“If there’s one thing I know how to do,” a friend once told me, after one of those long, grappa-fueled nights of ping-pong that make the rest of life seem like such an enigma, “It’s how to have a good time.”
Over the years, this friend has explained to me many things: what different drugs are like (“if you must choose just one, mushrooms”), how to bake a chicken (salt, pepper, nothing else), the only way to actually finish writing a book (feverishly, in a remote cabin), and how good family life could be (his toddler-age children fetch beers from the fridge).
But never how to have a good time. Whenever I’ve been supposed to have a good time, like at an amusement park or a party, I’ve failed, and then felt worse because of my failure. “Corporate fun” has been especially miserable. But then I came to Redfin. And if there’s one thing Redfin knows how to do, it’s how to have a good time.
In that spirit, we threw a Red Carpet party last week for our Seattle customers, so they would tell us how to improve our service or our site. And we had a really, really good time. Naturally, I was opposed from the start. “Nobody will come,” I said. “And we won’t have anything to say.”
But I wasn’t in charge. Our ringleader, Chelsea Mitchell, got $200 worth of beer on a high-heeled sprint through Costco. Mykie Gunderson cleared out his “Rock Band” junk just outside my office. Matt Goyer set up a computer to show drunk people the next release of Redfin.com.
And the customers came in droves. A Russian couple, on hearing that I was Lithuanian, told me that the “hard-working Lithuanian is a myth.” Bahn Lee took one of our prettiest guests and her boyfriend on an extensive Redfin tour. Angela Cough’s husband explained to an awe-struck crowd of scrawnies how to do 100 pushups (“just be naturally strong, I guess”).
And a dozen different customers came up to me just to gush about how great their experience was. The cumulative effect was overwhelming. Running an online business is a constant effort to think in inhuman dimensions, about changes to your site that can bring millions of new visitors. But at the end of the Red Carpet party, each happy customer seemed like a triumph.
If you’d like to meet the Redfin people in your area, let us know, and we’ll set up a Red Carpet party there, too. Thanks to Chelsea, Pam, Janelle and everyone else for setting up the party, and thanks to all the customers who made the event such a blast.