In addition to being Earth Day, April 22nd was also Take Your Child to Work Day. Originally designed as “Take your Daughter to Work Day” as a way to empower girls and women in the workplace, today’s version is gender neutral, and here at Redfin we had a perfect 50/50 split.
Redfin is a fairly young company, especially at HQ where most of our engineering and operations staff work. While there are several engineering and operations children, most are under 3 years old and not quite ready for a day in the office. This posed one challenge in the form of attendance, but the bigger issue was making our service-industry business translate into something that would have interest and meaning for a pre-teen crowd. We don’t make a widget that you can hold in your hand; translating great service, voluminous data and information technology into kidspeak felt like a daunting task.
Before I continue, I have to give kudos to my 9 year-old daughter Lola. It was her enthusiasm that first blindsided me, then inspired me to figure out how I could make my workplace interesting to her for a few hours. Second, I’d like to thank the other Redfin parents who played along. I think we were all surprised by the result, as each child talked afterward about “what a great time” they had.
At Redfin’s Seattle headquarters, we had six children in attendance, and we gave them each a role to play as we walked through putting a house on market, then “buying” the property. Thanks to Arthur Patterson for setting us up with a great subject property on a Redfin test server, a “1925 bouncy house” with 2 beds and 1 bath, located in Tacoma.
With the parents guiding the way, the kids submitted and scheduled a tour and actually viewed the “subject property” by taking a tour of the office lobby, conducted by Field Agent/Coordinator Maggie Cross’ daughter. Next was submitting an offer, negotiating the contract, and managing the deal through to closing. Negotiations got a bit tense when the offer of $118,999 (against a list price of $119,000) was countered by the seller, who was OK with the price but wanted more earnest money and a bag of candy, and “not the crummy kind, either.” Luckily, the agents helped the parties reach their goals, kept the deal on track and received reviews of “Really, Really Excellent” or “Super Awesome” from their clients.
After completing the transaction, we visited Steve Marcus in accounting to see how Redfin processes refunds to clients. We got to watch him process a real $28,080 commission check, which is a pretty big check to lay your eyes on when you’re 10 years old. We also got to see him put together the $14,040 refund for that buyer, which as it turns out is a pretty big check if you’re an adult.
Next stop was Jessen Myburgh’s office, where she offered up Redfin recruiting T-shirts. This was a great surprise for the kids, and we now have six more Redfin billboards walking around Seattle.
Finally, we went to visit Jason Brackins and Eva Reese to get a quick idea of how a web page gets built. We’d sent them a photo of the kids taken earlier in the day, and Eva talked about how photos get prepared for use on a website. Jason then showed how he could swap out a picture on our home page, and all the kids got a printout of the results.
So, all in all, it was a very successful outing. Thanks to everyone at Redfin who helped and/or allowed us to spend some time showing these kids the ropes. We hope many of our clients, friends and family had the chance to share their work experience with their children today.
Happy Earth Day and have a great weekend,
Seattle Market Manager