions might seem philosophical — but in the light of Henderson’s ideas, they are intensely practical. “You have to find an organisation that will accept the new bit of technology,” says Andrew Mackay. Mackay runs an advisory firm, Complexas, but was also the commander of British and coalition forces in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2008. “The organisational question is deeply unsexy, but it’s fundamental.”

“Most notably, 44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year”

Andrew Perrin:

Most notably, 44% of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year, nearly four times the share of users ages 65 and older (12%) who have done so. Similarly, older users are much less likely to say they have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings in the past 12 months: Only a third of Facebook users 65 and older have done this, compared with 64% of younger users. In earlier research, Pew Research Center has found that a larger share of younger than older adults use Facebook. Still, similar shares of older and younger users have taken a break from Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.

Welcome to the metadata society — and beware

Adrian Lobe:

Using the accelerometers built into smartphones, Google can tell if someone is cycling, driving or walking. If you click on the algorithmically generated search prediction Google proposes when you type “Merkel”, for instance, the probability increases that the autocomplete mechanism will also display this for other users. The mathematical models produce a new reality. The behaviour of millions of users is conditioned in a continuous feedback loop. Continuous, and controlled.

The Italian philosopher and media theorist, Matteo Pasquinelli, who teaches at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, has put forward the hypothesis that this explosion of data exploitation makes a new form of control possible: A “metadata society”. With metadata, new forms of biopolitical control could be used to establish mass and behavioural control, such as online activities in social media channels or passenger flows in public transport.

“Data,” Pasquinelli writes, “are not numbers, but diagrams of surfaces, new landscapes of knowledge that inaugurated a vertiginous perspective over the world and society as a whole: The eye of the algorithm, or algorithmic vision.”

The accumulation of figures and numbers through the information society has reached a point where they become a space and create a new topology. The metadata society can be understood as an extension of the cybernetic control society, writes Pasquinelli: “Today it is no longer a matter of determining the position of an individual (the data), but of recognising the general trend of the mass (the metadata).”

Deadly deductions

Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

Mark Bergen and Jennifer Surane:

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Inc. and others.

But the deal, which has not been previously reported, could raise broader privacy concerns about how much consumer data technology companies like Google quietly absorb.

“People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,” said Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”

Why California’s Privacy Law Won’t Hurt Facebook or Google

Antonio Garcia Martinez:

California, that innovative economic juggernaut that so often takes the regulatory lead on matters such as automobile emissions, is once again establishing the ground rules to a vital industry. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in June, is the improbable result of a wealthy real estate investor, with the colorful name of Alastair Mactaggart, and a gang of volunteers taking an interest in consumer privacy. Mactaggart used California’s zany ballot initiative system (and his personal fortune) to get a version of a proposed privacy law onto the November ballot. Faced with the horrifying prospect of a well-funded privacy evangelist jamming regulation down the throats of the state’s golden-goose tech companies, legislators quickly devised their own alternative. This rollicking policy adventure is recounted at length in a cover story by Nicholas Confessore for The New York Times Magazine.
 Look through the rah-rah triumphalism of the piece, however and you’ll see that far from succumbing to some irresistible activist push, incumbents Google and Facebook craftily shaped the legislation to suit themselves. When in the history of American democracy have state legislators voted to severely and onerously regulate trillion-dollar companies in their home districts, motivated only by an overweening concern for consumer rights (and not donor pressure)? Never, is the answer—which is why the implications of CCPA could use some further scrutiny. (Spoiler alert: Facebook doesn’t hate the law).

Web design museum


The museum exhibits over 900 carefully selected and sorted web sites that show web design trends between the years 1995 and 2005.

Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales Google found the perfect way to link online ads to store purchases: credit card data

Mark Bergen:

Google paid Mastercard millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked on the deal, and the companies discussed sharing a portion of the ad revenue, according to one of the people. The people asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A spokeswoman for Google said there is no revenue sharing agreement with its partners.
 A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the partnership with Mastercard, but addressed the ads tool. “Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” the company said in a statement. “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.” The company said people can opt out of ad tracking using Google’s “Web and App Activity” online console. Inside Google, multiple people raised objections that the service did not have a more obvious way for cardholders to opt out of the tracking, one of the people said.

U.S. Military Academies Have Become Disneyland For Politicians

Bruce Fleming:

Heffington’s letter is a scorcher. It pulls no punches and concludes it’s questionable whether West Point, founded in 1802, “should ever remain open.” Heffington’s “BLUF,” Bottom Line Up Front: “First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other.” He goes on: “The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline.”

Heffington notes that students are admitted to play Division I football, which degrades academics: “we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks.” Faculty members who object are silenced, he says.

To this, I say “Amen, brother.” Heffington’s letter caused me personal joy and professional agony. I’ve been making a number of the same points about Annapolis, an essentially identical taxpayer-funded institution, for the last several decades, earning repeated salvos of our administration’s ire and attempts to silence me. (West Point has few civilian professors, and no tenured ones.) So it was gratifying to hear someone else say the same things about our sister institution, with more vitriol than I usually employ.

More, here.

Content Performance Quotient

Luke Wroblewski:

In his Beyond Engagement: the Content Performance Quotient presentation at An Event Apart in Chicago, Jeffrey Zeldman introduced a new metric for tracking how well Web sites are performing. Here’s my notes from his talk:

The number one stakeholder request for Web sites is engagement: we need people using our services more. But is it the right metric for all these situations?
For some apps, engagement is clearly the right thing to measure. Think Instagram, long-form articles, or gaming sites. For others, more time spent might be a sign of customer frustration.
Most of the Web sites we work on are like customer service desks where we want to give people what they need and get them on their way. For these experiences, speed of usefulness should matter more than engagement.

Content Performance Quotient (Design CPQ) is a measure of how quickly we can get the right content to solve the customer’s problem. The CPQ is a goal to iterate against and aim for the shortest distance between problem & solution. It tracks your value to the customer by measuring the speed of usefulness.

Pretty garbage: when a Web site looks good but doesn’t help anyone. Garbage in a delightfully responsive grid is still garbage. A lot of a Web designer’s job is bridging the gap between what clients say they need and what their customers actually need.
Marlboro’s advertising company (in the 50s) rethought TV commercials by removing all the copy and focusing on conveying emotions.

They went from commercials typically full of text to just ten words focused on their message.
Mobile is a great forcing function to re-evaluate our content. Because you can’t fit everything on a small screen, you need to make decisions about what matters most.

Slash your architecture and shrink your content. Ask: “why do we need this?” Compare all your content to the goals you’ve established. Design should be intentional. Have purpose-driven design and purpose-driven content. If your design isn’t going somewhere, it is going nowhere.

How Technology Grows (a Restatement of Definite Optimism)

Dan Wang:

I consider Definite Optimism as Human Capital to be my most creative piece. Unfortunately, it’s oblique and meandering. So I thought to write a followup to lay out its premises more directly and to offer a restatement of its ideas.
 The goal of both pieces is to broaden the terms in which we discuss “technology.” Technology should be understood in three distinct forms: as processes embedded into tools (like pots, pans, and stoves); explicit instructions (like recipes); and as process knowledge, or what we can also refer to as tacit knowledge, know-how, and technical experience. Process knowledge is the kind of knowledge that’s hard to write down as an instruction. You can give someone a well-equipped kitchen and an extraordinarily detailed recipe, but unless he already has some cooking experience, we shouldn’t expect him to prepare a great dish.
 I submit that we have two big biases when we talk about technology. First, we think about it too much in terms of tools and recipes, when really we should think about it more in terms of process knowledge and technical experience. Second, most of us focus too much on the digital world and not enough on the industrial world. Our obsession with the digital world has pushed our expectation of the technological future in the direction of cyberpunk dystopia; I hope instead that we can look forward to a joyful vision of the technological future, driven by advances in industry.
 This is one of my longer essays; the final section summarizes the main points.
 Process knowledge is represented by an experienced workforce. I’ve been studying the semiconductor industry, and that has helped to clarify my thoughts on technological innovation more broadly. It’s easy to identify all three forms of technology in the production of semiconductors: tools, instructions, and process knowledge. The three firms most responsible for executing Moore’s Law—TSMC, Intel, and Samsung—make full use of each of these tools. Each of them invest north of $10 billion a year to push forward that technological frontier.

Network-Based Businesses Will Disrupt All Sectors of the Economy

Mike Maples:

Today, I am convinced that:

Software-defined networks will be the most valuable businesses, displacing traditional corporations as central actors.
Networks can bring exponential improvements in prosperity throughout the world.
Networks will encounter fierce resistance from traditional businesses, governments, and other parts of society that don’t want a different future.

Everything Alibaba Does Differently — and Better

Ming Zeng:

Alibaba hit the headlines with the world’s biggest IPO in September 2014. Today, the company has a market cap among the global top 10, has surpassed Walmart in global sales, and has expanded into all the major markets in the world. Founder Jack Ma has become a household name.

From its inception, in 1999, Alibaba experienced great growth on its e-commerce platform. However, it still didn’t look like a world-beater in 2007 when the management team, which I had joined full-time the year before, met for a strategy off-site at a drab seaside hotel in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Over the course of the meeting, our disjointed observations and ideas about e-commerce trends began to coalesce into a larger view of the future, and by the end, we had agreed on a vision. We would “foster the development of an open, coordinated, prosperous e-commerce ecosystem.” That’s when Alibaba’s journey really began.

Alibaba’s special innovation, we realized, was that we were truly building an ecosystem: a community of organisms (businesses and consumers of many types) interacting with one another and the environment (the online platform and the larger off-line physical elements). Our strategic imperative was to make sure that the platform provided all the resources, or access to the resources, that an online business would need to succeed, and hence supported the evolution of the ecosystem.

Phone Numbers Were Never Meant as ID. Now We’re All At Risk

Lily Hay Newman:

 “The bottom line is society needs identifiers,” says Jeremy Grant, coordinator of the Better Identity Coalition, an industry collaboration that includes Visa, Bank of America, Aetna, and Symantec. “We just have to make sure that knowledge of an identifier can’t be used to somehow take over the authenticator. And a phone number is only an identifier; in most cases, it’s public.”
 Think of your usernames and passwords. The former are generally public knowledge; it’s how people know who you are. But you keep the latter guarded, because it’s how you prove who you are.
 The use of phone numbers as both lock and key has led to the rise, in recent years, of so-called SIM swapping attacks, in which an attacker steals your phone number. When you add two-factor authentication to an account and receive your codes through SMS texts, they go to the attacker instead, along with any calls and texts intended for the victim. Sometimes attackers even use inside sources at carriers who will transfer numbers for them.

The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People

Jason Koebler and Joseph Cox:

This spring, Facebook reached out to a few dozen leading social media academics with an invitation: Would they like to have a casual dinner with Mark Zuckerberg to discuss Facebook’s problems?

According to five people who attended the series of off-the-record dinners at Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto, California, the conversation largely centered around the most important problem plaguing the company: Content moderation.

In recent months, Facebook has been attacked from all sides: by conservatives for what they perceive is a liberal bias, by liberals for allowing white nationalism and Holocaust denial on the platform, by governments and news organizations for allowing fake news and disinformation to flourish, and by human rights organizations for its use as a platform to facilitate gender-based harassment and livestream suicide and murder. Facebook has even been blamed for contributing to genocide.

These situations have been largely framed as individual public relations fires that Facebook has tried to put out one at a time. But the need for content moderation is better looked at as a systemic issue in Facebook’s business model. Zuckerberg has said that he wants Facebook to be one global community, a radical ideal given the vast diversity of communities and cultural mores around the globe. Facebook believes highly-nuanced content moderation can resolve this tension, but it’s an unfathomably complex logistical problem that has no obvious solution, that fundamentally threatens Facebook’s business, and that has largely shifted the role of free speech arbitration from governments to a private platform.

Creative video strategies

Anthony Ha:

As for what they learned, here’s how Google summarized the findings:

1. Immersive, multi-sensory experiences drive better recall than single sensory experiences.
Implications: Food ads should stimulate the full range of senses and use the full potential of audio, visual and text cues to do so.

2. Separating visual input from text (voice and supers) increases both recall and favorability.
Implications: Brands making short-form ads should consider separating visual clips from audio/supers for maximum impact.

3. Explicit instruction to imagine increases both recall and favorability.
Implications: Brands should use instruction to drive impact until they can prove more effective options.

4. We want edge-to-edge food in our food ads.
Implications: Food ads should include super close shots of the food to drive favorability and recall.

5. Bite and smile is not the only way to show a pleasurable food experience.
Implications: A range of human/food approaches are equally valid. Brands should feel there is freedom in how they present their food being enjoyed, not constrained by bite-and-smile.

6. Younger audiences responded better to first-person perspectives (POV) than older audiences did.

Google Data Collection Research

Digital Content Next:

In “Google Data Collection,” Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, has fully cataloged how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.
 The key findings include:
 A dormant, stationary Android phone (with the Chrome browser active in the background) communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period, or at an average of 14 data communications per hour. In fact, location information constituted 35 percent of all the data samples sent to Google.
 For comparison’s sake, a similar experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device. Moreover, an idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari.
 An idle Android device communicates with Google nearly 10 times more frequently as an Apple device communicates with Apple servers. These results highlighted the fact that Android and Chrome platforms are critical vehicles for Google’s data collection. Again, these experiments were done on stationary phones with no user interactions. If you actually use your phone the information collection increases with Google.
 Google has the ability to associate anonymous data collected through passive means with the personal information of the user. Google makes this association largely through advertising technologies, many of which Google controls. Advertising identifiers—which are purportedly “user anonymous” and collect activity data on apps and third-party webpage visits—can get associated with a user’s real Google identity through passing of device-level identification information to Google servers by an Android device.
 Likewise, the DoubleClick cookie ID—which tracks a user’s activity on the third-party webpages—is another purportedly “user anonymous” identifier that Google can associate to a user’s Google account. It works when a user accesses a Google applica

Facebook is rating the trustworthiness of its users on a scale from zero to one

Elizabeth Dwoskin:

Lyons said she soon realized that many people were reporting posts as false simply because they did not agree with the content. Because Facebook forwards posts that are marked as false to third-party fact-checkers, she said it was important to build systems to assess whether the posts were likely to be false to make efficient use of fact-checkers’ time. That led her team to develop ways to assess whether the people who were flagging posts as false were themselves trustworthy.
 “One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles,” Lyons said in a follow-up email. “For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false-news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false-news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.”

When China Rules the Web Technology in Service of the State

Adam Segal:

For almost five decades, the United States has guided the growth of the Internet. From its origins as a small Pentagon program to its status as a global platform that connects more than half of the world’s population and tens of billions of devices, the Internet has long been an American project. Yet today, the United States has ceded leadership in cyberspace to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined his plans to turn China into a “cyber-superpower.” Already, more people in China have access to the Internet than in any other country, but Xi has grander plans. Through domestic regulations, technological innovation, and foreign policy, China aims to build an “impregnable” cyberdefense system, give itself a greater voice in Internet governance, foster more world-class companies, and lead the globe in advanced technologies.
 China’s continued rise as a cyber-superpower is not guaranteed. Top-down, state-led efforts at innovation in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, and other ambitious technologies may well fail. Chinese technology companies will face economic and political pressures as they globalize. Chinese citizens, although they appear to have little expectation of privacy from their government, may demand more from private firms. The United States may reenergize its own digital diplomacy, and the U.S. economy may rediscover the dynamism that allowed it create so much of the modern world’s technology.
 But given China’s size and technological sophistication, Beijing has a good chance of succeeding—thereby remaking cyberspace in its own image. If this happens, the Internet will be less global and less open. A major part of it will run Chinese applications over Chinese-made hardware. And Beijing will reap the economic, diplomatic, national security, and intelligence benefits that once flowed to Washington.

Self Promotion, or Buy Leads?

“My belief is that the highest calling of marketing is to create a successful brand. That’s job #1.” – Bob Hoffman [1]

Facebook’s message to media: “We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic…That is the old world and there is no going back” [2]

“We can make a lot more money by selling a home ourselves, by having a mortgage originated by us.” Spencer Rascoff. [3]

“Convenience is the Ultimate Currency” – Nielsen [4]

Do brokers, teams and agents have the tools necessary to compete and build their own brands in 2018?

We strongly believe that the answer is yes. Here are a few examples (from one system!):

Favorite Agent

One link for www, apps, social, text and email. Your brand, everywhere.

World’s best CMA

Live, beautiful comparables.

One Tap Lead Capture

Text, email, social, www.

Full Feature Website

Fast, responsive and elegant.

CRM + AVM Power

Automagic branded postcard followup.

Close in your app

Sign or Docusign. Autofill. Easy. Desktop or Agent App.

Play to win using the best platform, from leads to closings.

[1] Are you deluded? Bob Hoffman thinks you are.

[2] That firehose isn’t opening up again anytime soon.

[3] Zillow CEO on Missed Guidance, Mortgage Origination Deal.

[4] Convenience is the ultimate currency.

“My belief is that the highest calling of marketing is to create a successful brand. That’s job #1.” “and marketing has become strategy by selfie-stick”


Content marketing is a footnote. And there’s nothing wrong with footnotes. But thinking you’re going to have a big marketing success is unlikely.

Sure, some people do. But marketing is about likelihoods and probabilities, and what’s the probability that you’re going to create a successful brand using content marketing?

I think it’s very low.

Facebook’s message to media: “We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic…That is the old world and there is no going back”

Joshua Benton:

The Australian — the Murdoch-owned national paper — has an interesting (and aggressively paywalled) scoop about Facebook today, based on comments Campbell Brown, the company’s global head of news partnerships, allegedly made during a meeting with Australian media executives in Sydney last week.

Here are the quotes attributed to Brown in the story:

“Mark [Zuckerberg] doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” Ms Brown said.

“We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the ­reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying ­business like in a hospice.”

I should note that Brown denied making the comments to The Australian (“These quotes are simply not accurate and don’t reflect the discussion we had in the meeting”); I should also note that The Australian has five people in the meeting corroborating them.

Much of the attention given to this story by Media Twitter has focused on the “doesn’t care about publishers” bit and the work-with-us-or-die implication of the second quote. But the story has an attached illustration that includes an alleged Brown quote that didn’t make it into the final story, and in some ways that’s really the most important one:

“being product-driven is a far superior stance than being customer-drive”


When somebody tells me they’re product-driven, I generally believe them, but when somebody tells me they’re customer-driven, I assume they’re lying. And usually in the most dangerous way — to themselves. I’ve made no secret of my strongly partisan belief that being product-driven is a far superior stance than being customer-driven, but I’ve never properly unpacked why I think that. Here’s the main reason:
 To be product-driven you merely have to be a talented person in a specific narrow and easily testable way. But to be genuinely customer-driven, you have to be a better person in a hard-to-test way.
 Add to that my priors that talent is common, but genuine good character is rare, and you’ll understand why I have the bias I do. This bias extends to myself. I trust my product-driven impulses far more than my customer-driven impulses. I’m just not a good enough person to be properly customer-driven. So if you claim to be customer-driven, you’re essentially claiming to be a better human than me, and I’m going to evaluate the claim with extreme prejudice. I’m going to look for bad faith in your stated motives and visible behaviors with a microscope.
 This does not mean you should not think about customers and users. That can’t actually be helped. When you think about a solution or product, you cannot avoid having thoughts about the people who might be buying or using it. But you must develop a skeptical self-awareness around what those thoughts mean because they will invariably be self-serving in ways you’re probably blind to. In other words, you must know what you talk about when you talk about “customers” and “users”. To that end, let me offer you my hierarchy of customer-relationship mental models.

A visual history of the future

Nick Dunn, Dr Paul Cureton and Serena Pollastri:

This paper is concerned with how future cities have been visualised, what these projections sought to communicate and why.
 The paper is organised into eight sections. Each of the first seven sections is highly illustrated by relevant visualisations to capture the main ways in which the thematic content is evident within future cities. We present a brief summary at the end of each section to understand the key issues.
 First, we describe the relevance and power of imagined cities and urban visions throughout popular culture, a multi-disciplinary discourse, along with an explanation of the methods used.
 Second, we examine the role of different media and its influence upon the way in which ideas are communicated and also translated, including, but not limited to: diagrams, drawings, films, graphic novels, literature, paintings, and photomontages.
 Third, we interrogate the ‘groundedness’ of visualisations of future cities and whether they relate to a specific context or a more general set of conditions.
 Fourth, we identify the role of technological speculation in future city scenarios including: infrastructure, mobility, sustainability, built form, density and scale.
 Fifth, we examine the variations in socio-spatial relationships that occur across different visualisations of cities, identifying the lived experience and inhabitation of the projected environments.
 Sixth, we consider the relationship of data, ubiquitous computing and digital technologies in contemporary visualisations of cities.
 Seventh, we establish the overarching themes that appear derived from visualisations of British cities and their legacy.
 In conclusion, we establish a synthesis of the prevalent patterns within and across legacies, and the diversity of visualisations, to draw together our findings in relation to overarching narratives and themes for how urban life has been envisaged and projected for the period under scrutiny.

Marketing Industry Rhetoric

Bob Hoffman:

There are two types of lies. Lies of commission (when you say something that isn’t true) and lies of omission (when you neglect to say something that is true.)
 The marketing industry is guilty of 10 years of lying by omission.
 I am specifically speaking about the events at which the marketing industry comes together — our conferences. These are the occasions when the industry “gathers” and “networks” and “shares” all the dumb shit that we happen to be obsessed with at the moment.
 It seems that there is a new marketing conference every half-hour to solemnly explore whatever the marketing fad-of-the-month happens to be. The trade press, finding it ever harder to make a buck publishing, has jumped head-first into the conference business with a never-ending stream of “insider summits.”
 The problem with these conferences is that while they pretend to be educational, they usually have a hidden motive that is antithetical to truth-telling. In fact, most of the conferences you attend are financed to a significant degree by companies with an agenda. And what is the undercurrent that defines that agenda? Usually, the propagation and glorification of marketing and advertising technology.

Facebook to Banks: Give Us Your Data, We’ll Give You Our Users

Deepa Seetharaman:

That hasn’t assuaged concerns about Facebook’s privacy practices. Bank executives are worried about the breadth of information being sought, even if it means not being available on certain platforms that their customers use. It is unclear whether bank customers would need to opt-in to the proposed Facebook services or what other privacy protections might be offered.
 JPMorgan isn’t “sharing our customers’ off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a result,” said spokeswoman Trish Wexler.
 Banks view mobile commerce as one of their biggest opportunities, but are still running behind technology firms like PayPal Holdings Inc. and Square Inc. Customers have moved slowly too; many Americans still prefer using their cards, along with cash and checks.
 In an effort to compete with PayPal’s Venmo, a group of large banks last year connected their smartphone apps to money-transfer network Zelle. Results are mixed so far: While usage has risen, many banks still aren’t on the platform.
 In recent years, Facebook has tried to transform Messenger into a hub for customer service and commerce, in keeping with a broader trend among mobile messaging services.
 A partnership with American Express Co. allows Facebook users to contact the card company’s representatives. Last year, Facebook struck a deal with PayPal that allows users to send money through Messenger. Mastercard Inc. cardholders can place online orders with certain merchants through Messenger using the card company’s Masterpass digital wallet. (A Mastercard spokesman said Facebook doesn’t see card information.)

How Much Do Micro-Influencers Make? My First Ever Income Report

Ayana Lage

Goals For The Future

There’s always room for improvement, so I want to share my goals for the future with y’all.

Apply for sponsorships consistently. Embarrassingly, almost all of my July brand partnerships happened because brands reached out to me. I only call it embarrassing because I could be making more money if I was more diligent!

Post more frequently. Isn’t this everyone’s goal? But really, I want to put this journalism degree to use and churn out content at a steady rate.

Increase affiliate earnings. Truthfully, I’ve stopped using primarily out of laziness and haven’t posted in a very long time. I know that you darling people shop my links when I share them (which is an incredible way to support this blog, so thank you) and I want to be more consistent.

Switch to WordPress. I love Squarespace’s intuitiveness, but I’m reaching a point where it’s limiting. With WordPress, I’ll have more control over SEO and have the option to include native advertisements on my site. This switch will probably happen in November.

Most importantly, I think — I still really enjoy this! It’s only been nine months, but I still worried that I’d burn out and drop this. Thankfully, I’m only becoming more excited about blogging and the days ahead. I’m excited, and I hope you stick around to see what happens!

Almost 70% of millennials regret buying their homes. Here’s why


Millennials aren’t exactly jumping for joy after purchasing their homes.

About four in 10 millennials are already homeowners, according to a new survey of over 600 millennials (age 21-34) by Bank of the West. Yet it turns out that 68 percent of them are feeling buyer’s remorse — almost double the amount of Baby Boomers who say they have regrets.

“Millennials are so eager to become homeowners that some may be inadvertently cutting off their nose to spite their face,” says Ryan Bailey, head of Bank of the West’s retail banking.

Here are the biggest areas of remorse.

Overspending on the down payment

Roughly four in 10 millennials felt they made poor financial choices when it came to purchasing their home. Part of the problem seems to revolve around the down payment. The survey found one in three millennials dipped into their retirement accounts to pay for their homes — a trend Bailey calls “alarming.”

Full Study (PDF)

As Google Maps Renames Neighborhoods, Residents Fume

Jack Nicas:

For decades, the district south of downtown and alongside San Francisco Bay here was known as either Rincon Hill, South Beach or South of Market. This spring, it was suddenly rebranded on Google Maps to a name few had heard: the East Cut.

The peculiar moniker immediately spread digitally, from hotel sites to dating apps to Uber, which all use Google’s map data. The name soon spilled over into the physical world, too. Real-estate listings beckoned prospective tenants to the East Cut. And news organizations referred to the vicinity by that term.

“It’s degrading to the reputation of our area,” said Tad Bogdan, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years. In a survey of 271 neighbors that he organized recently, he said, 90 percent disliked the name.

How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation

Robert Noggle:

Calling someone manipulative is a criticism of that person’s character. Saying that you have been manipulated is a complaint about having been treated badly. Manipulation is dodgy at best, and downright immoral at worst. But why is this? What’s wrong with manipulation? Human beings influence each other all the time, and in all sorts of ways. But what sets manipulation apart from other influences, and what makes it immoral?

We are constantly subject to attempts at manipulation. Here are just a few examples. There is ‘gaslighting’, which involves encouraging someone to doubt her own judgment and to rely on the manipulator’s advice instead. Guilt trips make someone feel excessively guilty about failing to do what the manipulator wants her to do. Charm offensives and peer pressure induce someone to care so much about the manipulator’s approval that she will do as the manipulator wishes.

“Consumers are jaded about advertising in a way they weren’t several decades ago.”

Kalle Oskari Mattila:

But perhaps the most powerful impetus for these slimmed-down logos is that it’s increasingly more difficult to reach buyers when so many of them are skeptical of big corporations. A recent survey by the public-relations firm Cohn & Wolfe found that four-fifths of global consumers now consider brands neither open nor honest. “Consumers are jaded about advertising in a way they weren’t several decades ago,” says Adam Alter, an associate professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, via email. “It is harder to appeal to them than it used to be, and they tend to see through overt marketing pitches.” That has in turn led to a new arsenal of branding tactics. “Companies have had to learn subtlety,” Alter says.

No, we must not normalise violation of privacy

Aral Balkan:

The core injustice that Mariana’s piece ignores is that the business model of surveillance capitalists like Google and Facebook is based on the violation of a fundamental human right. When she says “let’s not forget that a large part of the technology and necessary data was created by all of us” it sounds like we voluntarily got together to create a dataset for the common good by revealing the most intimate details of our lives through having our behaviour tracked and aggregated. In truth, we did no such thing.
 We were farmed.
 We might have resigned ourselves to being farmed by the likes of Google and Facebook because we have no other choice but that’s not a healthy definition of consent by any standard. If 99.99999% of all investment goes into funding surveillance-based technology (and it does), then people have neither a true choice nor can they be expected to give any meaningful consent to being tracked and profiled. Surveillance capitalism is the norm today. It is mainstream technology. It’s what we funded and what we built.

Evolving Floor Plans

Joel Simon:

Evolving Floor Plans is an experimental research project exploring speculative, optimized floor plan layouts. The rooms and expected flow of people are given to a genetic algorithm which attempts to optimize the layout to minimize walking time, the use of hallways, etc. The creative goal is to approach floor plan design solely from the perspective of optimization and without regard for convention, constructability, etc. The research goal is to see how a combination of explicit, implicit and emergent methods allow floor plans of high complexity to evolve. The floorplan is ‘grown’ from its genetic encoding using indirect methods such as graph contraction and emergent ones such as growing hallways using an ant-colony inspired algorithm.
 The results were biological in appearance, intriguing in character and wildly irrational in practice. It was a fun learning experience and I plan to re-use methods in other projects.

2018 Millennial Survey


The difference between what millennials believe companies should do and what they observe firsthand is not without consequence. Business’ actions appear to strongly influence the length of time millennials intend to stay with their employers.
 Before we delve into the factors that influence loyalty, it’s important to note that loyalty levels have retreated to where they were two years ago. Among millennials, 43 percent envision leaving their jobs within two years; only 28 percent seek to stay beyond five years. The 15-point gap is up from seven points last year. Employed Gen Z respondents express even less loyalty, with 61 percent saying they would leave within two years if given the choice.
 Younger workers need positive reasons to stay with their employers; they need to be offered the realistic prospect that by staying loyal they will, in the long run, be materially better off and as individuals, develop faster and more fully than if they left.

Scraper Bots and the Secret Internet Arms Race

Klint Finley:

Companies are waging an invisible data war online. And your phone might be an unwitting soldier.

Retailers from Amazon and Walmart to tiny startups want to know what their competitors charge. Brick and mortar retailers can send people, sometimes called “mystery shoppers,” to their competitors’ stores to make notes on prices.

Online, there’s no need to send people anywhere. But big retailers can sell millions of products, so it’s not feasible to have workers browse each item and manually adjust prices. Instead, the companies employ software to scan rival websites and collect prices, a process called “scraping.” From there, the companies can adjust their own prices.

Companies like Amazon and Walmart have internal teams dedicated to scraping, says Alexandr Galkin, CEO of the retail price optimization company Competera. Others turn to companies like his. Competera scrapes pricing data from across the web, for companies ranging from footwear retailer Nine West to industrial outfitter Deelat, and uses machine-learning algorithms to help its customers decide how much to charge for different products.

Why Do the Biggest Companies Keep Getting Bigger? It’s How They Spend on Tech

Christopher Mims:

Economists have proposed many possible explanations: top managers flocking to top firms, automation creating an imbalance in productivity, merger-and-acquisition mania, lack of antitrust regulation and more.

But new data suggests that the secret of the success of the Amazons, Googles and Facebook s of the world—not to mention the Walmart s, CVSes and UPSes before them—is how much they invest in their own technology.

There are different kinds of IT spending. For the first few decades of the PC revolution, most companies would buy off-the-shelf hardware and software. Then, with the advent of the cloud, they switched to services offered by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft . Like the difference between a tailored suit and a bespoke one, these systems can be customized, but they aren’t custom.

IT spending that goes into hiring developers and creating software owned and used exclusively by a firm is the key competitive advantage. It’s different from our standard understanding of R&D in that this software is used solely by the company, and isn’t part of products developed for its customers.

The death of Don Draper Advertising, once a creative industry, is now a data-driven business reliant on algorithms. The implications are deeply sinister – not only for the consumer but for democracy itself.

Ian Leslie:

The earthquake, of course, was the internet, and the subsequent seizure of the ad business by technology companies. Between them, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (about whom Galloway has written an acclaimed, critical book, The Four), have transformed advertising’s terms of trade. Clients pour billions into a digital ecosystem that revolves around Google and Facebook in particular. The ad industry, run by people who pride themselves on creativity, is being displaced by the ad business, which prides itself on efficiency. Clients are spending less on the kind of entertaining, seductive, fame-generating campaigns in which ad agencies specialise, and more on the ads that flash and wink on your smartphone screen.
 The ad industry views itself as a field of applied artistry, a next-door neighbour to the entertainment industry. Though it often fails, it aspires to surprise, charm, move and delight people on behalf of its clients. The ad business is obsessed with data science, and distrusts the messy stuff of story, image and idea. The ad industry thinks of itself as the custodian of a brand’s meaning in popular culture. The ad business could not care less about such fluff. Instead, it seeks to identify the precise moment that a consumer needs something so that it can trigger a sale. Shopping, on its model, is essentially an engineering problem to which a satisfyingly logical solution has finally been found.
 The ad business is largely automated. Clients only have to decide how many people they want to reach, and how much they want to spend; algorithms do the rest. In the milliseconds before a page loads on to your screen, a virtual auction takes place. Advertisers bid for the chance to place their client’s ad on it, based on data about your online behaviour: where you live, whether you’re young or old, recently shopped for shoes or searched for a car brand. The advertiser might create multiple ads and serve different executions to different slices of its audience. Some companies, such as Cambridge Analytica, claim to be able to target personality types using this method. The more valuable your particular profile is to the advertiser, the higher price its algorithm will pay the publisher to get an ad in front of your eyes. In this way, every scintilla of attention is transformed into money.

350 Million Diners Fuel Battle for China’s Food Delivery Crown

Lulu Yilun Chen: is in the throes of what it dubs a “summer battle” against Meituan, the on-demand services goliath backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. that’s prepping an initial public offering in Hong Kong. To that end, it’s been doling out subsidies to consumers, merchants and delivery partners since July, a campaign it plans to revive during the winter, Wang said.’s also syncing its logistics data with Alibaba’s, so units and affiliates of the e-commerce giant can benefit from its own network of at least 400,000 delivery personnel daily.
 “ is very important for Alibaba’s new retail strategy, it’s a foundation for the business,” Wang said during an interview in Hong Kong. “Dining and food delivery is also a service that users will use frequently, hence benefiting our payments business.”
 The market for on-demand services in China is surging as people turn to their smartphones to order meals, schedule beauty treatments and hire helpers. But that’s prompting the likes of to splurge on discounts and subsidies. Meituan itself revealed huge losses — but also a scorching pace of growth — when it filed for its much-anticipated debut.

The Allure of Small Towns for Big City Freelancers

Rebecca Gale:

Joel Levinson knew he was good at making movies. To make a living, Levison created video content and entered online marketing contests. He wrote and performed his own music, initially doing all the camerawork and directing himself, and later creating teams to help produce his projects. His winnings were impressive, between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, depending on the year, he says. He supplemented his income by creating video content for advertisers.
 But Levinson wanted to write and direct a feature film. “Life in California meant that all hours were spent making money to pay for the cost of living. That is California,” he said. “It prevented there from being any free time for pursuing creative projects that are something bigger.” Half of the 10 places with the highest costs of living in the United States are in California, including Los Angeles.
 So in 2014, Levinson and his family moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio, a town of 3,500 that he describes as “a blue dot in the red sea of rural Ohio.” Where they once paid $1,750 a month in rent for a one-bedroom duplex in Culver City, California, they now pay $1,300 a month for a three-bedroom home with a half-acre lawn. (Levinson notes that the rent in his former Culver City duplex has since increased by $800). He cut between a half and a third of his workweek dedicated to income projects and spent the rest of his time working on his first full-length feature.

The “for sale” sign gets its first major makeover in nearly 50 years

Ainsley Harris:

At the base of the ring, there is now a QR code, which will prompt passersby to download the Compass app.

The meeting begins as Aruliden presents options for animating the LEDs. Should the sign turn on automatically at night? If so, how bright? During the day, what should happen when a person approaches and passes with a 10-foot radius? Six feet? Three feet?

One attendee raises the question of riders, the printed add-ons that agents often use to augment their standard signs. Liden, Aruliden’s CCO, would like to convince agents to embrace the sign’s minimalism. “Could the rider information live more in the phone?” he asks.

The Compass team is hesitant. “We need to test with agents.” Many agents, they believe, will be resistant.

IPS takes the stage, and immediately the idea of using sensors to trigger light animations becomes more complicated. The current plan calls for two sensors, but that will create “blind spots.” Adding a third sensor will affect battery life. “It’s the one thing we can’t turn off,” says one IPS engineer.

How dirty is Miami real estate? Secret home deals dried up when feds started watching

Nicholas Nehemas and Rene Rodriguez:

When a company called the Flower of Scotland paid $1.13 million — in cash — for a three-bedroom condo in Sunny Isles Beach last year, it had to do something unusual: tell the federal government who its real owner was.
 In years past, the Delaware-based shell company could have put down the money and walked away with a new condo — and a boat slip near Dumfoundling Bay — no questions asked. But that secrecy was stripped away in early 2016 when the U.S. Treasury Department imposed a temporary transparency rule on Miami-Dade County and Manhattan, two of the nation’s most attractive real estate markets to dark money.
 The simple disclosure requirement offered the opportunity for an enticing experiment: If regulators asked anonymous cash buyers like the Flower of Scotland to reveal their true owners, what would happen?

Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon

Susan Berfield and Matthew Boyl:

In Best Buy’s perfect world, all 380 of its new “in-home advisors” would park their clean, white Priuses in front of a customer’s house rather than in the driveway, where the car could block others. They would quickly appraise the neighborhood, survey the landscaping, and see if a security system is in place. After knocking gently on the front door, they would step back and stand to the right, smiling, head down slightly, arms uncrossed, name tag visible on their blue, wrinkle-free Best Buy polo shirts. They would shake hands firmly, avoiding the dead fish or the lobster claw.
 Once inside, they would offer to remove their shoes. They wouldn’t lean on the walls or place their Best Buy tablets on the furniture. If they noticed a cat, they would know better than to say they own a dog, and they definitely wouldn’t talk politics. The advisors would make customers comfortable by mimicking their conversational style and pace: If a customer talked with her hands, advisors would, too. They would have a tape measure with a laser, and they wouldn’t tease the cat with it. They wouldn’t knock on walls to determine where a stud was—they would use their stud finders—and they would never put the tool on their chest and say “beep.” That wouldn’t be amusing. “If you’re using that for rapport, start again,” says Bryan Bucknell, a self-proclaimed “longtime sales dude” at Best Buy Co. who’s training recruits for the program. He’s with his aspiring advisors—27 men and 9 women, uniformly enthusiastic in their blue shirts—in a windowless conference room at Best Buy’s headquarters outside Minneapolis, where they’ve come for the final session of a five-week initiation in late May.

The endless search for a single real estate platform….. Gary Keller and Brad Inman July 18, 2018 Transcript

Round and round we go.

I remember demonstrating our single entry platform, from leads to closings to Gary and his colleagues years ago. Today, our best in class agent and public apps and cloud system run client services from leads to closings and beyond. No “API integration” required…. Contact Jim for a quick look at 608 468 6013 or

Andrea V. Brambila:

Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller visited the Inman Connect San Francisco stage this morning to discuss with Inman founder and publisher Brad Inman how the real estate franchisor is pivoting to turn itself into a technology company.

But the tone of the conversation — intense, conflict-ridden, sometimes awkward, sometimes funny — is what really stole the show.

Keller began by describing the progression of technology over time and listing a slew of real estate tech companies that he labeled “agent-enabled tech,” including Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Opendoor and Offerpad.

“Pretty much all the people that Inman News worships,” Keller said, prompting laughter from a packed ballroom of attendees.

“I love Brad,” Keller threw in.

“They’re really smart people,” Inman responded.

A few notable excepts:

  1. “If you don’t own your tech you will lose. Nobody can come between you and your customer.”

  2. “Our phone is the remote control of our life”, thus the KW kelle app. Compare kelle with our best in class agent and public apps.
  3. “I think the industry has changed and that is is that today. You can you can say the before technology and then after technology era prior to technology becoming an absolute [00:31:00] imperative for our industry”
  4. “I talked to a consultant yesterday and this whole business is to work with broker owners on integration”. [Some brokers, franchises and MLS’s offer clients and agents a pile, of 19 disparate systems.]
  5. “Why did Zillow want our data that they can’t use and they have to be audited twice a year to not use it is because they want to make their AVM better”.

Provide a superior experience without the privacy hassle: our auto-fill app and cloud documents.

Transcript (18MB mp3):

Ready to learn how to Pivot Like A Champion, please welcome Keller Williams founder Gary Keller to the stage.
We (going) remember sitting. All right. Are you want to be near here? Gary brought his flip chart. I did . It’s special. So ask our wonderful audience one word to describe Gary Keller and then uh time for you tonight to check by the way. Be sure my wife is getting in on that. Yeah. Well, you got plenty of fans here.

Um, thank you very much for doing this. You’re more than welcome the enthusiasm by our audience some love you some aren’t so sure and someone don’t if you don’t know you but uh, I feel I feel the same way. Yeah, let’s start with that [00:01:00] actually and then you’re going to kind of share your vision like Colea (sp?) did.

Yeah, and I think it’s going to be really interesting to the crowd. But who is Gary Keller? Just just give us a little no. Okay, uh, by the way, you’re a leader in Innovative in a Visionary according to unintelligible. Wow, how do you I don’t I don’t want to waste time talkin about that. What do you want to know about me?

But what’s one thing is it true? You’re going to put realtor on your gravestone. Yes. Wow, that’s pretty that’s well. Someone asked me something once mean professionally, right what I wanted to my legacy and I said, I want to die being a realtor. I want it to say on my headstone. I was a realtor. I have a degree in real estate right got out of college in the late 70s was one of the first people to have a degree on it was a broker at 21.

And um, I’ve never gotten out right new live and believe you love real estate, right? Yeah. Sold 6000 in my first month in a city. I’d only been in Once by the time I was 26, I was a vice president large real estate company in my market. I love this business. Yeah, the great business and what let’s [00:02:00] let’s now jump into layout.

I think my question to you in this one is layout where you think it’s going because we got to like competing theories on the future. That we’re gonna really Bear Down on the next couple days. And I think yours is important and we got you a couple magic markers. We got an eraser awesome and we got a film crew that’s going to zoom in on it so that they do this so you can see it and we’re gonna put a clock on you gang of 10 minutes, um, 15 10 10, okay, but you’re going to talk for 45.

It’s just 10 on this part. Yes, so you ask so the question you asked me was where’s the industry go? Yeah, exactly. So I thought about that and I kind of want to diagram it and then we can talk through that do it. So if you think about any business out there, right there’s there’s there’s three paths that can go it can go this way.

It can go this way and it can go that way right. So there’s three phases to [00:03:00] building a business in any industry. Um, there’s this phase there’s this phase and then there’s. One of those three knows that an individual business or the industry. This is this is a business in sign of an industry. Okay, gotcha.

So what happens is you have this period of what I would say, uh, trial and error. Yeah. So businesses start business go out of business go in the business, they try on all kind of things and at some point, um, the the people that have made it get to this point and then at that moment in history and it shows up for every business.

Uh, this is where the Innovation the real Innovation occurs. Where is where is a compass and exp? Are they in that first big circle?

Well, I don’t mean to throw you didn’t At All by the way, no one’s in the circle yet. No one’s in this had to think about that first. I’m not in this circle damn, but you can be in the syrup. Okay, um put bread. You’re in the uh know by the way, I know I I believe that every firm whether [00:04:00] they’ve been in business for a year five years.

Ten years 100 years. I think all of us are right there gotcha. So when I talk about and I’ve made the statement that in February I got on stage and said that uh in the next year, you won’t recognize the real estate industry. I wasn’t kidding and what’s interesting is the amount of change that we’re all feeling is real and palpable.

Yeah, and it’s. That that’s going to accelerate right there. So let me explain what I mean by the saying this stuff. We’re just in the first inning. It’s coming. Nothing’s happened. Yeah. Yeah Gaucho. Okay, go ahead. Nothing’s happened. I’m serious about that nothing’s happened, but it’s fixing to happen.

Yeah. Okay, let’s fix and happen. So let’s think let’s ask what causes that? Okay. So what causes that is, um, uh, we started out with in the world with hardware Hardware wasn’t. And at some point, um, you had software to run the hardware right? One of the most interesting decisions in the world.

Is that [00:05:00] IBM who created the hardware decided not to own the software and they gave they gave one of the greatest deals of all time to Bill Gates and Paul Allen to own the software, right? Yep. So then all sudden at some point you’re using your Hardware your phone and you’re using software and you get this, um, um offer to buy a data plan.

Because you were out of space right so someone came up with the idea of how about if and they call it the cloud how about if we just string computers together and we put all your data there so you can access it from any any technology. Okay. Well, here’s the interesting thing about that. That’s a commodity.

For about $1,000 or less I can buy a piece of Hardware. I can buy a piece of software or multiple softwares and I could buy data service and I’m in business, right? Yes. Okay, that’s a commodity what’s changing the world today? And it’s called the fourth Industrial [00:06:00] Revolution
and that is um when you put teacher or Professor up in there when we’re description. Is data powered by artificial intelligence. That’s it. So everything that we have anything has been invented by any of us, uh prior prior to what’s coming has all been the industries all been about this the latest gadget the latest idea the latest thing cool.

That’s great. That’s what that is. By the way but this right here big data that is that is being powered by artificial intelligence that. And by the way, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in doesn’t matter. If you’re in real estate this applies to all industries, by the way, the medical profession the legal profession the architecture profession any profession you want to name is at this moment.

And the reason is because you know, you have two worlds that we live in the first one is the [00:07:00] physical world and the second one is the digital world. And what happens is everybody who’s physically based all their businesses they wake up in the Fatal question. They say is what’s the least I have to do in the digital world to protect.

What I currently have physically. Challenge is that the people who are in the digital space wake up every morning they say what’s the least I have to do physically to kick your physical. But yeah, right. Okay. So this is the battle the battle is over big data. Okay powered by artificial intelligence.
So let’s look at the real estate industry and you should sign that Gary because some people will pay me. Yeah, whatever what a capitalist. Okay. So let’s look at the real estate industry real quick and why we feel this change going on Brad, um industry starts out as real estate agent at some point.
We have uh, the tech, uh enabled real estate agent. Okay MLS being a good example of that technology enabling the real estate. [00:08:00] That make sense. Where does the MLS come in? I’m confused. It’s the it’s the technology that enables agents to do their job MLS is an example of where technology showed up to enable the agent and then the next thing is all of a sudden we have this thing and it’s called the agent enabled Tech got it that well.

Okay, and then by the way, the fourth would be the prediction that someday you just have. Well, the interesting thing is that will never happen and that ship has sailed right so you can literally take our industry and put it in a box like this and say you’re going to be one or two people you’re either going to be an agent who is enabled by Tech or you’re going to be the agent that is enabling the tech right now.

Here’s the center now, let’s talk about let me just bring it down a little bit tell me exactly what that mean difference. Well the agent is the fiduciary here. Right the and the tech is video there. [00:09:00] This is the battle over who’s going to be the fiduciary. So that might be who’s the rock star in the experience that might be smart contracts some of the all the tech taking care of that stuff will get to be the fiduciary.

We’ll get there in just a second. That’s right. So so let’s Now list these so out of time. That’s what I’m worried about. No, you’re not. No, no, we’re not. I love this guy. If you saw her email banners, she would just know we’re not because when you invited me, you said I could do it. I want it. No, you’re doing a good job. Good to say I love that you did. I have the email. Okay, you’re losing post it.

Yeah. I love you. You’re awesome. All right. So by the way started that whole mess. Okay, and then we have Zillow you have Trillium, uh, we can throw Redfin into that. Uh, we can throw purple bricks into that. We can throw Open Door into [00:10:00] that we can through offer pad into that pretty much all the people that inman news worships.

I don’t know. I love Brad and I mean he knows I love him but we’re was a really smart people girl. Well, okay and they’re not. Okay. No never but um, you’re losing so hear me on this. Okay, hang on you’re saying all of these players in the right have agents. Well their agent enabling Tech they’re all driven driven companies.

Correct. I will tell you that every one of these companies have agents because they have to not because they want to got you. These are not agents Centric businesses if they could do it without if Glenn Kelmann could run Redfin agents he would do it in a heartbeat if he tells you otherwise he’s lying.

Okay. Well, he’ll be here in an hour to dip. I’ll be happy to stay but I’m just telling you that that he’s in that category. Okay, absolutely. Yeah, [00:11:00] love and he loves that category he liked but that’s who he is. Okay you with me. So what’s the reason why you and I get off to Rocky starts at times?

Yeah, that’s is because well because I’m over here. I’m over. I’m I’m over here. Yeah. I’m I’m I work for the real estate agent. I have my whole life. I’ll go to my grave on my gravestone saying that. Yep. Yeah, so well, I’m not going to get their two cents. So let’s yeah, right. So if you look over here when when Inman and I love what you do, by the way, I wouldn’t have come here if if I didn’t appreciate you I really wouldn’t have I did you said kiss my ass.

I’m not coming. Yeah, and I didn’t say that. Yeah. No, you didn’t know I did but but a while to persuade you, well it did because people that work with me are more important than people that don’t. Yeah, I mean I yeah I get I get paid to help certain people and we’re grateful you’re here and I’m here okay on with me so I can check.

Okay, hang [00:12:00] on hang on hang on. So here’s where here’s where the challenge comes in and that is when I’m not picking on you by the way, but but when because I read pretty much everything that’s written through your news service. So I want to respect that the reason why you and I get cross lines at times is because um you represent these guys is the disruptors over here. The articles are already three ways to have a better open house for what these are going to kick your ass and change the world five ways to list his bows. Right this this go back and check and you’ll see it but this is all this absolutely treats these individuals as if they’re not disruptive.

As if they they work for this group. Now, here’s the here’s another interesting fact about this group. Let’s put let’s put every one of these groups. Uh, I can put the aggregators over here and they want to reduce the agents in come by at least 30% or more. [00:13:00] Right? So if you want to do what reduce their income, so the real estate agent if they do business with these guys is going to opt they’re going to operate at about a two percent approximately.

Uh commission, but if they if they were charging home if they deliver volume of transactions, well, be careful for the difference. You need to be careful with that because you’re talkin to the guy who wrote the book on it. Yeah, but you got you got 1,000 agents. No, no. No, I’m gonna give you I’m gonna give you a number here 10% if you’re spending more than 10% of your gross income for leads.

Yeah, I wrote a book and I right. Yeah, okay. There isn’t anyone that understands the in the audience think Gary book applies as much today as it did when he wrote it say yes, and how many how many think it does in apply quite as much as he did when he wrote it. Just see what here’s the interesting thing about that.

So I so we said that’s for dr. slido. Okay, so we sat down a year ago to [00:14:00] write the MREA updated version. Right? Right. Here’s what we found out everything that’s in that book is 100% accurate today except for the actual numbers. Well, we want to ask the audience if they agree with you. Well the doctor slide are you on this how many think Gary’s book is as relevant today.

As it was when he wrote it and how many think it is one caveat. You have to put your income down by your answer. Okay, well because because because I will tell you that anybody that anybody who was say that it’s not relevant today or your least earning people. I audience has a higher income than your community Gary because they paid a lot to come here.

But anyway, okay. Okay. So here’s my point to you. My point is is that. I am absolutely the leading experts are gonna be friends when this is all over of course. I like their shoes. Hey, dr. Slide. Oh how we doing? Okay time out. Now you’re taking my time by I know some guys stop conversation.
Okay. So here’s the thing. [00:15:00] That’s the cost for lead. If you’re spending more than that. You better have good justification. You with me? Yep. That’s just what the research says and I spend all my time. This is what I do, by the way now you get into this group. These guys want that commission to be one to two percent as well.

Correct. Redfin Redfin. Okay. Yeah purple bricks wants it to be maybe 1% to 1 and 1/2 percent max Open Door will pay you 1 percent offer pad will pay you 1 percent. This is why you feel this is why you feel the way you feel about change is because all of that group wants Tech to be the rock star and once the agent to be the functionary. Let me just ask you one question Gary and it doesn’t have to be like that you spread this thing, which I think the industry has been good at which is fear, which is they wake up every morning maliciously trying to go after the real estate industry. [00:16:00] Well, and I don’t you you meet with it’s a cut deals with Zillow you’ve cut deals with

I know for a fact you met with the disruptors you’ll cut a deal with anyone on their behalf. So. If they weren’t when I would have them into your office, right? I mean you have a deal with Zillow, correct? I presume you do I don’t think I do you have no deal with Zillow. What’s my deal to protect the listings from having?

No, they bought that agreement with dauntless. I didn’t sign a deal with you have no deal Zillow know why we don’t do business with any of these people. Why would I do business? What do I do with Zillow don’t have listings. I’ve heard through the grapevine. Obviously, we don’t publish it because no I have a I have an agreement with DOT Loop, but they can’t use our data right Zillow’s come back to us and they’re now asking.

That we give them their data. I just recently asked for that. And what was my answer your agents are sitting across the table from Redfin. They’re sitting there. They’re spending money on Zillow. These are smart people that are investing in things. They’re not that stupid. Are they Gary? You got to sit down.

I’m gonna get [00:17:00] come on just sit. I’m gonna do one more thing. Okay really quick. This is Barry Diller did this to me Barbara Corcoran? No, no. No, there are people that can take the stage. Away from Brad Inman. I’m not trying to do that. I’m very relaxed and come so so so the last thing I’ll say then is this and that is so that’s the challenge.

Yeah. So the real estate agent gets to vote with their feet. So by the way this group if this group doesn’t own its Tech it’s going to succumb to that group. Gotcha. That’s my point. Yeah, I gotcha. Yeah, if you put someone between you and the customer and you let technology get between you and the customer here’s an interesting number for you 1 billion dollars.

That’s the amount of money that we surveyed and we estimate that our own real estate agents spend on technology outside of Keller Williams a billion dollars Brad, but I don’t get paid a fraction of that but historically the industry’s paid 12 to 15 billion dollars for advertising whether they gave it to the Chicago Tribune or they gave it to Billboards, so they gave it [00:18:00] to.

To buy signs or where they gave it to Zillow that money so billion, I mean there’s spending they always spent billions marketing haven’t they in you always spend money in marketing? This is not marketing dollars. Yeah. These are operational dollars. I didn’t say I’ve said give give do it again. So I’m on software.

Oh and software. They’re spending 1 billion dollars in the reason why the software vendors don’t like me today is right. I’m literally taking that spin to zero. Yeah, my goal is to reclaim a billion dollars, but aren’t you gonna sell technology to your agent? Isn’t that part of your business model?
That’s 300 bucks a year what but that’s three hundred dollars a year times 150 thousand compared to sink that we charge the same amount to an agent anywhere from 18 to 100. I’ve got agents in the audience has been three hundred thousand dollars a year on technology alone. Yeah, by the way in about three months, they’ll be spending that much. $300.00

Bring her back come to down with me. So last thing here’s the issue. Can we talk about last thing you’re getting an education? That’s good for you.

[00:19:00] Well, here’s the thing is is when when I stood up and said that we were becoming a technology company man. I took a beating from from everybody thought that dumbass. Yeah. Well you said it and no one knew exactly what you were. I didn’t want him to know. Yeah, but it was quite a declaration. I’m spending a billion dollars in technology.

You would automatically okay. If I let someone build my technology for me. What do I say it again? Finally someone let me ask you a question. Does Amazon own their software or do they buy it from Fidelity? Uh, they own and I does Amazon on their software. Do they buy it from pick a cut on you tell me.

No, you know the answer. Well as soon as Amazon owns their software Facebook owns their software. Yes. Yeah Netflix owns their software right now. Okay. So, why would we tell the real estate agent? Don’t own your software or don’t let your company or in [00:20:00] partnership with why would we be tell them not to own it?

That’s a dumbass statement man. That is that is that you’re literally heading them to the slaughter. Not you because you don’t say that. But I’m saying anyone who says that is literally leading the real estate agent by the nose. Now, would you sit down with me? Is it gentlemen? I know you did but I haven’t finished.

Come on Gary sit down with me. No, no, no one more thing. So here’s what changes the world. So there’s a difference between software and platforms. Our industry doesn’t really understand this. Okay, and that is if you want to build an innovation engine Brad in order to. To build a platform that you can innovate on top of the technology.

The first thing is you have to build a cloud service. Now. This isn’t a cloud service like I was talkin about this is an industry-specific cloud service. How long does it take to build an industry-specific cloud service about two to three years? That’s what it as what Google tells me. That’s about how long it took us to do it, but two three years.

Okay, [00:21:00] second thing by the way, you have to have in order to make it significant. You have to have the data. So tomorrow morning. If he expense that they were going to build a cloud service you’d say. Well that’s good. But where’s the data? You don’t have any data? Okay, but if they had the data and they were gonna build a clown service it would take him three years if Compass today said we don’t have a cloud service, but we’re going to do it and they don’t have one by the way, but if they said they were going to do it.

It’s going to take them to three years. You with me? Okay, here’s the problem with that the problem with that two to three-year timeframe is it’s happening right now. If you don’t already have it, you’re in second place. Okay. Now here’s the other thing and that is you have to have artificial intelligence.
Why so here’s a good example. So let’s just think about this for a second. Let’s say that you have an agent software. And you have a real estate company software. So in the Real Estate Company software, we have all the data on production of everybody in the business, right? [00:22:00] So then we have the agent.

So tomorrow morning the agent goes out and they take they take a listing but because all the data on days on market price to sell ratios all of that all that’s down here the second the takes the listinug, artificial intelligence sends a ping to them and says for a home in that price range and this neighborhood you should you should use Smart Plan number 12 with these attributes.

Would you like us to execute it if the agent clicks? Yes, the whole plan is initiated in an instant over 12 week period. Okay, let’s throw out some questions to the audience. Can we use doctor? Uh. Slido that was his way of getting control. Yeah, it was great. No, I learned a lot. Yeah, dr. Slide.
Oh, uh, whatever we need to do for you all to submit questions and then we’ll get some of those questions up. I think they’ll pop up right here and we can answer what so here’s the challenge. I’m just I’m trying to educate you. Yeah. No I All-American. Well, the point is is that everything that we’re dealing with [00:23:00] today around software is bolt on technology.

I read the latest article you just wrote. Uh, you probably just heard and it said here’s the three rules for technology. Yeah, what did we say? Well, number one. You said it needs to talk to each other. Yeah, right. You have that good thing how you gonna if you don’t have that it’s not going to talk to each other.

So when I read that article, I went Jeepers you should have taken a poll by dr. Slidell or whatever and ask them how much whatever. The how much of their technology is going to actually talk to each other. It doesn’t talk we have I talked to a consultant yesterday and this whole business is to work with broker owners on integration.

No, no not just know there’s call me integration. But if you do that exactly integrate, I’m agreeing with you slow down and the fact that we even need an industry to help integration shows that we have a problem. So what do we asking? Uh any questions from the audience? Oh, here we go. What? Well you own here’s a KW agent.

Well, you all my data as a KW agent, in [00:24:00] other words. We we own his data. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah well on them with them with them sure so they’re this whole confusion about data on a ship and it with him. Well, someone’s got to own it. Yeah, in other words, whoever owns that cloud service and that artificial intelligence is going to own that data.

Now, here’s a question. I have view for that person. Someone’s going to own. Would you rather the uh a real estate company that has a history of being the most agents centric on the planet? Right? Here’s another number for you billion dollars in profit sharing paid out now on anyone in this room who’s paid out a billion dollars to their people in a profit share program.

They’re doing that by the way, that’s core to your program, right? Yeah. Yeah and it still is that still driving your growth the same as it has I wouldn’t think. Now what is driving now Community Technology technology. They’re coming to you for technology. Yeah, here’s another number for you six billion dollars and that’s the amount of productive volume that joined Keller Williams in the first 90 days of 2018. Let me ask you this.

Do you feel like this has been going for 22 years. We’ve [00:25:00] been talkin about robots for 5 years or 10 years. We’ve been talkin about all the things you have up on that board. Why is it. It were you a little late to the game too. Uh, I’m not know there’s a difference between late in too late. Timely.

You were timing. Well, I actually I think we showed no I actually think we’re the only one on time. Yeah, and I think you’re gonna see that in the next couple of months. Now, you told me backstage you’re launching something later this year. Tell the crowd with that. Well, we don’t want things.

Okay. So again, I’m going to go back. I’m gonna get I’m gonna get back to this point right here. The challenge that you have is if you haven’t already built an innovation platform. Yeah your two to three years late and the battle is going to be over the consumer. Yeah. So once one last thing just think about this, so if we think about the consumer and we think about by the way, if you want to be if you want to be Netflix number one, you have to own your software number two, you have to build an end to end consumer experience, right?

That’s personalized as you use it, right if you go to your [00:26:00] Netflix account. Mine does not look like yours. If I go to my Amazon page, it doesn’t mine doesn’t look like yours, right? Okay, so that’s interesting to point that out because if you think about the consumer experience as voyeurism to search to consideration to close to ownership and we put those in buckets you realize that uh, voyeurism in search is the only thing that actually is out there today for the consumer.

I would agree with that. Yeah, we don’t have online transaction yet though. We will by the end of the year. And oh, by the way, we don’t have ownership which will have that so imagine an app just as an example. Just imagine an app for the consumer that in real time the second they use it it begins using artificial intelligence to just like Netflix or anything else to personalize the experience in real time.

Yeah, imagine that it says, um, uh after you at a closing table you say, um, uh Brad now that we’ve now that you’ve bought about a home, um, Uh, would you like to refinance if you can save [00:27:00] money? Yes. Okay, so I’m just going to click. Yes and you have to do anything. Uh, by the way, if rates change and you can save money you’re going to get an alert and it’s going to say would you like to refinance now because we own a mortgage company and we don’t charge you origination fees or closing costs.

The mortgage industry hates me, too bad. Okay, we don’t charge any of that. We don’t charge any we don’t charge you any of that free just click it and we’ll refinance your home. That’s what’s coming at what point and by the way, that’s the battle. You go. The battle is not over search yeah, that’s going to be a commodity here.

We got a question. At what point do you care about the consumer experience versus the agent experience? Well, leave that to the 8th I care about the agent I care about the agents consumer experience. And do you feel like your Technologies enabling? The agent to create a better consumer experience or do you actually yeah, that’s the whole point.

Are you ever gonna go direct to the well, here’s the thing about it. No, I want to do that. Okay. No, I don’t. I don’t have buyer’s or seller’s no think if you think about it this way [00:28:00] thing about this way the consumers the agents, but if the whole world is moving towards the phone being the remote control of their life.

Right, then the agent’s going to have to have that tool if the agent doesn’t have that tool to offer the end consumer experience. How how are they going to service? You are obsessed by the agent getting the tools to serve the consumer. That’s that’s really your vision. Well, let me ask you a question.
How long after you wake up in the morning. Do you go to your phone? Um really quick? Unfortunately. I wish I did know we all do yeah, we all do so, it’s the remote control. Isn’t it? Let me ask you a question, but. Yes, that’s where we are. Um, we are does EXP scare you does anyone scare you no. Yeah. No because no they don’t that was the wrong way to raise the question.

No think no think about this the when I started Keller Williams, I built an innovation engine. So here’s a good example you bring a great example, [00:29:00] by the way, Glenn speak. So highly of you he thinks you’re a genius love it great good for him. I appreciate it and that, I don’t care, right? Um, so think about so think about it this way when we created The Profit share program.

This is where everyone missed we created a Leadership Council. We assign the decision-making of the firm to that Council. So we profit share today. If our agents want to change that to something else they can write they can vote and change it. Here’s an interesting tidbit of information. So they forget on a regular we first started sharing money.

We didn’t profit. We actually shared the money off the top you sell a house. We wrote a check that has problems that attic that formula, 3 years into doing that it started showing real problems. And so we ultimately voted and changed it to profit sharing. So you’re saying that’s what eXP does now and that’s going to they’re going to run into problems what I’m saying, is there same with.

Same [00:30:00] with all the other copycats that at the end of the day, they’re going to they think they’ve reinvented something that’s broken. But here’s the interesting thing remember, that’s flattery when people copy it. Listen. I have no problem with that and when people disagree with me, it just means that I’m ahead.

Yeah, I don’t worry about that. Honestly. I don’t worry about that. What about that agent count at eXP, that’s got you guys have been sitting there wringing your hands a little bit. Why are we talkin about them? Well, they’re just part of the scene and we got a question from the audience. Not really.
Well, not really. I mean at the at the at the end of the No No it no. We’re Captain’s of our own. Let’s move on. Let me ask you this leadership. You are generally you are known as a leader in the industry. How has think about in your 30 years has the role of the leader changed like is house leadership change from say 30 exactly.

I think the industry has changed and that is is that today. You can you can say the before technology and then after technology era prior to technology becoming an absolute [00:31:00] imperative for our industry training, coaching consulting .That was the that was the value proposition that we provided real estate agents.

And that’s how you make your money. Right? Well, we became the number one training company the world we built the number one coaching company inside the real estate industry, dude, we right. Okay, we did that. Here’s the problem is is that that used to be 100% of the conversation and we woke up about three years ago and went we’re not going to stop doing that.

That’s no longer. What will protect our people. Technology and only that technology and putting technology that works in their hands is the only thing that we’re focused on doesn’t but that doesn’t mean the agents still need it but you’ll be giving it to them in a different way. Like I presume your training is going more and using technology and not one-on-one.

Correct? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right go back. Let me go back to Clea’ s Theory. She said. She compared to Wall Street, and she said the digital transaction for part of the deals, but one comment and we won’t talk [00:32:00] about this again about exp know that’s what I found fascinating member.

I didn’t bring it back there. No, no. No they did but that’s okay. No, I just want to point out one thing and that is I went back and looked and and there’s a group of leaders there that used to be with Keller Williams went back and look when we paid those leaders over a million dollars last year.

So I was wondering publicly since they think we’re broke and if they would just renounce that money. There you go. By the way In fairness Glenn will be on this stage to explain his business model. Um, let’s go back to the Clea because I’m curious if and I got this a different Vision a different way of looking at it, but she says digital transaction for part of the the deals meaning much like E-Trade the middle would be Charles Schwab people and agents, but an agent with a different role and the third will be more relationship-driven.

She’s kind of saying five years out you can put Redfin. You can put purple bricks in the middle. You can put at the low end. We don’t have it maybe instant offer. Do you is that sound bullshit? Is that going to happen? Sure. It is the [00:33:00] I want again. I want you to understand something kind of like when you’re up there now.

I’ve kind of come to be a while. They get comfortable with it as you can all tell here’s my here’s the point. I’m trying to make that right there the ability to innovate in real time. Yeah, that’s that changes everything. Yeah, the ability to build a platform that talks to each other where everything is integrated integrated is everything the problem in our industry today is none of the companies that you would put on that side over there and we can go from realogy.

I mean when Berkshire Hathaway calls us up and wants to rent our cloud service. That sounds that for that. How do you go ahead? Yeah realogy yeah, whatever. I can’t you see I called you Bob once yeah, I know you called me a lot of things in March. I was in Australia, so I didn’t hear it. But uh that was good people were (mad ) and he texted me like crazy.

I said often worried. You know why I do that is because it’s because a lot of the articles you produce or one-sided they don’t tell the other [00:34:00] story right? I got pissed because you put my name in an article in the head or no one asked me for my opinion. Well, that’s because we get a lot of readers and we put your name there.

There’s always two sides to the story. And if you’re not going to give me equal time in the article, then I have no choice but to stand up and attack that right you leave me no choice. If you’ll call me every time you mention me and let me talk. Yeah, then I’ll be nicer. Well, we like, you know people love to read about you and we try to cover you as fairly as you can our journalists wake every morning trying to do that, but they do a great job.

We make mistakes. Yeah. Let me go back to leadership is how running a real estate. Today different than it was there’s exactly this. It’s all about technology. Yeah, because you’ve always been kind of facilitator educator, which is the new management style more collaborators that true with your I’ve always been a collaborator.

Yeah. Yeah and with your best agents, I always love the fact Kenny’s and Sue Adler’s these people. I admire are part of your brain trust and they seem to me to be real good [00:35:00] people. They’re great people by the way, and I I spend probably. Uh, 20 to 30 hours a week working with our top people.
That’s what I do for a living. That’s why I know. So I make a confession. I was out of the industry for many years and other Industries doing things I came back. And the first thing I had heard was uh, Keller Williams is on fire and I had the impression that a lot of people had called Texas Christian all these tag words for Gary Keller and Keller Williams, and I was inherently suspicious as a journalist.
And I went down and I wanted to understand the phenomenon and the one thing that really struck me when you invited me to I think family reunions and one of those was the community you created and it’s something we’re very proud of and we have a lot of overlap. There are people here that love you and hopefully some folks from your community that respect us and I think we’ve all learned that building community and real estate is very powerful.

It is we don’t agree on everything but I [00:36:00] congratulate you on that. Well, and I also truly believe that you see the future better than a lot of us and I really appreciate you being here. Well that and uh, really good. What do you want to know? My what do you want to know, what are you dying to know? Well, we want to know tell these people one thing that’s going to help them. We’re seeing there’s a you just say. Go. Change Is upon us. What do they need to do when I when I wrote the book The million in real estate and I said it very crystal clear.

And that is your database is your business your personal relationship with your database is your frontline defense, offense and defense against anything else that can happen. That’s it. Lead generate, touch your people right build build relationship with your database is in business hasn’t changed. So the principles are the same but the difference now is the database.

But that was always the case I guess right. Yeah, keep in touch with your customers. You said that over and over? Well, the truth of the matter is is that the entire real [00:37:00] estate experience is going to come online. That’s all that’s all there is to it. Why did Zillow want our data that they can’t use and they have to be audited twice a year to not use it is because they want to make their AVM better.

Now, is that good for us? Yes or no, okay. Okay, then the answer is no it’s not it actually isn’t good for us as an industry. Yeah, great. Thank you for coming all the way welcome here the best your vet. Thank you.

Compare experiences and future opportunities. 1 608 468 6013 //

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

Marshall Allen:

With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They’re collecting what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them.
 Are you a woman who recently changed your name? You could be newly married and have a pricey pregnancy pending. Or maybe you’re stressed and anxious from a recent divorce. That, too, the computer models predict, may run up your medical bills.
 Are you a woman who’s purchased plus-size clothing? You’re considered at risk of depression. Mental health care can be expensive.
 Low-income and a minority? That means, the data brokers say, you are more likely to live in a dilapidated and dangerous neighborhood, increasing your health risks.
 Get ProPublica’s Major Investigations by Email
 “We sit on oceans of data,” said Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, during a conversation at the data firm’s booth. And he isn’t apologetic about using it. “The fact is, our data is in the public domain,” he said. “We didn’t put it out there.”
 Insurers contend they use the information to spot health issues in their clients — and flag them so they get services they need. And companies like LexisNexis say the data shouldn’t be used to set prices. But as a research scientist from one company told me: “I can’t say it hasn’t happened.”

“What do we need to offer to compete with car ownership?”

Kati Pohjanpalo/a>:

After its first big marketing push about six months ago, Whim has grown to more than 45,000 users in the Helsinki region, of whom 5,100 pay monthly fees. There are two subscription packages: an all-inclusive 499 euros ($582.65), and a more modest 49 euros that gets you unlimited bus travel and short city bike rides, as well as cheaper taxis and rental cars. A pay-per-ride option also exists for those who want to try out the service.
 To become financially viable, Whim needs from 3 to 5 percent of the area’s population to subscribe to a monthly package, according to Hietanen. That critical mass—almost 60,000 users in the Helsinki area—would allow the startup to buy transport services in bulk from the providers and turn a profit as it packages the options for its individual clients.
 Sari Siikasalmi, a 37-year-old management consultant, is becoming a convert. She’s tried out Whim and is now weighing giving up the car. Her family, with two kids under the age of 10, uses public transport inside Helsinki but needs a larger sedan for ski trips.
 To actually go through with the switch, Siikasalmi “would have to be sure that the type of cars we need are always and easily available nearby when we need them.” That’s not always the case yet.

Compass Connect, or Let’s Compare Compass, Part 2

The richly funded Compass brokerage brand experience is centered around technology.

This week’s Compass (inman) Connect conference offers an opportunity to again compare digital experiences.

Let’s compare apps. The recently updated Compass app finally offers notifications when new properties match a saved search.


Useful, contextual notifications save everyone time. Virtual Properties’ clients have enjoyed beautiful, rich and time saving notifications for years.

1. Price change(s), with a property photo:

2. Open House(s), with a property photo:

3. Press for details:

4. Collaborate with messages:

5. Watch

Contact Jim for a deep dive comparison: 1 608 468 6013 or

One more thing:

Compass website users must select a data source:

Virtual Properties clients enjoy a faster experience across multiple MLS data sources, in app or on the web:

Contact Jim for a deep dive comparison: 1 608 468 6013 or

“What do we need to offer to compete with car ownership?”

Kati Pohjanpalo:

After its first big marketing push about six months ago, Whim has grown to more than 45,000 users in the Helsinki region, of whom 5,100 pay monthly fees. There are two subscription packages: an all-inclusive 499 euros ($582.65), and a more modest 49 euros that gets you unlimited bus travel and short city bike rides, as well as cheaper taxis and rental cars. A pay-per-ride option also exists for those who want to try out the service.

To become financially viable, Whim needs from 3 to 5 percent of the area’s population to subscribe to a monthly package, according to Hietanen. That critical mass—almost 60,000 users in the Helsinki area—would allow the startup to buy transport services in bulk from the providers and turn a profit as it packages the options for its individual clients.

Sari Siikasalmi, a 37-year-old management consultant, is becoming a convert. She’s tried out Whim and is now weighing giving up the car. Her family, with two kids under the age of 10, uses public transport inside Helsinki but needs a larger sedan for ski trips.

To actually go through with the switch, Siikasalmi “would have to be sure that the type of cars we need are always and easily available nearby when we need them.” That’s not always the case yet.