Monthly Archives: January 2013

Concerning Technology and the Middleman, A Few Thoughts

Middleman

For a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with speaking in front of large and small audiences, I’m researching the whole notion of “agent value” as technology turns our world upside down every other day. I’ve written about how technology is just a tool back in 2009 and maybe I’m just conceited but everything I’ve written there still seems to hold true.

But in my research, I came across this op/ed by Matt Fuller at AGBeat titled, “Middlemen cut out by internet in most industry, but not real estate” in which he compares real estate brokerage to book retail/publishing and to travel agents, and concludes that real estate brokers aren’t cut out because homes are not commodities and are permanent:

Homes differ from both other consumer goods and financial instruments because they have an innately physical and fixed presence, and they exist in a context of other homes and people. Regardless of what book you place on either side of War and Peace, the book in the middle will always be War and Peace. But a home with two great neighbors is more valuable than a home with two horrible neighbors. Homes are also not a disposable consumer good. No one ever says, I’m finished with that home lets put it on the shelf and go buy the sequel. And while people might like to brag or worry about how their investment portfolio is doing, no one ever invites you to come over and enjoy the physical presence of their stocks or bonds.

I find this argument puzzling for a variety of reasons, but believe there’s something here to be investigated, which after I write this post may end up in a presentation, since I don’t know what I think until I’ve read what I’ve written.

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Market Opportunity Alert: Maxim Realty

Gratuitous? Probably.

Gratuitous? Probably.

Maxim, of course, is the lad magazine that pioneered the space between GQ, Esquire, and such “gentleman’s periodicals” and Playboy and those magazines wrapped in black plastic on the shelves. I’ve always thought of it as Cosmopolitan for men.

When people talk about “lifestyle real estate”, they usually mean far more genteel brands. From the REThinkFuture’s “Beauty & The Beast” Scenario:

At the high end, a small pool of highly competitive “super agents” emerged, delivering high value life style services.  Many worked across geographies, and some represented leading brands from Versace and Disney to celebrities. In addition, franchises became packagers of brands like Martha Stewart Living, hip-hop pioneer Jay Z, foreign groups like the Shia Mian Network (豕) and Arab developers like Nakheel.

But if you’re in the real estate business, and you’re looking for a lifestyle brand that could actually work today… consider Maxim Realty.

Why?

Take the jump, ladies and gents. (Of course, chances are, you won’t consider such a thing, but… there is something to think about here.)

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Thoughts on the Web, Circa 2013

Full_moon_over_calm_ocean

As you may have noticed, this website has a new theme. I love this theme, called Twentytwelve, despite it being the default theme for WordPress.com, which likely makes it the single most popular theme on the planet.

I will likely make a few more changes, personalize the design some more, add back the iconic header image, and the like, but… the experience of re-skinning my website triggered something else for me. I felt as if I should write it out with you all, so I can know what I’m thinking when I read it later.

Basically, changing the theme to Notorious made me realize how much the Web has changed over the past few years, and… well, I’m feeling a little bit wistful, I have to admit.

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Seven Predictions for 2013: The AKUS Experience

 

The Greatest Band in American Music

Once again, it is time for the world famous (in my own mind at least) annual tradition of making predictions for the coming year that are Guaranteed to be Wrong, or Your Money Back! This year, I thought I would pay tribute to the greatest musical act still working today: Alison Krauss and Union Station. If you haven’t experienced AKUS, please click on the embedded videos; you will become a fan. If you are not a fan, you should be. “But I hate country music” is no excuse when it comes to the awesomeness that is the Hall of Fame lineup of Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Ron Block, and Dan Bales.

My 2012 Predictions turned out to be mostly wrong, which is great news, since many of them were dire indeed. Here’s to hoping that my 2013 predictions will perform about the same.

Let’s get into it.

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