Now that I’ve recovered and survived three full days of meetings here at Redfin here’s my quick take on things:
- Transparency is key: Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk on personal branding and transparency was the highlight of the trip for me. It really resonated with me and got me really excited for what we want to do with Redfin marketing going forward.
- The economy may get worse. There were lots of speakers talking about the economy and the current state of the real estate market. From Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times) to Robert Shiller (professor of economics at Yale) the overwhelming opinion was that we haven’t seen the worst yet. What has me puzzled is that I came back to work to find we’re hitting new highs in website traffic and every week are setting new records for home tour requests.
- Redfin is leading the way. In his welcome address Brad Inman had a Top 10 List “A Roadmap to Recovery” with several points where we’re trying to lead the way and many others we want the industry to get behind:
- We’re overhauling commission: our agents our paid on customer satisfaction not commission (#1)
- We’re trying to be more efficient: we refund 50% of our commission back to the customer (#3)
- We’re providing better “micro data”: from our neighborhood pages to our blogs we’re trying to give our users more data for the areas they want to live in. (#6)
And there are other fronts we’re leading the way on that people aren’t yet talking about like surveying customers after every interaction.
- Growing disconnect between brokerages and their agents. The big brokerages are cutting costs while their agents need more help than ever. I talked to one agent who worked for what I thought was a very progressive brokerage but she says they don’t understand social media at all. I talked to a few other agents who went so far as to leave their big brokerages to start their own. It sounds like agents need a website where they can easily compare, contrast and rate brokerages so they can easily figure out who gets it and who doesn’t.
- Agents love Twitter. Watching what everyone was Twittering on #icny changed the conference for me. It made it easy to connect with new people, track down where the parties were and find out what people thought of the speakers in real time.
- Lots of great people. I met TONS of great people still very enthusiastic about real estate: Stacey (OC agent), Jeff (XBroker), the guys from Dwellicious, House Chick, Kirsten (Seattle agent), Rob (Onboard), Andy (East Bay agent), Walkscore guys, Ginger (Marin agent), Heather (Virginia agent), Mike (Altos Research), Jay (Phoenix agent), Wellcomemat guys and on and on.
- Agents can party hard. I was blown away how crazy hard everyone partied three nights in a row but would still be at the conference looking good at 9 AM no matter how much they drank.
See some of you at Seattle RE Bar Camp and the rest at Inman in the summer.