Monthly Archives: August 2012

Rethinking the REThink Future Program, Part 2: The Ostrich Scenario

Image may be copyright: Georgia Tech and/or Angela Valenti

In part 1, I began to tackle the REThink Future program that is currently underway. I have posted Nicole-Anne Boyer’s gracious response to that post here. And now, we dive into the Scenarios themselves… because… well, because it’s fun for me.

Let me reiterate my agreement with the idea that if the purpose of these scenarios is simply to stimulate thought, then no critique of them is valid. It wouldn’t matter if the scenario began with “A dimensional portal opens up in the sky through which the Norse god Loki leads a horde of alien invaders into Manhattan – what is the effect on the midtown condo market?”

Nonetheless, I think there are solid ways to improve the REThink Future program by thinking about the Scenarios once again. So we will delve into each one in turn to examine how such a thing might be done to make each scenario more plausible, more impactful, and ultimately, more useful to the attendees and to NAR.

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A Response to My Rethinking REThinkFuture Post

I haven’t forgotten about the massive series on REThink Future I’m working on. Hell, at this rate, I should look for a publisher as it’s trending north of 15K words in multiple parts. In any event, Nicole-Anne Boyer, the Managing Director of Adaptive Edge — the company working with NAR on REThink Future — was kind enough to respond to various points in my first post about REThink. With her permission, I reproduce the relevant parts after the jump.

I really appreciate Nicole-Anne taking the time to continue the dialogue, because this is an important discussion for the industry to have. Continue reading

How Do You Like Me Now? On and IDX


Photograph: Amy Hahn (no relation to your truly)

Yes, I know, I know. Nobody likes a “I told you so”. It’s obnoxious and childish. But… I just can’t resist! So forgive your humble scribe as I do a victory lap around the Tree of Nostradamus.

About what, you ask?

Well, it appears that is relaunching as a lead generation website using a very particular model of data harvesting that has various folks up in arms. To take as one example, Brian Boero over at 1000watt:

So, you have what I’m calling a “paper brokerage” leveraging IDX to grow their “lead-to-close marketing system.”

It gets richer:

Unlike Zillow, Trulia and, which have spent gazillions negotiating for voluntary access to listings from MLSs and brokers, Market Leader, by virtue of its brokerage licenses, simply grabs the IDX feed.

I’m surprised that Brian is surprised. This was so obvious that I’ve made it one of my Seven Predictions for 2012. And the implications of this is also obvious: End of IDX As We Know It.

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Rethinking the REThinkFuture Program: Part 1

At Inman Connect this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in REThink Future, an initiative of NAR that attempts to open up the strategic planning process to the membership and to some non-members (like me). Given that I do strategic planning for a living, and given that I have a few thoughts about the challenges facing the real estate industry, I went into the exercise excited.

And came out with, you guessed it, a few thoughts on how to change the process. I’m a Change Agent, baby! (The previous sentence should be read in a wry self-mocking tone, with a forehead smack and a slight shaking of the head.)

What NAR is trying to do is admirable: getting the rank and file membership, as well as local leadership, truly engaged in the NAR Strategic Plan (a copy of which may be found here). Traditionally, said Strategic Plan was crafted by the NAR Strategic Planning Committee (members can be found here) and handed down from on high to “members” who never read it, never engaged with it, and frankly couldn’t care less.

And this isn’t unusual for any large organization. Ford doesn’t necessarily include large number of its factory workers in its Strategic Planning either. What is unusual is for that organization to then actively seek out opinions and views from the rank and file and from outsiders. What is unusual is for that organization to invest significant time and money (NAR hired CEHolmes Consulting [CORRECTION: The company retained by NAR is Adaptive Edge, not CEHolmes Consulting. Notorious regrets the error. This post has been updated/edited.] a professional discussion facilitation company, to lead REThink Future) to do this, with an eye towards modifying their existing plan.

So first, NAR should be applauded for the effort, and encouraged to continue even with changes.

It is, however, speaking truth to a friend to let him know that his current path will not get him where he wants to go. Since I stay in this quirky little industry because I genuinely love so many of the people in it, I shall indulge myself — it’s my blog, after all — in offering up some free advice. Which is likely worth exactly what NAR paid for it.

You are free to skip this entire series if you don’t much care about NAR, Associations, and the like.

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Requiem for the Inman San Francisco, 2012

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Years hence, we will look back on the summer of 2012 as the time when we in the real estate industry turned a page. That page has been turning for a while, but Inman Connect San Francisco this year will be seen as when it finally happened.

This post is not, and it cannot be, a review of Inman. Because I didn’t attend any of the sessions, as I haven’t for years. It is, however, a review of the moods and trends and conversations and happenings and non-happenings. And it is a prediction — sure to be wrong, or your money back! — of where we go from here.

And it is a requiem for the, that inchoate, ill-defined group of people that has been so influential over the past few years. Requiescat in pace.

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