Redfin’s Tedx Talk: Take the Red Pill

A few weeks ago, I flew to Chicago for a Tedx presentation on my favorite subject, how software entrepreneurs can build real-world companies. If you’re a coder looking for ideas to start a company, we have a few suggestions for you at 8:45:

If you’re just wondering what happens when a software CEO attends an all-girls camp, start at :45.

The idea for the talk came from The Matrix, where the guru Morpheus tells a young software developer to “take the red pill” that will return him to the real world, which he is of course expected to save.

Unsurprisingly, software people love this movie. We all want to believe we can save the world. But almost none of us wants to take the red pill.

Why not? If you’re a software entrepreneur who invents a new way to animate movies, isn’t it more fun to be Pixar than to sell software to Pixar? You can ask the same question about  Tesla and cars, Climate Corporation and farmer’s insurance, Uber and a transportation system, Simple and banks, Xoom and money transfers, Redfin and Realtors.

This presentation makes the case that software entrepreneurs can do anything in the real world: we can build better schools and  hospitals, for example, so long as we start working with teachers and doctors. By the same token, the next generation of airplane manufacturers, oil exploration companies and pharmaceutical laboratories will all be hybrid companies, started, led or powered by software entrepreneurs.

The world, not just the web, will get better as a result.

Many thanks to Pivotal Productions and all the Tedx Windy City folks for asking us to participate!


  • Jonathan Kauffmann

    Awesome talk, Glenn. Very inspirational and thought-provoking. Keep up the great work.

  • Kirill Sheynkman

    Absolutely fantastic presentation, Glenn. To think that I was one of the guys that called you a “real estate agent” after which you didn’t speak to me for six months :-). Congratulations on having the balls to do something real. Wish I could muster up the same courage some day (or even invest in it).

  • Mike Sanchez

    Glenn Kelman is a hypocrite and a coward. Stop praising him you sheep. Glenn screamed at the top of his lungs about eradicating the real estate broker scourge from our midst when he first started. Now he is a one of them. He has the audacity to speak at TedX as a maverick? Glenn Kelman is a lie. His very name should be forever associated with cowardice and ego. He actually accepts invitations to speak at venues like TedX instead of politely declining with a nice letter that states: “I’m a fraud, I shouldn’t be speaking to anyone about disruption and creativity because I failed at doing it myself.” You want to see disruption in the real estate industry. It’s coming really soon. After we launch, you won’t ever hear about Glenn Kelman or Redfin again.