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IBNMA, Heresy, and Reality

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Looking through my junk email folder today, in pursuit of Inbox Zero, I ran across a long spam email from Paul Chaney, the President of the International Blogging and New Media Association (IBNMA). Normally, I auto-delete all spam, but this one, I read for some reason.

And immediately thought I need to post about this.

It appears that Paul is active in the real estate side of things, as he is the author of Realty Blogging with Richard Nacht. (I know Richard from my days at Realogy, but haven’t met Paul). I even own that book, and have actually read a couple of pages in it, before deciding that it wasn’t written with people like me in mind.

So it is with particular interest that I read this email:

First, the email (excerpts anyhow):

Leadership

One thing I learned from reading the book [Seth Godin’s Tribes]was that there is a great deal of difference between leading an organization and managing it. For example:

*    Leaders inspire while managers control
*    Leaders break the rules by which managers play
*    Leaders are what Seth calls “heretics” – mangers merely tout company policy
*    Leaders ask forgiveness while managers ask permission

I came to realize I was attempting to “manage” IBNMA, when what the organization needs is leadership. In other words, I need to become a heretic.

Okay… let’s get real for a moment here.

One of the things I dislike most about the “social web” or “new media” people is just how hyperbolic they get.  (I do include myself in this indictment, incidentally.)  Seth Godin is the leader (or manager?) of the Hyperbole Masquerading As Insight Movement (HypeMAIM), but this pernicious bug needs to be crushed immediately.

The above distinction between “leaders” and “managers” is unhelpful in so many ways.

Leaders inspire while managers control?  I have to ask… after inspiring people, what exactly do leaders do to execute on all this inspiration?  Isn’t an enormous part of the problem of the social media space that there are all sorts of inspiring talkers and so few execution-oriented managers?  So many ideas, so few dollars to show for them.

Leaders break the rules by which managers play?  Rules like… what exactly?  ‘Revenues – Expenses = Profit’ seems to be one that gets broken quite a bit.  ‘Talk is cheap’ is another one that gets broken all the time.  Which “leaders” might Paul be thinking of when he talks about breaking rules?  Let’s look at our industry for a moment.  Who is Paul pointing to?  I want names.

Because the guys who were touted as leaders breaking rules by which managers play a couple of years ago, like Rick Barton and Lloyd Frink of Zillow, are having to layoff 25% of their staff and face uncertain futures.  Glenn Kelman is a brilliant guy, and a years ago, I’m sure his name would have been mentioned as a “leader” not a “manager” — but 20% layoffs make for question marks and rethinking.

For starters, Glenn might want to rethink this:

In a year away from high-tech, I volunteered at inner-city schools and felt the same way: my time was lightly valued because I was giving it away, and many of the tutors seemed unmotivated compared to my old colleagues.

So now I’m back in Internet software, mostly because I missed the sense of purpose and importance that being around other driven people gave me. I believe in what we’re doing. But since we’re also out to turn a profit, some have ventured to call this belief disingenuous.

And it may seem so, but not to anyone in high technology, which has so thoroughly mixed virtue with commerce that you can hardly tell the two apart. Apple launched the Mac with an ad showing a woman heaving a hammer at a televised image of Big Brother. Google is famous for its promise to not be evil, and eBay’s latest slogan is “people are good.”

And the high technology companies that have confused virtue with commerce are the ones going down.  The ones who have withstood the test of time are 100% focused on making profits, and do not confuse business with pleasure.  Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe Systems, Hewlett Packard, Cisco Systems… and the list goes on.  Do you really think Steve Ballmer sits around thinking about how virtuous they ought to be?

Examples like Apple and Google are anomalies.  Apple presents one face to the public, and another altogether to its employees.  I had a meeting with an Apple employee, asked him a question, and he said with absolute certainty of fear in his eyes that he couldn’t answer my question, or he would get fired right there and then.  You think that’s because Apple is about being visionaries?  Google has incredibly fat profit margins due to their monopoly power over search that allows them to engage in all kinds of non-commercial activities.

But the laws of business, those rules that managers live by and leaders break, are that fat profit attract competition, and competition drives down prices, and that in turn suddenly makes all those old, outdated rules seem valuable again.  It will happen even to Google.

When Paul goes about praising heretics, he throws around a word that is freighted with meaning.  I’m not even sure that he understands all of the connotations of the word ‘heretic’.

You know what’s the distinguishing feature of a “heretic”?

They get punished.

I mentioned at the outset that Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, referred to leaders as heretics who connect similarly minded individuals around a given idea or philosophy. In other words, heretics help create tribes.

I want to be such a heretic and my desire is to see IBNMA become a tribe. In fact, my hope is that the organization will become an inner-connected maze of many tribes led by members who rise through the ranks to take leadership roles themselves.

In other words, we are looking for heretics – people who believe so passionately about an idea they are willing step up, focus the attention of others and gather their own “tribe” around it.

No, Paul — heretics get punished, driven out of community, isolated, and alienated.  In most societies, they get killed.  Being a heretic is nothing to strive for.  Martin Luther did not set out to be a heretic; he set out to rediscover the ancient truth and reform the Roman Catholic Church.

For every heretic who turned out to be right, there are literally hundreds, thousands, who turned out to be just crazy.

In my view, it is far more important to be right than it is to be different.  I have no desire whatsoever to be a heretic.  I’d rather my ideas and insights be received to wide acclaim and immediate acceptance.  But most of all, I’d rather my ideas be right, and my insights be true.  (Because I believe in such things as objective truth.)

If it so happens that by being right, my ideas are seen as heresy… well, that’s the price you pay sometimes for being right.  And if I’m right, and I can execute on those ideas, then they will succeed.  If I’m wrong, or I can’t execute, then they will fail.  At the end of the day, reality provides firm rules and laws that neither leaders nor managers, neither visionaries nor earthbound bureaucrats, can ignore: success is the test of reality.

Are you a heretic? Do you believe in the power of social media to be a force for change? Are you passionate enough about an issue to become heretical (i.e. a leader)? If so, then I invite you to start a tribe and do so with us.

In hindsight, my friend was right. There is a “one thing” that the IBNMA can do and that’s become a spawning ground for tribes where we provide information, advocacy, education, research and support. I invite you to become a member of our tribe.

Am I a heretic?  Emphatically not.  I’m just a guy who wants to find the truth, and in finding it, make a bundle of money for myself and my investors by providing something of real value to customers.  If that makes me a heretic in certain circles, so be it.  But I’m definitely not setting out to become one.

Do I believe in the power of social media to be a force for change?  Sure, I guess.  But I also believe in the power of the toilet to be a force for change (and in fact, a greater force for positive change than social media thus far in the human experience), so what does that mean?

Start a tribe?  Whatever for?

If you’re right, and you can show it, then people will come around to see the truth.  If you’re wrong, then all the convincing in the world just makes you a charlatan snake-oil salesman.

Applied to real estate industry, there are problems and issues all over the place.  But they’re not problems simply because they are the “old ways of doing things”.  They are problems because they serve customers poorly, prevent good agents from doing deals, and make brokers lose money.

The web and social media may or may not be a solution to one or more of those problems.  If we can stay away from HypeMAIM, and focus on the real value to real businesspeople doing real things, then we have a chance of uncovering some truth about consumer behavior, about efficient operations, or new ways of cost-effective marketing.

But let’s not get caught up in the hoopla about the “power of the Internet to change the world” and all that jazz.  Let’s not inspire each other out of touch with reality.  Let’s not pursue heresy for the sake of being “different” and “new”.

-rsh

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Rob Hahn
Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

45 COMMENTS

  1. Rob,
    As usual with your blog, I enjoyed this post although I am not sure I agree with you. I think Paul’s point was that he needs to lead his organization by empowering the members to create a tribe/culture. He needs to focus his leadership attention away from actions that he can personally take, like evangelizing or marketing and create structures that will allow his organization to self propel. I agree with his assessment.

  2. Rob,
    As usual with your blog, I enjoyed this post although I am not sure I agree with you. I think Paul’s point was that he needs to lead his organization by empowering the members to create a tribe/culture. He needs to focus his leadership attention away from actions that he can personally take, like evangelizing or marketing and create structures that will allow his organization to self propel. I agree with his assessment.

  3. I serve on the Advisory Board for IBNMA. Basically representing the perspective of real estate bloggers. It’s been interesting. Most people blog because they are advocates of a cause. Real Estate bloggers largely blog as a function of marketing.

    IBNMA is trying to figure out how to and how much to represent the varying cultures involved in social media. I make it a point to avoid reading Seth Godin, but in this case, a tribe mentality might be the way to go. Let Erin Vest advocate social change in her tribe while RE bloggers concentrate on issues that effect their business.

    I’m certainly not an evangelist, advocate, or heretic for real estate blogging. I just see it as a valuable marketing/communication tool. I see IBNMA as an organization that might be able to pick up where NAR, MBA, or NAMB drop off. A supplemental association that covers one niche throughout many industries and causes.

  4. I serve on the Advisory Board for IBNMA. Basically representing the perspective of real estate bloggers. It’s been interesting. Most people blog because they are advocates of a cause. Real Estate bloggers largely blog as a function of marketing.

    IBNMA is trying to figure out how to and how much to represent the varying cultures involved in social media. I make it a point to avoid reading Seth Godin, but in this case, a tribe mentality might be the way to go. Let Erin Vest advocate social change in her tribe while RE bloggers concentrate on issues that effect their business.

    I’m certainly not an evangelist, advocate, or heretic for real estate blogging. I just see it as a valuable marketing/communication tool. I see IBNMA as an organization that might be able to pick up where NAR, MBA, or NAMB drop off. A supplemental association that covers one niche throughout many industries and causes.

  5. Robert, glad I could serve as inspiration for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    While I pay attention to what’s being said about IBNMA in the blog and social mediasphere generally, I pay special attention to commentary from members of the organization.

    As to understanding the implications of the term “heretic,” I assure you I do.

    As to referring to my message as “spam,” I’m disturbed that, as an IBNMA member, you would consider messages from the president of the organization as such. Please feel free to use the unsubscribe function if you so desire.

    Regards,

    Paul

    PS: While I used to blog at Allbusiness.com, the better link for me is either http://www.conversationalmediamarketing.com or http://activerain.com/blogs/pchaney. Of course, you can also reach me via Twitter. I’m @pchaney.

  6. Robert, glad I could serve as inspiration for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    While I pay attention to what’s being said about IBNMA in the blog and social mediasphere generally, I pay special attention to commentary from members of the organization.

    As to understanding the implications of the term “heretic,” I assure you I do.

    As to referring to my message as “spam,” I’m disturbed that, as an IBNMA member, you would consider messages from the president of the organization as such. Please feel free to use the unsubscribe function if you so desire.

    Regards,

    Paul

    PS: While I used to blog at Allbusiness.com, the better link for me is either http://www.conversationalmediamarketing.com or http://activerain.com/blogs/pchaney. Of course, you can also reach me via Twitter. I’m @pchaney.

  7. @J-Dub,

    While I can agree with your assessment, and can even get behind the idea that Paul would want to have his organization self-propel… I was taking issue with the specific email in question, and the specific use of language. With all due apologies to Paul, whom I don’t know but feel sure is a great guy, I think his email crossed my desk at a time when I was feeling somewhat exasperated with all the hype about what many of us do.

    All the “change” and “break the rules” language and imagery and exhortations are just far too common in the Web 2.0 world, and in real estate world.

    If Paul had simply said: I need to lead this organization by empowering the members to create a culture, I think I might have been fine with it. It’s because he went down the road of exhorting his members with “Are you a heretic?” business that set me off.

    Again, in hindsight, it isn’t IBNMA or Paul that I have issues with. It’s the HypeMAIM — hyperbolic statements and vision-stuff that disses on the “traditional” and speak as if the only thing that matters is the new and untried and ‘heretical’. Maybe I deal with it more in my day-to-day, with seemingly every single SEO consultant wanting to “break the rules of old-school marketing” and every webbie talking about “transcending the old paradigms” and such. 🙂

    -rsh

  8. @J-Dub,

    While I can agree with your assessment, and can even get behind the idea that Paul would want to have his organization self-propel… I was taking issue with the specific email in question, and the specific use of language. With all due apologies to Paul, whom I don’t know but feel sure is a great guy, I think his email crossed my desk at a time when I was feeling somewhat exasperated with all the hype about what many of us do.

    All the “change” and “break the rules” language and imagery and exhortations are just far too common in the Web 2.0 world, and in real estate world.

    If Paul had simply said: I need to lead this organization by empowering the members to create a culture, I think I might have been fine with it. It’s because he went down the road of exhorting his members with “Are you a heretic?” business that set me off.

    Again, in hindsight, it isn’t IBNMA or Paul that I have issues with. It’s the HypeMAIM — hyperbolic statements and vision-stuff that disses on the “traditional” and speak as if the only thing that matters is the new and untried and ‘heretical’. Maybe I deal with it more in my day-to-day, with seemingly every single SEO consultant wanting to “break the rules of old-school marketing” and every webbie talking about “transcending the old paradigms” and such. 🙂

    -rsh

  9. @tcar –

    I think perhaps I need to make it clear again that I have nothing whatsoever against IBNMA. (Well, strictly speaking, I can’t say that’s true, since I simply haven’t thought about IBNMA in any serious way. Perhaps once I have thought about it, I might. But for now, I have no ill feelings towards IBNMA in the slightest.)

    That you’re on the Advisory Board makes me think better of the group.

    Again, I’m railing against the hyperbole-laden, tradition-disrespecting culture of Web 2.0 and parts of the RE.net. Seth Godin is the leader of that pack, to be frank, but by no means the worst of the bunch. Paul’s email just happened to trigger that, because it was so filled with this adoration of “heretics”.

    As a group, we all have to walk away from that, Todd. We simply cannot be taken seriously if we continue to make claims like “leaders break rules that managers follow”. It’s nonsense, number one, since one of those rules is something like, “earn a return on investment, or else”. But more importantly, it makes us Web people sound like a bunch of wild-eyed idealists with no clue about business.

    It is, if you will, a cultural and rhetorical point I seek to make here. Not a slam on IBNMA as an organization.

    -rsh

  10. @tcar –

    I think perhaps I need to make it clear again that I have nothing whatsoever against IBNMA. (Well, strictly speaking, I can’t say that’s true, since I simply haven’t thought about IBNMA in any serious way. Perhaps once I have thought about it, I might. But for now, I have no ill feelings towards IBNMA in the slightest.)

    That you’re on the Advisory Board makes me think better of the group.

    Again, I’m railing against the hyperbole-laden, tradition-disrespecting culture of Web 2.0 and parts of the RE.net. Seth Godin is the leader of that pack, to be frank, but by no means the worst of the bunch. Paul’s email just happened to trigger that, because it was so filled with this adoration of “heretics”.

    As a group, we all have to walk away from that, Todd. We simply cannot be taken seriously if we continue to make claims like “leaders break rules that managers follow”. It’s nonsense, number one, since one of those rules is something like, “earn a return on investment, or else”. But more importantly, it makes us Web people sound like a bunch of wild-eyed idealists with no clue about business.

    It is, if you will, a cultural and rhetorical point I seek to make here. Not a slam on IBNMA as an organization.

    -rsh

  11. @Paul –

    Thanks for the comment, Paul. I didn’t see this responding to JW, as the comment was held in moderation. 🙂 But glad I found it.

    Just a couple of corrections — I do not believe I am a member of IBNMA, although I attended REBlogWorld. It may be that I am on the IBNMA mailing list as a result. Or it may be that I signed up for IBNMA sometime during the conference, and have forgotten.

    But FWIW, I’m glad to be on the mailing list for now, as I don’t feel particularly spammed, and do not mean to imply you or IBNMA engage in spam marketing. 🙂

    (Also, my spam filter is especially heinous, and seems to catch just about everything (even from work colleagues) that has a URL in it.)

    Nonetheless, I repeat my points above: that as a group, we Web folks have got to come down to earth rhetorically speaking. Maybe this doesn’t apply to political bloggers or sport bloggers or whatever, but the RE.net to me is all about business. And that business is hurting right now, forcing people to take another look at what’s going on.

    Now is time for the RE bloggers, IMHO, to get real sober, and start talking facts and figures, not hyperbolic declarations without substance. Again, I know I’m imperfect in this, and guilty of hyperbole from time to time, but I try not to be. I know that realtors who are struggling with double-digit declines in revenues need to hear from the creative minds in the RE.net pragmatic solutions that lead to concrete, real results.

    It is no longer enough (if it has ever been enough) simply to claim that “social media” marketing can take customer relationships to the “next level” — whatever that means. It is now time for us to talk about percentage increases in lead generation, or conversion rates, or real cost savings as a result of one Web 2.0 strategy or another.

    -rsh

  12. @Paul –

    Thanks for the comment, Paul. I didn’t see this responding to JW, as the comment was held in moderation. 🙂 But glad I found it.

    Just a couple of corrections — I do not believe I am a member of IBNMA, although I attended REBlogWorld. It may be that I am on the IBNMA mailing list as a result. Or it may be that I signed up for IBNMA sometime during the conference, and have forgotten.

    But FWIW, I’m glad to be on the mailing list for now, as I don’t feel particularly spammed, and do not mean to imply you or IBNMA engage in spam marketing. 🙂

    (Also, my spam filter is especially heinous, and seems to catch just about everything (even from work colleagues) that has a URL in it.)

    Nonetheless, I repeat my points above: that as a group, we Web folks have got to come down to earth rhetorically speaking. Maybe this doesn’t apply to political bloggers or sport bloggers or whatever, but the RE.net to me is all about business. And that business is hurting right now, forcing people to take another look at what’s going on.

    Now is time for the RE bloggers, IMHO, to get real sober, and start talking facts and figures, not hyperbolic declarations without substance. Again, I know I’m imperfect in this, and guilty of hyperbole from time to time, but I try not to be. I know that realtors who are struggling with double-digit declines in revenues need to hear from the creative minds in the RE.net pragmatic solutions that lead to concrete, real results.

    It is no longer enough (if it has ever been enough) simply to claim that “social media” marketing can take customer relationships to the “next level” — whatever that means. It is now time for us to talk about percentage increases in lead generation, or conversion rates, or real cost savings as a result of one Web 2.0 strategy or another.

    -rsh

  13. Rob, great post but the most profitable companies in technology today are Google and Apple, not the ones you cite. These companies have maximized profits by giving employees a mission with creative and social dimensions. You may measure victory in terms of profit, but a leader still has to give people an emotional, genuine reason to fight.

  14. Rob, great post but the most profitable companies in technology today are Google and Apple, not the ones you cite. These companies have maximized profits by giving employees a mission with creative and social dimensions. You may measure victory in terms of profit, but a leader still has to give people an emotional, genuine reason to fight.

  15. Hi This is an interesting read.

    Where do I start?
    You mentioned Martin Luther
    I can mention Jimmy Morrison
    Mandela was locked up 27 years but he could have been hanged
    Ghandi and the mighty English
    Martin Luther King
    Rosa Parks the first black lady on a bus

    You said: “heretics get punished, driven out of community, isolated, and alienated”. Yes. If you consider the list above these people were on thin ice. For some the ice broke.

    But as Seth says, “You won’t get flowers on your grave when you are boring”.

    This article of yours is not boring it’s on the edge. Do you think I would have made a comment if you were boring? Or at least if your article was boring? No.

    Be careful you may become a heretic (a word that seems to scare you) if you continue to ask and probe like this?

    You may want to go and see a a voodoo man to look into your past life as you may have had a short one being a heretic. And now you are becoming one again 😉

    I choose to be not boring, I choose to make a statement, I choose to loose some and win some. I choose. If this makes a heretic them I am willing to go for it.

  16. Hi This is an interesting read.

    Where do I start?
    You mentioned Martin Luther
    I can mention Jimmy Morrison
    Mandela was locked up 27 years but he could have been hanged
    Ghandi and the mighty English
    Martin Luther King
    Rosa Parks the first black lady on a bus

    You said: “heretics get punished, driven out of community, isolated, and alienated”. Yes. If you consider the list above these people were on thin ice. For some the ice broke.

    But as Seth says, “You won’t get flowers on your grave when you are boring”.

    This article of yours is not boring it’s on the edge. Do you think I would have made a comment if you were boring? Or at least if your article was boring? No.

    Be careful you may become a heretic (a word that seems to scare you) if you continue to ask and probe like this?

    You may want to go and see a a voodoo man to look into your past life as you may have had a short one being a heretic. And now you are becoming one again 😉

    I choose to be not boring, I choose to make a statement, I choose to loose some and win some. I choose. If this makes a heretic them I am willing to go for it.

  17. @Glenn,

    Hi Glenn — thanks for the kind words. And the thoughtful disagreement — because that frankly is the soul of blog-conversations. 🙂

    I do want to differ, however, with your point re: Apple and Google. Perhaps it’s a matter of correlation vs. causation. Is Apple’s profitability the result of its leader giving “people an emotional, genuine reason to fight” or the result of its near-monopoly power achieved through category-altering innovation?

    http://finance.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chdet=1227190504261&chddm=999005&q=NASDAQ:AAPL&ntsp=0

    That’s the Apple stock chart over the past 10 years. Apple boasts a robust 14.9% net profit margin. But look at years 2000-2004. Totally flat.

    In April of 2003, this was the headline in the New York Times: Profits at Apple Computer Are Down 65% in Quarter. Apple reported a loss of $8m in Q1 of 2003, and a net profit of only $14m in Q2.

    Steve Jobs returned in 2000. iPod was introduced in 2001, but didn’t take off until iTunes was introduced for Windows machines in 2003. Note that Apple’s stock price (presumably reflective of profitability) didn’t start to really take off until end of 2004 as the public became more and more comfortable with buying music through iTunes.

    Jobs is also known as an asshole: “Much has been made of Jobs’s aggressive and demanding personality. Fortune noted that he “is considered one of Silicon Valley’s leading egomaniacs.”” (Wikipedia)

    My take on all this is that the success at Apple has little to do with Jobs inspiring people or giving them an emotional, genuine reason to fight. Or giving employees a mission with creative and social dimensions. I think it has mostly to do with their success with the iPod, with iTunes. Their 2008 10-K shows that Apple’s computer sales were $14.2B; their iPod-related sales were 14.4B.

    Jobs manages through fear; this is a well-known and well-discussed fact. He’s also a creative genius, with a real flair for marketing.

    You could make the claim, I suppose, that the reason why Apple developed the iPod is because Jobs gives his people that emotional mission, that “virtuous” approach to business. I just think it’s completely misplaced, and buys too much into the corporate marketing of Apple as a brand, rather than the reality of what it’s like to actually work there.

    -rsh

  18. @Glenn,

    Hi Glenn — thanks for the kind words. And the thoughtful disagreement — because that frankly is the soul of blog-conversations. 🙂

    I do want to differ, however, with your point re: Apple and Google. Perhaps it’s a matter of correlation vs. causation. Is Apple’s profitability the result of its leader giving “people an emotional, genuine reason to fight” or the result of its near-monopoly power achieved through category-altering innovation?

    http://finance.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chdet=1227190504261&chddm=999005&q=NASDAQ:AAPL&ntsp=0

    That’s the Apple stock chart over the past 10 years. Apple boasts a robust 14.9% net profit margin. But look at years 2000-2004. Totally flat.

    In April of 2003, this was the headline in the New York Times: Profits at Apple Computer Are Down 65% in Quarter. Apple reported a loss of $8m in Q1 of 2003, and a net profit of only $14m in Q2.

    Steve Jobs returned in 2000. iPod was introduced in 2001, but didn’t take off until iTunes was introduced for Windows machines in 2003. Note that Apple’s stock price (presumably reflective of profitability) didn’t start to really take off until end of 2004 as the public became more and more comfortable with buying music through iTunes.

    Jobs is also known as an asshole: “Much has been made of Jobs’s aggressive and demanding personality. Fortune noted that he “is considered one of Silicon Valley’s leading egomaniacs.”” (Wikipedia)

    My take on all this is that the success at Apple has little to do with Jobs inspiring people or giving them an emotional, genuine reason to fight. Or giving employees a mission with creative and social dimensions. I think it has mostly to do with their success with the iPod, with iTunes. Their 2008 10-K shows that Apple’s computer sales were $14.2B; their iPod-related sales were 14.4B.

    Jobs manages through fear; this is a well-known and well-discussed fact. He’s also a creative genius, with a real flair for marketing.

    You could make the claim, I suppose, that the reason why Apple developed the iPod is because Jobs gives his people that emotional mission, that “virtuous” approach to business. I just think it’s completely misplaced, and buys too much into the corporate marketing of Apple as a brand, rather than the reality of what it’s like to actually work there.

    -rsh

  19. @Johan –

    Thanks for the comment!

    I just want to point out that no one wants to be boring; but it’s more important in business and in life to be right than be exciting. No one who has accomplished anything sets out to be a heretic for the sake of being different; they set out to find the truth, and ended up becoming a heretic as a result. But history justified them in the end because they were right.

    Not one of the people you mentioned set out to be different for the sake of being different. They set out to accomplish what they saw as the right thing to do.

    -rsh

  20. @Johan –

    Thanks for the comment!

    I just want to point out that no one wants to be boring; but it’s more important in business and in life to be right than be exciting. No one who has accomplished anything sets out to be a heretic for the sake of being different; they set out to find the truth, and ended up becoming a heretic as a result. But history justified them in the end because they were right.

    Not one of the people you mentioned set out to be different for the sake of being different. They set out to accomplish what they saw as the right thing to do.

    -rsh

  21. Rob,

    I appreciate your points and they are well-taken believe me. My wife says I tend to have a penchant for melodrama. Heh.

    “I need to lead this organization by empowering the members to create a culture.” That is what I was attempting to say, but did so in such a way as to raise ire and disdain rather than be taken seriously.

    And, yes, you’re in the member database, so I’m considering you a member. 🙂

  22. Rob,

    I appreciate your points and they are well-taken believe me. My wife says I tend to have a penchant for melodrama. Heh.

    “I need to lead this organization by empowering the members to create a culture.” That is what I was attempting to say, but did so in such a way as to raise ire and disdain rather than be taken seriously.

    And, yes, you’re in the member database, so I’m considering you a member. 🙂

  23. Leaders don’t choose their followers. Their followers choose them.

    “Most people blog because they are advocates of a cause. Real Estate bloggers largely blog as a function of marketing.”

    There are many real estate bloggers who blog to be an advocate for the consumer. Blogging doesn’t change because the RE Net world wants it to. Blogging wasn’t invented for Real Estate. If you don’t have a cause…you’re not a blogger. If you aren’t a heretic, you don’t have a message with hearing.

  24. Leaders don’t choose their followers. Their followers choose them.

    “Most people blog because they are advocates of a cause. Real Estate bloggers largely blog as a function of marketing.”

    There are many real estate bloggers who blog to be an advocate for the consumer. Blogging doesn’t change because the RE Net world wants it to. Blogging wasn’t invented for Real Estate. If you don’t have a cause…you’re not a blogger. If you aren’t a heretic, you don’t have a message with hearing.

  25. @Paul – Glad to be considered a member. 🙂

    @Ardell – I guess I’m challenging this: “If you aren’t a heretic, you don’t have a message [worth] hearing.” Why? If my message is, “Revenue – Expenses = Profit”, does that make me a heretic?

    Sometimes, the message we all need to hear is the basic one. Sometimes we all get so caught up in the latest and the best and the coolest that we lose sight of the fundamentals. Real Estate isn’t broken because of a lack of heretics; real estate is broken because of its fundamentals. Is it heresy to point out that no company can survive for long while giving away 100% of the revenues to the sales staff in the name of “market share”?

    My point simply is that we should stop worshipping the “new” and the “cool” and the “heretical” and start worshipping the “true” and the “right”. If what is true and right happens to be heresy… so be it. But no one should set out to be a heretic for the sake of being different.

    -rsh

  26. @Paul – Glad to be considered a member. 🙂

    @Ardell – I guess I’m challenging this: “If you aren’t a heretic, you don’t have a message [worth] hearing.” Why? If my message is, “Revenue – Expenses = Profit”, does that make me a heretic?

    Sometimes, the message we all need to hear is the basic one. Sometimes we all get so caught up in the latest and the best and the coolest that we lose sight of the fundamentals. Real Estate isn’t broken because of a lack of heretics; real estate is broken because of its fundamentals. Is it heresy to point out that no company can survive for long while giving away 100% of the revenues to the sales staff in the name of “market share”?

    My point simply is that we should stop worshipping the “new” and the “cool” and the “heretical” and start worshipping the “true” and the “right”. If what is true and right happens to be heresy… so be it. But no one should set out to be a heretic for the sake of being different.

    -rsh

  27. “Real Estate isn’t broken because of a lack of heretics; real estate is broken because of its fundamentals”

    In a 100+ year old industry, when you say RE is broken because of “it’s fundamentals”…you are a heretic.

    Much of the old doesn’t work anymore, for buyers and agents more than sellers. Much of the new will never work, it’s too dependent on too many people being tech savvy, more buyers are than sellers.

    The “true and right” is a blend of the two, and so far most industry insiders are “bi-polar” with no one moving to the middle ground except the consumers, with very few professionals to meet them there.

    The seller model is not broken. The buyer model has yet to be formed successfully.

    Redfin should be the parent company of Bedfin and Sedfin. No company can represent buyers and sellers well, there has to be one for each. For sellers it doesn’t matter. Buyers will never be represented well or be comfortable with agents, until the sellers are taken out of the room and across the street.

    We knew that in 1992, but no one has had the balls to do it (on the seller side). Bedfin for Buyer Clients only; Sedfin for Seller Clients only. Redfin the parent company of both. Agents refer back and forth and each agent has to choose between being a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent.

    It will happen eventually…maybe in another 100 years.

  28. “Real Estate isn’t broken because of a lack of heretics; real estate is broken because of its fundamentals”

    In a 100+ year old industry, when you say RE is broken because of “it’s fundamentals”…you are a heretic.

    Much of the old doesn’t work anymore, for buyers and agents more than sellers. Much of the new will never work, it’s too dependent on too many people being tech savvy, more buyers are than sellers.

    The “true and right” is a blend of the two, and so far most industry insiders are “bi-polar” with no one moving to the middle ground except the consumers, with very few professionals to meet them there.

    The seller model is not broken. The buyer model has yet to be formed successfully.

    Redfin should be the parent company of Bedfin and Sedfin. No company can represent buyers and sellers well, there has to be one for each. For sellers it doesn’t matter. Buyers will never be represented well or be comfortable with agents, until the sellers are taken out of the room and across the street.

    We knew that in 1992, but no one has had the balls to do it (on the seller side). Bedfin for Buyer Clients only; Sedfin for Seller Clients only. Redfin the parent company of both. Agents refer back and forth and each agent has to choose between being a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent.

    It will happen eventually…maybe in another 100 years.

  29. I read your comment again. Advocacy and heresy has to be about upgrading something for the benefit of the buyers and sellers of real estate. I can’t find them in your comment anywhere.

    There is no advocacy…there is no blogging…if it is all about “us”.

  30. I read your comment again. Advocacy and heresy has to be about upgrading something for the benefit of the buyers and sellers of real estate. I can’t find them in your comment anywhere.

    There is no advocacy…there is no blogging…if it is all about “us”.

  31. “My point simply is that we should stop worshipping the “new” and the “cool” and the “heretical” and start worshipping the “true” and the “right”.

    Twitter and Facebook are more excellent for mortgage professionals than agents. Lots of agents in the room to sell to. Agent…no…mortgage professional and anyone who sells to agents…yes.

    “If what is true and right happens to be heresy… so be it. But no one should set out to be a heretic for the sake of being different.”

    Differeniate or Die…end of story. If you can’t be different, then you have to stand in line waiting for it to be your turn…very boring.

  32. “My point simply is that we should stop worshipping the “new” and the “cool” and the “heretical” and start worshipping the “true” and the “right”.

    Twitter and Facebook are more excellent for mortgage professionals than agents. Lots of agents in the room to sell to. Agent…no…mortgage professional and anyone who sells to agents…yes.

    “If what is true and right happens to be heresy… so be it. But no one should set out to be a heretic for the sake of being different.”

    Differeniate or Die…end of story. If you can’t be different, then you have to stand in line waiting for it to be your turn…very boring.

  33. R.O.B. — did you update this post to include a discussion of Apple and Google? I’d commented earlier that you didn’t mention Apple and Google, but now the post does? No big deal either way, just wondering if I was mistaken…

  34. R.O.B. — did you update this post to include a discussion of Apple and Google? I’d commented earlier that you didn’t mention Apple and Google, but now the post does? No big deal either way, just wondering if I was mistaken…

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