Monthly Archives: June 2012

Real Estate Needs A Roger Goodell


I just saw that picture above on Facebook today. I don’t know the man, and he could be the best real estate agent ever to walk the earth. He could be a charming, personable, ethically upright family man who should be running for President in 2016 to save the country.

But man, that billboard ad is awful on so many levels.

But this post isn’t about Mr. Chris Clarke, “The Real Estate Guy”. This post is about RE/MAX whose logo is prominently displayed on this billboard. And while RE/MAX is the company in this case, one can easily imagine that any other brand, any brokerage, and even local, state, and national Association of REALTORS(R) could face this same issue. If Chris Clarke had prominently put “REALTOR(R)” after his name in the billboard above, NAR would also be implicated in this as RE/MAX is.

Here’s the issue: Real Estate desperately needs a Roger Goodell. Maybe even several Roger Goodells at every company and organization.

For those who might not know, Roger Goodell is the current commissioner of the NFL. His big accomplishments to date have been to piss off a ton of NFL players for handing down giant fines for violent hits, for going after the New Orleans Saints for “Bountygate“, and of course, the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Under the Personal Conduct Policy, Roger Goodell has made it clear that what a NFL player or coach does off the field is within his purview. Went to a strip club and got into a fight during the off-season when you’re not working? Goodell might be suspending you for a few games. Put your hands on your woman during an argument and the cops got called? Bet your ass Roger’s gonna be on the phone with you. Cries of “You ain’t my daddy” or “I don’t work for you” or “Mind your own business” or any such protest have been met with steely resolve on the part of Roger.

He will make your off-field conduct his business, because his business, as he sees it, is to “protect the Shield” and to protect the integrity of the NLF brand.

And lest anyone in the NFL remained confused, Goodell sent out a memo in April of 2010 making his intentions and his expectations crystal clear:

The Policy makes clear that NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior. We must conduct ourselves in a way that ‘is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.’ This standard reflects the recognition that the conduct and behavior of our players and other league and team employees is critically important. Whether it involves your team or another, these incidents affect us all — every investigation, arrest, or other allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of our brand. [Emphasis added]

Might I suggest to RE/MAX higher ups that billboards like the one above undermines the respect for your brand by consumers, lessens the confidence of your business partners, and threatens the continued success of your brand? Might I suggest that you create some new position of Brand Commissioner to police these kinds of activities?

And in a larger sense, since we were just talking about the “value and relevance” of the REALTOR Association, from the NAR down to the local, might I suggest that NAR consider following the example of Roger Goodell? Frankly, Roger doesn’t see an incident by a Pittsburgh Steeler as just a Steeler matter; he considers it a negative for the entire NFL brand. RE/MAX might be the one most directly impacted by this billboard, but if you think that consumers will make a distinction between RE/MAX and every other real estate agent or REALTOR out there, you’ve got another thing coming.

Maybe NAR and the local/state Associations need to think long and hard about whether they should have a Roger Goodell or three? Maybe they need to consider whether issues like this or ethics complaints should be handled discreetly, away from the public eye, swept under the rug, and otherwise kept quiet… or be dealt with openly, so that the public can see exactly what it is that the REALTOR(R) brand does and does not stand for?

Your brand is not in the hands of your best and brightest. It’s in the hands of your worst agents. All of the positives of people like Drew Brees and Tom Brady and Dhani Jones and the hundreds of other NFL players who do the right thing, contribute to the community, and improve the NFL brand can be undone by a single Pacman Jones.

Because the work of thousands of real estate professionals, who recognize that divorce is a painful, sensitive time for a family, that might necessitate selling their house out of personal crisis… that can be undone by a single billboard suggesting that the only thing a REALTOR(R) gives a crap about is buying a larger house and collecting the commission.

Roger Goodell protects the shield. Who protects the R?


On Pinnacle: Interview W/ Stefan Swanepoel and Jeremy Conaway

Recently, I found out that the Pinnacle Group Project — something I had heard rumors about for a few months — had officially launched. What the hell is Pinnacle? From the website (the URL is “” by the way):

A two year intensive course of study for Association Leadership and Management.

This program includes:

  • Eight (8) modules.
  • Attendance by two people (AE and President or incoming President) for each module.
  • Six (6) on site sessions for elected leaders and eight (8) for appointed management (travel and accommodation will be for Associations own account but meetings are dovetailed with existing NAR meetings).
  • Sixteen (16) Coaching Call / Webinars.
  • All courseware, templates and materials.
  • Special access to a password protected Association portal.

Okay… so what exactly is this thing teaching? From the website once again:

There is an almost universal understanding that that our industry and our associations are now entering into a new era. The industry appears to have begun its recovery from six long years of difficult business conditions. While no one is suggesting a meteoric rise; there is reason to believe that over the next two years surviving brokers and agents who have made the right business decisions and who follow the right strategic course, will be successful in enhancing productivity and increasing profitability. At the same time a new generation of consumers, agents, technologies and business models are reshaping the broker and agents of tomorrow. What is evident is that that both the agent and brokerage communities, as part of their reinvention process, will be reconsidering and deciding what organizations will be seen as contributing to their future and which will be seen as expendable and unnecessary.

It is safe to say that the future of the REALTOR® association, at all levels, will depend upon the association being seen as relevant and part of the solution. The primary objective of the Pinnacle Project is to do everything possible to ensure that participating associations become even more viable and a relevant part of the solution. The core of this effort will consist of building and strengthening a number of skill sets and competencies that have been incorporated into The Pinnacle Program.

As we all work to find “our right course” there will be some whose thoughts, opinions and ideas will take them in different directions in search of a winning solution. The one absolute here is the lesson that the global business experience has taught every enterprise in America. We must increase our productivity, we must enhance our value propositions, we must do everything possible to present solutions to our member’s challenges, and most importantly, we can benefit from working together.

Basically, the Pinnacle Program represents a mix of training and consulting for REALTOR(r) Association executives and elected leaders to do strategy, tactics, and learn how to do stuff. I got into a little discussion with Stefan Swanepoel — who is one of the three principals, along with other industry veterans, Jeremy Conaway and Jim Sherry — on Facebook, and he and Jeremy graciously agreed to an email interview for YOU, the faithful (or not quite so faithful) readers of this blog. :)

The interview — interspersed with my personal thoughts — follows.

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Episode 5 of Trialogues Podcast is Up

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been having some fun with Matthew Shadbolt of Corcoran and Gahlord Dewald of Thoughtfaucet on a podcast thing of late. Episode 5 is now up:

Take a listen if you enjoy the kind of impractical, highly theoretical ramblings that we happen to like. :)


NAR the PAC: Three Questions

I’ve been having a twitter conversation (remember those?) with my good friend Mike Pennington, who is not only one of the guys behind RETSO, but is an active member of his local and state Association of REALTORS, about NAR and political power. I assume it’s because of either the Trialogues podcast in which we discussed the REALTOR Rally, or because of one of my posts on the subject.

Either way, Mike takes the view that the 3% participation rate at the REALTOR Rally is not the important thing. The important thing is that NAR is a Top PAC (Political Action Committee).

So I asked just how huge we’re talking about here. Mike graciously supplied the following:

NAR PAC in 2010 election cycle

I had seen that chart before, but hadn’t looked at it in a while, so I’m grateful to Mike for bringing it back to our attention.

I now have three questions for Mike, and for everyone else who is remotely interested in the issue of political power and the REALTOR Association.

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Information and the Firm, Real Estate: What Does Big Data Even Mean?


In part 1, we just looked at one person’s view of what Big Data means for corporations, then tried to apply it to real estate. I’ve had a couple of conversations about it with some very smart industry people since posting that, and am trying to wrap my head around the whole concept.

The first place to start, it seems to me, is to try to understand what Big Data is or means or even looks like when applied to real estate. I’m 99% certain that I’m missing a whole bunch of complexity that the more technical folks amongst the readership understand, and I hope y’all will chime in either here or elsewhere. Just let me know and I’ll link up to your posts.

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