The “for sale” sign gets its first major makeover in nearly 50 years

Ainsley Harris:

At the base of the ring, there is now a QR code, which will prompt passersby to download the Compass app.

The meeting begins as Aruliden presents options for animating the LEDs. Should the sign turn on automatically at night? If so, how bright? During the day, what should happen when a person approaches and passes with a 10-foot radius? Six feet? Three feet?

One attendee raises the question of riders, the printed add-ons that agents often use to augment their standard signs. Liden, Aruliden’s CCO, would like to convince agents to embrace the sign’s minimalism. “Could the rider information live more in the phone?” he asks.

The Compass team is hesitant. “We need to test with agents.” Many agents, they believe, will be resistant.

IPS takes the stage, and immediately the idea of using sensors to trigger light animations becomes more complicated. The current plan calls for two sensors, but that will create “blind spots.” Adding a third sensor will affect battery life. “It’s the one thing we can’t turn off,” says one IPS engineer.

How dirty is Miami real estate? Secret home deals dried up when feds started watching

Nicholas Nehemas and Rene Rodriguez:

When a company called the Flower of Scotland paid $1.13 million — in cash — for a three-bedroom condo in Sunny Isles Beach last year, it had to do something unusual: tell the federal government who its real owner was.
 In years past, the Delaware-based shell company could have put down the money and walked away with a new condo — and a boat slip near Dumfoundling Bay — no questions asked. But that secrecy was stripped away in early 2016 when the U.S. Treasury Department imposed a temporary transparency rule on Miami-Dade County and Manhattan, two of the nation’s most attractive real estate markets to dark money.
 The simple disclosure requirement offered the opportunity for an enticing experiment: If regulators asked anonymous cash buyers like the Flower of Scotland to reveal their true owners, what would happen?

Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon

Susan Berfield and Matthew Boyl:

In Best Buy’s perfect world, all 380 of its new “in-home advisors” would park their clean, white Priuses in front of a customer’s house rather than in the driveway, where the car could block others. They would quickly appraise the neighborhood, survey the landscaping, and see if a security system is in place. After knocking gently on the front door, they would step back and stand to the right, smiling, head down slightly, arms uncrossed, name tag visible on their blue, wrinkle-free Best Buy polo shirts. They would shake hands firmly, avoiding the dead fish or the lobster claw.
 Once inside, they would offer to remove their shoes. They wouldn’t lean on the walls or place their Best Buy tablets on the furniture. If they noticed a cat, they would know better than to say they own a dog, and they definitely wouldn’t talk politics. The advisors would make customers comfortable by mimicking their conversational style and pace: If a customer talked with her hands, advisors would, too. They would have a tape measure with a laser, and they wouldn’t tease the cat with it. They wouldn’t knock on walls to determine where a stud was—they would use their stud finders—and they would never put the tool on their chest and say “beep.” That wouldn’t be amusing. “If you’re using that for rapport, start again,” says Bryan Bucknell, a self-proclaimed “longtime sales dude” at Best Buy Co. who’s training recruits for the program. He’s with his aspiring advisors—27 men and 9 women, uniformly enthusiastic in their blue shirts—in a windowless conference room at Best Buy’s headquarters outside Minneapolis, where they’ve come for the final session of a five-week initiation in late May.

The endless search for a single real estate platform….. Gary Keller and Brad Inman July 18, 2018 Transcript

Round and round we go.

I remember demonstrating our single entry platform, from leads to closings to Gary and his colleagues years ago. Today, our best in class agent and public apps and cloud system run client services from leads to closings and beyond. No “API integration” required…. Contact Jim for a quick look at 608 468 6013 or

Andrea V. Brambila:

Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller visited the Inman Connect San Francisco stage this morning to discuss with Inman founder and publisher Brad Inman how the real estate franchisor is pivoting to turn itself into a technology company.

But the tone of the conversation — intense, conflict-ridden, sometimes awkward, sometimes funny — is what really stole the show.

Keller began by describing the progression of technology over time and listing a slew of real estate tech companies that he labeled “agent-enabled tech,” including Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Opendoor and Offerpad.

“Pretty much all the people that Inman News worships,” Keller said, prompting laughter from a packed ballroom of attendees.

“I love Brad,” Keller threw in.

“They’re really smart people,” Inman responded.

A few notable excepts:

  1. “If you don’t own your tech you will lose. Nobody can come between you and your customer.”

  2. “Our phone is the remote control of our life”, thus the KW kelle app. Compare kelle with our best in class agent and public apps.
  3. “I think the industry has changed and that is is that today. You can you can say the before technology and then after technology era prior to technology becoming an absolute [00:31:00] imperative for our industry”
  4. “I talked to a consultant yesterday and this whole business is to work with broker owners on integration”. [Some brokers, franchises and MLS’s offer clients and agents a pile, of 19 disparate systems.]
  5. “Why did Zillow want our data that they can’t use and they have to be audited twice a year to not use it is because they want to make their AVM better”.

Provide a superior experience without the privacy hassle: our auto-fill app and cloud documents.

Transcript (18MB mp3):

Ready to learn how to Pivot Like A Champion, please welcome Keller Williams founder Gary Keller to the stage.
We (going) remember sitting. All right. Are you want to be near here? Gary brought his flip chart. I did . It’s special. So ask our wonderful audience one word to describe Gary Keller and then uh time for you tonight to check by the way. Be sure my wife is getting in on that. Yeah. Well, you got plenty of fans here.

Um, thank you very much for doing this. You’re more than welcome the enthusiasm by our audience some love you some aren’t so sure and someone don’t if you don’t know you but uh, I feel I feel the same way. Yeah, let’s start with that [00:01:00] actually and then you’re going to kind of share your vision like Colea (sp?) did.

Yeah, and I think it’s going to be really interesting to the crowd. But who is Gary Keller? Just just give us a little no. Okay, uh, by the way, you’re a leader in Innovative in a Visionary according to unintelligible. Wow, how do you I don’t I don’t want to waste time talkin about that. What do you want to know about me?

But what’s one thing is it true? You’re going to put realtor on your gravestone. Yes. Wow, that’s pretty that’s well. Someone asked me something once mean professionally, right what I wanted to my legacy and I said, I want to die being a realtor. I want it to say on my headstone. I was a realtor. I have a degree in real estate right got out of college in the late 70s was one of the first people to have a degree on it was a broker at 21.

And um, I’ve never gotten out right new live and believe you love real estate, right? Yeah. Sold 6000 in my first month in a city. I’d only been in Once by the time I was 26, I was a vice president large real estate company in my market. I love this business. Yeah, the great business and what let’s [00:02:00] let’s now jump into layout.

I think my question to you in this one is layout where you think it’s going because we got to like competing theories on the future. That we’re gonna really Bear Down on the next couple days. And I think yours is important and we got you a couple magic markers. We got an eraser awesome and we got a film crew that’s going to zoom in on it so that they do this so you can see it and we’re gonna put a clock on you gang of 10 minutes, um, 15 10 10, okay, but you’re going to talk for 45.

It’s just 10 on this part. Yes, so you ask so the question you asked me was where’s the industry go? Yeah, exactly. So I thought about that and I kind of want to diagram it and then we can talk through that do it. So if you think about any business out there, right there’s there’s there’s three paths that can go it can go this way.

It can go this way and it can go that way right. So there’s three phases to [00:03:00] building a business in any industry. Um, there’s this phase there’s this phase and then there’s. One of those three knows that an individual business or the industry. This is this is a business in sign of an industry. Okay, gotcha.

So what happens is you have this period of what I would say, uh, trial and error. Yeah. So businesses start business go out of business go in the business, they try on all kind of things and at some point, um, the the people that have made it get to this point and then at that moment in history and it shows up for every business.

Uh, this is where the Innovation the real Innovation occurs. Where is where is a compass and exp? Are they in that first big circle?

Well, I don’t mean to throw you didn’t At All by the way, no one’s in the circle yet. No one’s in this had to think about that first. I’m not in this circle damn, but you can be in the syrup. Okay, um put bread. You’re in the uh know by the way, I know I I believe that every firm whether [00:04:00] they’ve been in business for a year five years.

Ten years 100 years. I think all of us are right there gotcha. So when I talk about and I’ve made the statement that in February I got on stage and said that uh in the next year, you won’t recognize the real estate industry. I wasn’t kidding and what’s interesting is the amount of change that we’re all feeling is real and palpable.

Yeah, and it’s. That that’s going to accelerate right there. So let me explain what I mean by the saying this stuff. We’re just in the first inning. It’s coming. Nothing’s happened. Yeah. Yeah Gaucho. Okay, go ahead. Nothing’s happened. I’m serious about that nothing’s happened, but it’s fixing to happen.

Yeah. Okay, let’s fix and happen. So let’s think let’s ask what causes that? Okay. So what causes that is, um, uh, we started out with in the world with hardware Hardware wasn’t. And at some point, um, you had software to run the hardware right? One of the most interesting decisions in the world.

Is that [00:05:00] IBM who created the hardware decided not to own the software and they gave they gave one of the greatest deals of all time to Bill Gates and Paul Allen to own the software, right? Yep. So then all sudden at some point you’re using your Hardware your phone and you’re using software and you get this, um, um offer to buy a data plan.

Because you were out of space right so someone came up with the idea of how about if and they call it the cloud how about if we just string computers together and we put all your data there so you can access it from any any technology. Okay. Well, here’s the interesting thing about that. That’s a commodity.

For about $1,000 or less I can buy a piece of Hardware. I can buy a piece of software or multiple softwares and I could buy data service and I’m in business, right? Yes. Okay, that’s a commodity what’s changing the world today? And it’s called the fourth Industrial [00:06:00] Revolution
and that is um when you put teacher or Professor up in there when we’re description. Is data powered by artificial intelligence. That’s it. So everything that we have anything has been invented by any of us, uh prior prior to what’s coming has all been the industries all been about this the latest gadget the latest idea the latest thing cool.

That’s great. That’s what that is. By the way but this right here big data that is that is being powered by artificial intelligence that. And by the way, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in doesn’t matter. If you’re in real estate this applies to all industries, by the way, the medical profession the legal profession the architecture profession any profession you want to name is at this moment.

And the reason is because you know, you have two worlds that we live in the first one is the [00:07:00] physical world and the second one is the digital world. And what happens is everybody who’s physically based all their businesses they wake up in the Fatal question. They say is what’s the least I have to do in the digital world to protect.

What I currently have physically. Challenge is that the people who are in the digital space wake up every morning they say what’s the least I have to do physically to kick your physical. But yeah, right. Okay. So this is the battle the battle is over big data. Okay powered by artificial intelligence.
So let’s look at the real estate industry and you should sign that Gary because some people will pay me. Yeah, whatever what a capitalist. Okay. So let’s look at the real estate industry real quick and why we feel this change going on Brad, um industry starts out as real estate agent at some point.
We have uh, the tech, uh enabled real estate agent. Okay MLS being a good example of that technology enabling the real estate. [00:08:00] That make sense. Where does the MLS come in? I’m confused. It’s the it’s the technology that enables agents to do their job MLS is an example of where technology showed up to enable the agent and then the next thing is all of a sudden we have this thing and it’s called the agent enabled Tech got it that well.

Okay, and then by the way, the fourth would be the prediction that someday you just have. Well, the interesting thing is that will never happen and that ship has sailed right so you can literally take our industry and put it in a box like this and say you’re going to be one or two people you’re either going to be an agent who is enabled by Tech or you’re going to be the agent that is enabling the tech right now.

Here’s the center now, let’s talk about let me just bring it down a little bit tell me exactly what that mean difference. Well the agent is the fiduciary here. Right the and the tech is video there. [00:09:00] This is the battle over who’s going to be the fiduciary. So that might be who’s the rock star in the experience that might be smart contracts some of the all the tech taking care of that stuff will get to be the fiduciary.

We’ll get there in just a second. That’s right. So so let’s Now list these so out of time. That’s what I’m worried about. No, you’re not. No, no, we’re not. I love this guy. If you saw her email banners, she would just know we’re not because when you invited me, you said I could do it. I want it. No, you’re doing a good job. Good to say I love that you did. I have the email. Okay, you’re losing post it.

Yeah. I love you. You’re awesome. All right. So by the way started that whole mess. Okay, and then we have Zillow you have Trillium, uh, we can throw Redfin into that. Uh, we can throw purple bricks into that. We can throw Open Door into [00:10:00] that we can through offer pad into that pretty much all the people that inman news worships.

I don’t know. I love Brad and I mean he knows I love him but we’re was a really smart people girl. Well, okay and they’re not. Okay. No never but um, you’re losing so hear me on this. Okay, hang on you’re saying all of these players in the right have agents. Well their agent enabling Tech they’re all driven driven companies.

Correct. I will tell you that every one of these companies have agents because they have to not because they want to got you. These are not agents Centric businesses if they could do it without if Glenn Kelmann could run Redfin agents he would do it in a heartbeat if he tells you otherwise he’s lying.

Okay. Well, he’ll be here in an hour to dip. I’ll be happy to stay but I’m just telling you that that he’s in that category. Okay, absolutely. Yeah, [00:11:00] love and he loves that category he liked but that’s who he is. Okay you with me. So what’s the reason why you and I get off to Rocky starts at times?

Yeah, that’s is because well because I’m over here. I’m over. I’m I’m over here. Yeah. I’m I’m I work for the real estate agent. I have my whole life. I’ll go to my grave on my gravestone saying that. Yep. Yeah, so well, I’m not going to get their two cents. So let’s yeah, right. So if you look over here when when Inman and I love what you do, by the way, I wouldn’t have come here if if I didn’t appreciate you I really wouldn’t have I did you said kiss my ass.

I’m not coming. Yeah, and I didn’t say that. Yeah. No, you didn’t know I did but but a while to persuade you, well it did because people that work with me are more important than people that don’t. Yeah, I mean I yeah I get I get paid to help certain people and we’re grateful you’re here and I’m here okay on with me so I can check.

Okay, hang [00:12:00] on hang on hang on. So here’s where here’s where the challenge comes in and that is when I’m not picking on you by the way, but but when because I read pretty much everything that’s written through your news service. So I want to respect that the reason why you and I get cross lines at times is because um you represent these guys is the disruptors over here. The articles are already three ways to have a better open house for what these are going to kick your ass and change the world five ways to list his bows. Right this this go back and check and you’ll see it but this is all this absolutely treats these individuals as if they’re not disruptive.

As if they they work for this group. Now, here’s the here’s another interesting fact about this group. Let’s put let’s put every one of these groups. Uh, I can put the aggregators over here and they want to reduce the agents in come by at least 30% or more. [00:13:00] Right? So if you want to do what reduce their income, so the real estate agent if they do business with these guys is going to opt they’re going to operate at about a two percent approximately.

Uh commission, but if they if they were charging home if they deliver volume of transactions, well, be careful for the difference. You need to be careful with that because you’re talkin to the guy who wrote the book on it. Yeah, but you got you got 1,000 agents. No, no. No, I’m gonna give you I’m gonna give you a number here 10% if you’re spending more than 10% of your gross income for leads.

Yeah, I wrote a book and I right. Yeah, okay. There isn’t anyone that understands the in the audience think Gary book applies as much today as it did when he wrote it say yes, and how many how many think it does in apply quite as much as he did when he wrote it. Just see what here’s the interesting thing about that.

So I so we said that’s for dr. slido. Okay, so we sat down a year ago to [00:14:00] write the MREA updated version. Right? Right. Here’s what we found out everything that’s in that book is 100% accurate today except for the actual numbers. Well, we want to ask the audience if they agree with you. Well the doctor slide are you on this how many think Gary’s book is as relevant today.

As it was when he wrote it and how many think it is one caveat. You have to put your income down by your answer. Okay, well because because because I will tell you that anybody that anybody who was say that it’s not relevant today or your least earning people. I audience has a higher income than your community Gary because they paid a lot to come here.

But anyway, okay. Okay. So here’s my point to you. My point is is that. I am absolutely the leading experts are gonna be friends when this is all over of course. I like their shoes. Hey, dr. Slide. Oh how we doing? Okay time out. Now you’re taking my time by I know some guys stop conversation.
Okay. So here’s the thing. [00:15:00] That’s the cost for lead. If you’re spending more than that. You better have good justification. You with me? Yep. That’s just what the research says and I spend all my time. This is what I do, by the way now you get into this group. These guys want that commission to be one to two percent as well.

Correct. Redfin Redfin. Okay. Yeah purple bricks wants it to be maybe 1% to 1 and 1/2 percent max Open Door will pay you 1 percent offer pad will pay you 1 percent. This is why you feel this is why you feel the way you feel about change is because all of that group wants Tech to be the rock star and once the agent to be the functionary. Let me just ask you one question Gary and it doesn’t have to be like that you spread this thing, which I think the industry has been good at which is fear, which is they wake up every morning maliciously trying to go after the real estate industry. [00:16:00] Well, and I don’t you you meet with it’s a cut deals with Zillow you’ve cut deals with

I know for a fact you met with the disruptors you’ll cut a deal with anyone on their behalf. So. If they weren’t when I would have them into your office, right? I mean you have a deal with Zillow, correct? I presume you do I don’t think I do you have no deal with Zillow. What’s my deal to protect the listings from having?

No, they bought that agreement with dauntless. I didn’t sign a deal with you have no deal Zillow know why we don’t do business with any of these people. Why would I do business? What do I do with Zillow don’t have listings. I’ve heard through the grapevine. Obviously, we don’t publish it because no I have a I have an agreement with DOT Loop, but they can’t use our data right Zillow’s come back to us and they’re now asking.

That we give them their data. I just recently asked for that. And what was my answer your agents are sitting across the table from Redfin. They’re sitting there. They’re spending money on Zillow. These are smart people that are investing in things. They’re not that stupid. Are they Gary? You got to sit down.

I’m gonna get [00:17:00] come on just sit. I’m gonna do one more thing. Okay really quick. This is Barry Diller did this to me Barbara Corcoran? No, no. No, there are people that can take the stage. Away from Brad Inman. I’m not trying to do that. I’m very relaxed and come so so so the last thing I’ll say then is this and that is so that’s the challenge.

Yeah. So the real estate agent gets to vote with their feet. So by the way this group if this group doesn’t own its Tech it’s going to succumb to that group. Gotcha. That’s my point. Yeah, I gotcha. Yeah, if you put someone between you and the customer and you let technology get between you and the customer here’s an interesting number for you 1 billion dollars.

That’s the amount of money that we surveyed and we estimate that our own real estate agents spend on technology outside of Keller Williams a billion dollars Brad, but I don’t get paid a fraction of that but historically the industry’s paid 12 to 15 billion dollars for advertising whether they gave it to the Chicago Tribune or they gave it to Billboards, so they gave it [00:18:00] to.

To buy signs or where they gave it to Zillow that money so billion, I mean there’s spending they always spent billions marketing haven’t they in you always spend money in marketing? This is not marketing dollars. Yeah. These are operational dollars. I didn’t say I’ve said give give do it again. So I’m on software.

Oh and software. They’re spending 1 billion dollars in the reason why the software vendors don’t like me today is right. I’m literally taking that spin to zero. Yeah, my goal is to reclaim a billion dollars, but aren’t you gonna sell technology to your agent? Isn’t that part of your business model?
That’s 300 bucks a year what but that’s three hundred dollars a year times 150 thousand compared to sink that we charge the same amount to an agent anywhere from 18 to 100. I’ve got agents in the audience has been three hundred thousand dollars a year on technology alone. Yeah, by the way in about three months, they’ll be spending that much. $300.00

Bring her back come to down with me. So last thing here’s the issue. Can we talk about last thing you’re getting an education? That’s good for you.

[00:19:00] Well, here’s the thing is is when when I stood up and said that we were becoming a technology company man. I took a beating from from everybody thought that dumbass. Yeah. Well you said it and no one knew exactly what you were. I didn’t want him to know. Yeah, but it was quite a declaration. I’m spending a billion dollars in technology.

You would automatically okay. If I let someone build my technology for me. What do I say it again? Finally someone let me ask you a question. Does Amazon own their software or do they buy it from Fidelity? Uh, they own and I does Amazon on their software. Do they buy it from pick a cut on you tell me.

No, you know the answer. Well as soon as Amazon owns their software Facebook owns their software. Yes. Yeah Netflix owns their software right now. Okay. So, why would we tell the real estate agent? Don’t own your software or don’t let your company or in [00:20:00] partnership with why would we be tell them not to own it?

That’s a dumbass statement man. That is that is that you’re literally heading them to the slaughter. Not you because you don’t say that. But I’m saying anyone who says that is literally leading the real estate agent by the nose. Now, would you sit down with me? Is it gentlemen? I know you did but I haven’t finished.

Come on Gary sit down with me. No, no, no one more thing. So here’s what changes the world. So there’s a difference between software and platforms. Our industry doesn’t really understand this. Okay, and that is if you want to build an innovation engine Brad in order to. To build a platform that you can innovate on top of the technology.

The first thing is you have to build a cloud service. Now. This isn’t a cloud service like I was talkin about this is an industry-specific cloud service. How long does it take to build an industry-specific cloud service about two to three years? That’s what it as what Google tells me. That’s about how long it took us to do it, but two three years.

Okay, [00:21:00] second thing by the way, you have to have in order to make it significant. You have to have the data. So tomorrow morning. If he expense that they were going to build a cloud service you’d say. Well that’s good. But where’s the data? You don’t have any data? Okay, but if they had the data and they were gonna build a clown service it would take him three years if Compass today said we don’t have a cloud service, but we’re going to do it and they don’t have one by the way, but if they said they were going to do it.

It’s going to take them to three years. You with me? Okay, here’s the problem with that the problem with that two to three-year timeframe is it’s happening right now. If you don’t already have it, you’re in second place. Okay. Now here’s the other thing and that is you have to have artificial intelligence.
Why so here’s a good example. So let’s just think about this for a second. Let’s say that you have an agent software. And you have a real estate company software. So in the Real Estate Company software, we have all the data on production of everybody in the business, right? [00:22:00] So then we have the agent.

So tomorrow morning the agent goes out and they take they take a listing but because all the data on days on market price to sell ratios all of that all that’s down here the second the takes the listinug, artificial intelligence sends a ping to them and says for a home in that price range and this neighborhood you should you should use Smart Plan number 12 with these attributes.

Would you like us to execute it if the agent clicks? Yes, the whole plan is initiated in an instant over 12 week period. Okay, let’s throw out some questions to the audience. Can we use doctor? Uh. Slido that was his way of getting control. Yeah, it was great. No, I learned a lot. Yeah, dr. Slide.
Oh, uh, whatever we need to do for you all to submit questions and then we’ll get some of those questions up. I think they’ll pop up right here and we can answer what so here’s the challenge. I’m just I’m trying to educate you. Yeah. No I All-American. Well, the point is is that everything that we’re dealing with [00:23:00] today around software is bolt on technology.

I read the latest article you just wrote. Uh, you probably just heard and it said here’s the three rules for technology. Yeah, what did we say? Well, number one. You said it needs to talk to each other. Yeah, right. You have that good thing how you gonna if you don’t have that it’s not going to talk to each other.

So when I read that article, I went Jeepers you should have taken a poll by dr. Slidell or whatever and ask them how much whatever. The how much of their technology is going to actually talk to each other. It doesn’t talk we have I talked to a consultant yesterday and this whole business is to work with broker owners on integration.

No, no not just know there’s call me integration. But if you do that exactly integrate, I’m agreeing with you slow down and the fact that we even need an industry to help integration shows that we have a problem. So what do we asking? Uh any questions from the audience? Oh, here we go. What? Well you own here’s a KW agent.

Well, you all my data as a KW agent, in [00:24:00] other words. We we own his data. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah well on them with them with them sure so they’re this whole confusion about data on a ship and it with him. Well, someone’s got to own it. Yeah, in other words, whoever owns that cloud service and that artificial intelligence is going to own that data.

Now, here’s a question. I have view for that person. Someone’s going to own. Would you rather the uh a real estate company that has a history of being the most agents centric on the planet? Right? Here’s another number for you billion dollars in profit sharing paid out now on anyone in this room who’s paid out a billion dollars to their people in a profit share program.

They’re doing that by the way, that’s core to your program, right? Yeah. Yeah and it still is that still driving your growth the same as it has I wouldn’t think. Now what is driving now Community Technology technology. They’re coming to you for technology. Yeah, here’s another number for you six billion dollars and that’s the amount of productive volume that joined Keller Williams in the first 90 days of 2018. Let me ask you this.

Do you feel like this has been going for 22 years. We’ve [00:25:00] been talkin about robots for 5 years or 10 years. We’ve been talkin about all the things you have up on that board. Why is it. It were you a little late to the game too. Uh, I’m not know there’s a difference between late in too late. Timely.

You were timing. Well, I actually I think we showed no I actually think we’re the only one on time. Yeah, and I think you’re gonna see that in the next couple of months. Now, you told me backstage you’re launching something later this year. Tell the crowd with that. Well, we don’t want things.

Okay. So again, I’m going to go back. I’m gonna get I’m gonna get back to this point right here. The challenge that you have is if you haven’t already built an innovation platform. Yeah your two to three years late and the battle is going to be over the consumer. Yeah. So once one last thing just think about this, so if we think about the consumer and we think about by the way, if you want to be if you want to be Netflix number one, you have to own your software number two, you have to build an end to end consumer experience, right?

That’s personalized as you use it, right if you go to your [00:26:00] Netflix account. Mine does not look like yours. If I go to my Amazon page, it doesn’t mine doesn’t look like yours, right? Okay, so that’s interesting to point that out because if you think about the consumer experience as voyeurism to search to consideration to close to ownership and we put those in buckets you realize that uh, voyeurism in search is the only thing that actually is out there today for the consumer.

I would agree with that. Yeah, we don’t have online transaction yet though. We will by the end of the year. And oh, by the way, we don’t have ownership which will have that so imagine an app just as an example. Just imagine an app for the consumer that in real time the second they use it it begins using artificial intelligence to just like Netflix or anything else to personalize the experience in real time.

Yeah, imagine that it says, um, uh after you at a closing table you say, um, uh Brad now that we’ve now that you’ve bought about a home, um, Uh, would you like to refinance if you can save [00:27:00] money? Yes. Okay, so I’m just going to click. Yes and you have to do anything. Uh, by the way, if rates change and you can save money you’re going to get an alert and it’s going to say would you like to refinance now because we own a mortgage company and we don’t charge you origination fees or closing costs.

The mortgage industry hates me, too bad. Okay, we don’t charge any of that. We don’t charge any we don’t charge you any of that free just click it and we’ll refinance your home. That’s what’s coming at what point and by the way, that’s the battle. You go. The battle is not over search yeah, that’s going to be a commodity here.

We got a question. At what point do you care about the consumer experience versus the agent experience? Well, leave that to the 8th I care about the agent I care about the agents consumer experience. And do you feel like your Technologies enabling? The agent to create a better consumer experience or do you actually yeah, that’s the whole point.

Are you ever gonna go direct to the well, here’s the thing about it. No, I want to do that. Okay. No, I don’t. I don’t have buyer’s or seller’s no think if you think about it this way [00:28:00] thing about this way the consumers the agents, but if the whole world is moving towards the phone being the remote control of their life.

Right, then the agent’s going to have to have that tool if the agent doesn’t have that tool to offer the end consumer experience. How how are they going to service? You are obsessed by the agent getting the tools to serve the consumer. That’s that’s really your vision. Well, let me ask you a question.
How long after you wake up in the morning. Do you go to your phone? Um really quick? Unfortunately. I wish I did know we all do yeah, we all do so, it’s the remote control. Isn’t it? Let me ask you a question, but. Yes, that’s where we are. Um, we are does EXP scare you does anyone scare you no. Yeah. No because no they don’t that was the wrong way to raise the question.

No think no think about this the when I started Keller Williams, I built an innovation engine. So here’s a good example you bring a great example, [00:29:00] by the way, Glenn speak. So highly of you he thinks you’re a genius love it great good for him. I appreciate it and that, I don’t care, right? Um, so think about so think about it this way when we created The Profit share program.

This is where everyone missed we created a Leadership Council. We assign the decision-making of the firm to that Council. So we profit share today. If our agents want to change that to something else they can write they can vote and change it. Here’s an interesting tidbit of information. So they forget on a regular we first started sharing money.

We didn’t profit. We actually shared the money off the top you sell a house. We wrote a check that has problems that attic that formula, 3 years into doing that it started showing real problems. And so we ultimately voted and changed it to profit sharing. So you’re saying that’s what eXP does now and that’s going to they’re going to run into problems what I’m saying, is there same with.

Same [00:30:00] with all the other copycats that at the end of the day, they’re going to they think they’ve reinvented something that’s broken. But here’s the interesting thing remember, that’s flattery when people copy it. Listen. I have no problem with that and when people disagree with me, it just means that I’m ahead.

Yeah, I don’t worry about that. Honestly. I don’t worry about that. What about that agent count at eXP, that’s got you guys have been sitting there wringing your hands a little bit. Why are we talkin about them? Well, they’re just part of the scene and we got a question from the audience. Not really.
Well, not really. I mean at the at the at the end of the No No it no. We’re Captain’s of our own. Let’s move on. Let me ask you this leadership. You are generally you are known as a leader in the industry. How has think about in your 30 years has the role of the leader changed like is house leadership change from say 30 exactly.

I think the industry has changed and that is is that today. You can you can say the before technology and then after technology era prior to technology becoming an absolute [00:31:00] imperative for our industry training, coaching consulting .That was the that was the value proposition that we provided real estate agents.

And that’s how you make your money. Right? Well, we became the number one training company the world we built the number one coaching company inside the real estate industry, dude, we right. Okay, we did that. Here’s the problem is is that that used to be 100% of the conversation and we woke up about three years ago and went we’re not going to stop doing that.

That’s no longer. What will protect our people. Technology and only that technology and putting technology that works in their hands is the only thing that we’re focused on doesn’t but that doesn’t mean the agents still need it but you’ll be giving it to them in a different way. Like I presume your training is going more and using technology and not one-on-one.

Correct? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right go back. Let me go back to Clea’ s Theory. She said. She compared to Wall Street, and she said the digital transaction for part of the deals, but one comment and we won’t talk [00:32:00] about this again about exp know that’s what I found fascinating member.

I didn’t bring it back there. No, no. No they did but that’s okay. No, I just want to point out one thing and that is I went back and looked and and there’s a group of leaders there that used to be with Keller Williams went back and look when we paid those leaders over a million dollars last year.

So I was wondering publicly since they think we’re broke and if they would just renounce that money. There you go. By the way In fairness Glenn will be on this stage to explain his business model. Um, let’s go back to the Clea because I’m curious if and I got this a different Vision a different way of looking at it, but she says digital transaction for part of the the deals meaning much like E-Trade the middle would be Charles Schwab people and agents, but an agent with a different role and the third will be more relationship-driven.

She’s kind of saying five years out you can put Redfin. You can put purple bricks in the middle. You can put at the low end. We don’t have it maybe instant offer. Do you is that sound bullshit? Is that going to happen? Sure. It is the [00:33:00] I want again. I want you to understand something kind of like when you’re up there now.

I’ve kind of come to be a while. They get comfortable with it as you can all tell here’s my here’s the point. I’m trying to make that right there the ability to innovate in real time. Yeah, that’s that changes everything. Yeah, the ability to build a platform that talks to each other where everything is integrated integrated is everything the problem in our industry today is none of the companies that you would put on that side over there and we can go from realogy.

I mean when Berkshire Hathaway calls us up and wants to rent our cloud service. That sounds that for that. How do you go ahead? Yeah realogy yeah, whatever. I can’t you see I called you Bob once yeah, I know you called me a lot of things in March. I was in Australia, so I didn’t hear it. But uh that was good people were (mad ) and he texted me like crazy.

I said often worried. You know why I do that is because it’s because a lot of the articles you produce or one-sided they don’t tell the other [00:34:00] story right? I got pissed because you put my name in an article in the head or no one asked me for my opinion. Well, that’s because we get a lot of readers and we put your name there.

There’s always two sides to the story. And if you’re not going to give me equal time in the article, then I have no choice but to stand up and attack that right you leave me no choice. If you’ll call me every time you mention me and let me talk. Yeah, then I’ll be nicer. Well, we like, you know people love to read about you and we try to cover you as fairly as you can our journalists wake every morning trying to do that, but they do a great job.

We make mistakes. Yeah. Let me go back to leadership is how running a real estate. Today different than it was there’s exactly this. It’s all about technology. Yeah, because you’ve always been kind of facilitator educator, which is the new management style more collaborators that true with your I’ve always been a collaborator.

Yeah. Yeah and with your best agents, I always love the fact Kenny’s and Sue Adler’s these people. I admire are part of your brain trust and they seem to me to be real good [00:35:00] people. They’re great people by the way, and I I spend probably. Uh, 20 to 30 hours a week working with our top people.
That’s what I do for a living. That’s why I know. So I make a confession. I was out of the industry for many years and other Industries doing things I came back. And the first thing I had heard was uh, Keller Williams is on fire and I had the impression that a lot of people had called Texas Christian all these tag words for Gary Keller and Keller Williams, and I was inherently suspicious as a journalist.
And I went down and I wanted to understand the phenomenon and the one thing that really struck me when you invited me to I think family reunions and one of those was the community you created and it’s something we’re very proud of and we have a lot of overlap. There are people here that love you and hopefully some folks from your community that respect us and I think we’ve all learned that building community and real estate is very powerful.

It is we don’t agree on everything but I [00:36:00] congratulate you on that. Well, and I also truly believe that you see the future better than a lot of us and I really appreciate you being here. Well that and uh, really good. What do you want to know? My what do you want to know, what are you dying to know? Well, we want to know tell these people one thing that’s going to help them. We’re seeing there’s a you just say. Go. Change Is upon us. What do they need to do when I when I wrote the book The million in real estate and I said it very crystal clear.

And that is your database is your business your personal relationship with your database is your frontline defense, offense and defense against anything else that can happen. That’s it. Lead generate, touch your people right build build relationship with your database is in business hasn’t changed. So the principles are the same but the difference now is the database.

But that was always the case I guess right. Yeah, keep in touch with your customers. You said that over and over? Well, the truth of the matter is is that the entire real [00:37:00] estate experience is going to come online. That’s all that’s all there is to it. Why did Zillow want our data that they can’t use and they have to be audited twice a year to not use it is because they want to make their AVM better.

Now, is that good for us? Yes or no, okay. Okay, then the answer is no it’s not it actually isn’t good for us as an industry. Yeah, great. Thank you for coming all the way welcome here the best your vet. Thank you.

Compare experiences and future opportunities. 1 608 468 6013 //

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

Marshall Allen:

With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They’re collecting what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them.
 Are you a woman who recently changed your name? You could be newly married and have a pricey pregnancy pending. Or maybe you’re stressed and anxious from a recent divorce. That, too, the computer models predict, may run up your medical bills.
 Are you a woman who’s purchased plus-size clothing? You’re considered at risk of depression. Mental health care can be expensive.
 Low-income and a minority? That means, the data brokers say, you are more likely to live in a dilapidated and dangerous neighborhood, increasing your health risks.
 Get ProPublica’s Major Investigations by Email
 “We sit on oceans of data,” said Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, during a conversation at the data firm’s booth. And he isn’t apologetic about using it. “The fact is, our data is in the public domain,” he said. “We didn’t put it out there.”
 Insurers contend they use the information to spot health issues in their clients — and flag them so they get services they need. And companies like LexisNexis say the data shouldn’t be used to set prices. But as a research scientist from one company told me: “I can’t say it hasn’t happened.”

“What do we need to offer to compete with car ownership?”

Kati Pohjanpalo/a>:

After its first big marketing push about six months ago, Whim has grown to more than 45,000 users in the Helsinki region, of whom 5,100 pay monthly fees. There are two subscription packages: an all-inclusive 499 euros ($582.65), and a more modest 49 euros that gets you unlimited bus travel and short city bike rides, as well as cheaper taxis and rental cars. A pay-per-ride option also exists for those who want to try out the service.
 To become financially viable, Whim needs from 3 to 5 percent of the area’s population to subscribe to a monthly package, according to Hietanen. That critical mass—almost 60,000 users in the Helsinki area—would allow the startup to buy transport services in bulk from the providers and turn a profit as it packages the options for its individual clients.
 Sari Siikasalmi, a 37-year-old management consultant, is becoming a convert. She’s tried out Whim and is now weighing giving up the car. Her family, with two kids under the age of 10, uses public transport inside Helsinki but needs a larger sedan for ski trips.
 To actually go through with the switch, Siikasalmi “would have to be sure that the type of cars we need are always and easily available nearby when we need them.” That’s not always the case yet.

Compass Connect, or Let’s Compare Compass, Part 2

The richly funded Compass brokerage brand experience is centered around technology.

This week’s Compass (inman) Connect conference offers an opportunity to again compare digital experiences.

Let’s compare apps. The recently updated Compass app finally offers notifications when new properties match a saved search.


Useful, contextual notifications save everyone time. Virtual Properties’ clients have enjoyed beautiful, rich and time saving notifications for years.

1. Price change(s), with a property photo:

2. Open House(s), with a property photo:

3. Press for details:

4. Collaborate with messages:

5. Watch

Contact Jim for a deep dive comparison: 1 608 468 6013 or

One more thing:

Compass website users must select a data source:

Virtual Properties clients enjoy a faster experience across multiple MLS data sources, in app or on the web:

Contact Jim for a deep dive comparison: 1 608 468 6013 or

“What do we need to offer to compete with car ownership?”

Kati Pohjanpalo:

After its first big marketing push about six months ago, Whim has grown to more than 45,000 users in the Helsinki region, of whom 5,100 pay monthly fees. There are two subscription packages: an all-inclusive 499 euros ($582.65), and a more modest 49 euros that gets you unlimited bus travel and short city bike rides, as well as cheaper taxis and rental cars. A pay-per-ride option also exists for those who want to try out the service.

To become financially viable, Whim needs from 3 to 5 percent of the area’s population to subscribe to a monthly package, according to Hietanen. That critical mass—almost 60,000 users in the Helsinki area—would allow the startup to buy transport services in bulk from the providers and turn a profit as it packages the options for its individual clients.

Sari Siikasalmi, a 37-year-old management consultant, is becoming a convert. She’s tried out Whim and is now weighing giving up the car. Her family, with two kids under the age of 10, uses public transport inside Helsinki but needs a larger sedan for ski trips.

To actually go through with the switch, Siikasalmi “would have to be sure that the type of cars we need are always and easily available nearby when we need them.” That’s not always the case yet.

In defense of the lost liberal art of marketing

Dipanjan Chatterjee:

The marketing profession is under siege. We are spellbound by the siren call of data, enamored of newly-discovered portmanteaus like ad tech and martech, and enslaved by impenetrable algorithms. This trend reflects a broader shift. For example, in March of 2018, the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point announced that it would eliminate a raft of liberal arts majors. English was out, as was philosophy and history. They would be replaced by disciplines like information technology. As a marketer who often writes about technology, this sent a shudder down my spine.

A visionary leader of a great technology business once said that what made the Macintosh great were the musicians, poets and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists. Forrester researched how the human-centricity of Apple has been one of the chief forces propelling the brand from giant-killer to almost-trillion-dollar market cap giant. Steve Jobs never lost sight of the human behind the marketing machine, and what he intuited many decades ago is what our profession has now begun to formalize.

The marketing discipline, long mired in principles of customer funnels and 4-Ps of product, price, place, and promotion, has seen considerable change in the last decade. The hyper-adoption of devices has generated a flood of data, fodder for rapacious intelligent analytics machines. Old marketers have needed new glossaries to make sense of novel concepts like programmatic advertising and neural networks. At the same time, a silent revolution is underway. Building on the works of psychologists and economists, including two Nobel laureates, the marketing community is revisiting the long-held axiom of “if you market it right, they will buy,” instead disaggregating the process of consumer choice. And in these elements of choice we see reflected the spectrum of the liberal arts

Comparing City Street Orientations

Geoff Boeing:

We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
 In 1960, one hundred years after Emerson’s quote, Kevin Lynch published The Image of the City, his treatise on the legibility of urban patterns. How coherent is a city’s spatial organization? How do these patterns help or hinder urban navigation? I recently wrote about visualizing street orientations with Python and OSMnx. That is, how is a city’s street network oriented in terms of the streets’ compass bearings? How well does it adhere to a straightforward north-south-east-west layout? I wanted to revisit this by comparing 25 major US cities’ orientations (EDIT: by popular request, see also this follow-up comparing world cities):

Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms

Natasha Singer:

But Facebook may only be getting started with its facial recognition services. The social network has applied for various patents, many of them still under consideration, which show how it could use the technology to track its online users in the real world.
 One patent application, published last November, described a system that could detect consumers within stores and match those shoppers’ faces with their social networking profiles. Then it could analyze the characteristics of their friends, and other details, using the information to determine a “trust level” for each shopper. Consumers deemed “trustworthy” could be eligible for special treatment, like automatic access to merchandise in locked display cases, the document said.
 Another Facebook patent filing described how cameras near checkout counters could capture shoppers’ faces, match them with their social networking profiles and then send purchase confirmation messages to their phones.
 In their F.T.C. complaint, privacy groups — led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit research institution — said the patent filings showed how Facebook could make money from users’ faces. A previous EPIC complaint about Facebook helped precipitate a consent decree requiring the company to give users more control over their personal details.

“There’s no doubt that no brick-and-mortar retailer anywhere in the world, let alone China, can exist as a stand-alone business without having a significant, integrated e-commerce mobile application” – Howard Schultz


Starbucks has no formal online delivery in China, where Alibaba-backed competes with Tencent Holdings Ltd-backed Meituan-Dianping as the country’s two biggest food delivery platforms.

Schultz, however, said he was close with Alibaba’s Ma and suggested the two could work together to boost Starbucks’ online distribution in China.

“There’s no doubt that no brick-and-mortar retailer anywhere in the world, let alone China, can exist as a stand-alone business without having a significant, integrated e-commerce mobile application,” he said.

“I have been very dear and close friends with Jack Ma for many, many years… and suffice to say there will be news coming that will relate to our plans for accelerating and integrating mobile commerce at a higher level into our core business.”

Current trade tensions between the United States and China were creating a negative atmosphere between the two countries, he added, though he downplayed the impact on the chain.

How the 100 largest marketplaces solved the chicken and egg problem

Eli Chait:

This is the first in a series of essays on the findings from a six month marketplace research project. My co-founders and I sold our last company to OpenTable and spent three years working on products to grow the supply side of OpenTable’s marketplace. There has been a lot written about online marketplaces and our goal was to test these theories by exploring data from a broader set of companies. We started by making a list of every marketplace founded, identifying 4,500 companies in total, then collected public data to classify and compare these companies (read more about the approach).
 Company success can be measured in many ways, but in the context of this project, we focused on two key metrics: revenue and capital efficiency (measured as the ratio of revenue to capital raised).1
 This post focuses on how the top 100 most successful marketplaces created value for their first users and which of the top three most popular “seeding” strategies has been the most effective. We discovered that one specific marketplace seeding strategy helped companies achieve higher revenue with less capital than other marketplaces.
 The chicken and egg problem
 A marketplace connects many suppliers to many buyers, typically enabling them to transact with one another and taking a fee for enabling the connection. But since marketplaces create value by aggregating supply and demand this creates the “chicken and egg” problem. What is the value to supply and demand when the marketplace is just getting started and doesn’t yet have many buyers or suppliers? The marketplace’s seeding strategy is how it solves the chicken and egg problem.
 OpenTable’s seeding strategy is what Sangeet Paul Choudary calls Standalone Mode and Chris Dixon calls “Single Player Mode.” OpenTable sold software to restaurants that created value for them without requiring any diners on the “buyer” side of the marketplace. They built a unique table management and CRM product (the “Electronic Reservation Book”) and charged a subscription fee for the service. The initial benefit to restaurant customers was the software. Once OpenTable acquired hundreds of restaurants in a city, they started to have a compelling diner value proposition.
 From studying the top 100 largest marketplaces (see here for methodology and list of marketplaces) we found that OpenTable’s strategy was actually the most common. This is also the most capital efficient strategy. Marketplaces that use this approach to seed the marketplace were 10x as capital efficient as marketplaces that used the second most popular strategy.

Why Little Vehicles will conquer the City

Benjamin Schneider:

Nearly all of them look silly, but if taken seriously, they could be a really big deal for urban transportation.
 The public reaction to the arrival of dockless bikes and electric scooters in U.S. cities can be tracked in stages. The first stage, for many, was annoyance. Who were these grown men and women on candy-colored bikes and teeny kick-scooters speeding down the streets and sidewalks, menacing walkers and leaving their rented toys all over the place? Especially in San Francisco, where this whimsical new mobility mode has taken off, scooters have come to represent yet another example of tech industry entitlement, another way for a startup to move fast and break stuff.
 In response, many a Twitter urbanist has used this backlash to point out the relative danger and disruption of larger dockless vehicles:

Crypto Commons

Mike Maples:

Cornelius Vanderbilt did not say, “I want to replace the stagecoach.” Thomas Edison didn’t say, “Death to kerosene and whale oil lamps.” Henry Ford didn’t say “No more horses and carriages.” The stock market was a new thing that helped entrepreneurs create new businesses that advanced the standard of living. Abundance happened because ambitious people were looking forward and trying to make new things that were exponentially better.
 150 years after the first railroad IPOs, the US stock market alone is worth more than $30 Trillion.

“I was Devastated”

Katrina Brooker:

The power of the Web wasn’t taken or stolen. We, collectively, by the billions, gave it away with every signed user agreement and intimate moment shared with technology. Facebook, Google, and Amazon now monopolize almost everything that happens online, from what we buy to the news we read to who we like. Along with a handful of powerful government agencies, they are able to monitor, manipulate, and spy in once unimaginable ways. Shortly after the 2016 election, Berners-Lee felt something had to change, and began methodically attempting to hack his creation. Last fall, the World Wide Web Foundation funded research to examine how Facebook’s algorithms control the news and information users receive. “Looking at the ways algorithms are feeding people news and looking at accountability for the algorithms—all of that is really important for the open Web,” he explained. By understanding these dangers, he hopes, we can collectively stop being deceived by the machine just as half the earth’s population is on board. “Crossing 50 percent is going to be a moment to pause and think,” says Berners-Lee, referring to the coming milestone. As billions more connect to the Web, he feels an increasing urgency to resolve its problems. For him this is about not just those already online but also the billions still unconnected. How much weaker and more marginalized will they become as the rest of the world leaves them behind

Most Americans Think Facebook and Twitter Censor Their Political Views

Riley Griffin:

Big Brother is watching you—or at least Americans seem to think so when it comes to the technology giants behind social media.
 A whopping 72 percent of those polled think it’s likely companies such as Facebook and Twitter actively censor political views that they consider objectionable, according to a Pew Research Center study released Thursday.
 Americans simply don’t trust those companies to be impartial when it comes to partisan politics, the study found. The survey assessing the public’s attitude toward the technology industry was conducted between May 29 and June 11 using a national sample of 4,594 adults.

Rethinking the smart home in 2018

Stacy on iOT:

A year ago this month, I prepared a presentation on the “State of the Smart Home,” which focused on how far voice interfaces had taken us and where they fell short. This week, I gave a quick talk to folks preparing smart home products for IKEA in which I tried to encapsulate how my thinking had changed since then.
 The original presentation started off with a look at some of the challenges the market has faced since it gained new life in 2012. Among them were a lack of standards, expensive products, a dearth of clear use cases, and uncertainty about the security of devices. Today those challenges still exist, and I’ve come to realize that I was too optimistic.
 I thought that we would have solved interoperability challenges by now, and made the connected home easier for mainstream consumers to adopt. I also thought the industry would have given those consumers compelling reasons to choose connected gadgets. I was wrong.
 The Amazon Echo kept my faith alive for a while. I saw it as a device that could bridge the warring standards and get people excited about the smart home. I thought they’d buy the Amazon Echo and get sucked into controlling their lights or their television with their voice. From there, they might invest in some locks or a connected thermostat.

How Old Are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?

Based on the research of Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda:

Based on the research of Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda:
Silicon Valley’s tech workers can go to great lengths to appear youthful—from having plastic surgery and hair transplants, to lurking in the parking lots of hip tech companies to see how the young and promising dress, as chronicled a few years ago by the New Republic.
 While this may seem extreme, there is clearly a bias among many in the tech sector toward the young. Take Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that “young people are just smarter,” or the $100,000 fellowships that Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel hands out each year to bright entrepreneurs—provided that they are under 23.
 “There’s this idea that young people are just more likely to have more valuable ideas,” says Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School.
 But is this notion accurate?
 “If you look at age and great achievement in the sciences in general, it doesn’t peak in the twenties,” he says. “It’s more middle-aged.” Even Nobel Prize winners are having their breakthrough successes later and later in life, Jones found in earlier research. Are the startups of Silicon Valley really an exception?
 In a new study, Jones, along with Javier Miranda of the U.S. Census Bureau and MIT’s Pierre Azoulay and J. Daniel Kim, use an expansive dataset to tackle that question. The researchers find that, contrary to popular thinking, the best entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged. Among the very fastest-growing new tech companies, the average founder was 45 at the time of founding. Furthermore, a given 50-year-old entrepreneur is nearly twice as likely to have a runaway success as a 30-year-old.

California Has 48 Hours to Pass this Privacy Bill or Else

Kashmir Hill:

What’s really happening is that California lawmakers have 48 hours to pass such a bill or the policy shit is going to hit the direct democracy fan. Because if lawmakers in the California Senate and House don’t pass this bill Thursday morning, and if California governor Jerry Brown doesn’t sign this bill into law Thursday afternoon, a stronger version of it will be on the state ballot in November. Then the 17 million or so people who actually vote in California would decide for themselves whether they should have the right to force companies to stop selling their data out the back door. Polls predict they would vote yes, despite the claims of tech companies that passage of the law would lead to businesses fleeing California. And laws passed via the ballot initiative process, rather than the legislative process, are almost impossible to change, so California would likely have this one on its books for a very long time.
 This, more than, say, an urgent need to address the data scandals that have dominated the tech industry so far this year, is why lawmakers are scrambling to get a bill passed. (A press secretary for Senator Bob Hertzberg, a sponsor of the bill, says that it’s happening at the last minute because it was a “long and tortured negotiating process” to come up with “an agreement that everybody 70% agrees with.”) It’s an absurd scenario out of Armando Iannucci, motivated more by arbitrary deadlines and the arcane mechanics of the legislative process than by a sudden passionate response to the kind of careless data practices that facilitated a foreign power’s interference in a presidential election.
 How did we get here? It mostly has to do with one guy with a lot of money deciding he was willing to drop a few million dollars to make life harder for data brokers.
 “I want to be able to go to Amazon and find out who they sold my information to,” Alastair MacTaggart told me earlier this year.
 MacTaggart, a real estate developer in the San Francisco Bay Area, has spent $3 million to create and fund a campaign for the California Consumer Privacy Act, a law that would force companies to tell people what personal data they’re selling and stop if asked. The work of creating the ballot initiative started over two years ago. Over the last year, more than 600,000 Californians signed a petition in support of it—thanks to $1 million spent with signature-collection firms—and so MacTaggart now has the ability to put it on the ballot in November.

The Chinese Powerhouse That Scares Banks—and Wants to Make Them Customers


The company’s extraordinary rise over the past 15 years has come largely at the expense of traditional financial companies in China and, to a lesser extent, overseas. Ant’s wildly popular money-market funds have siphoned deposits from banks. Its online payment systems have disrupted card issuers. And its credit units have challenged lenders of all stripes.

Steve Levine on Chinese retail.

The Legend of Nintendo

Felix Gillette:

Within hours of its arrival, Pokémon Go was a sensation. The game sent countless players wandering giddily around neighborhoods, shopping malls, and parks to capture Pokémon who’d been digitally embedded around the Earth, appearing on users’ screens when they drew near. Technically, Nintendo had played a peripheral role in the advent of Pokémon Go, but the phenomenon had some investors diagnosing early stage Nintendo Mania.
 More symptoms emerged in November, when the company released the NES Classic Edition, a miniaturized, rebooted version of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the console that had made the company a household name in Europe and America in the ’80s. The updated version was carefully calibrated to rekindle the latent passion of lapsed fans, with 30 of the most popular NES games built in. (Unlike the original, there were no cartridges.) From the start, supplies were scarce. Stores were constantly sold out, so customers lined up for hours to await shipments of even a few units. But what seemed to some like a supply-chain disaster looked to others like a calculated strategy. At $59.99 per unit with no additional games, NES Classics were a low-margin item; much more important for the company was to whet the world’s appetite for Nintendo games in preparation for the Switch. To that end, Nintendo and DeNA also released Super Mario Run for iOS and Android, giving hundreds of millions of people an opportunity to help Mario scamper across their smartphones or tablets.
 The strategy worked. By the time the Switch arrived in the spring of 2017, legions of people had been enticed to reconnect with their favorite childhood game characters on a proper Nintendo device. Over the next fiscal year, the Switch accounted for $6.8 billion of revenue. Nintendo’s existing handheld platform, the 3DS, kicked in an additional $1.7 billion, and sales of smartphone games rose 62 percent, generating $354.9 million.
 Behind the white walls in Kyoto, Nintendo executives were already pondering how to stave off the next bust. At a news conference this April, Kimishima announced that he would step aside on June 28 and that Shuntaro Furukawa would succeed him. It was time, Kimishima said, for the next generation to take the lead. Furukawa, 46, had grown up in Tokyo playing Nintendo games; where Kimishima unwinds on the golf course, the new president plays Golf Story on the Switch. He joined the company in 1994, after completing a degree in political science, and spent 11 years at Nintendo of Europe before returning to Kyoto to take over corporate planning, working closely with Iwata and then Kimishima.
 When it was Furukawa’s turn to speak, he noted that Nintendo makes “playthings, not necessities” and that if consumers stop finding its products compelling, the company could be swiftly forgotten. “It is a high-risk business,” he added. “So there will be times when business is good and times when business is bad. But I want to manage the company in a way that keeps us from shifting between joy and despair.”
 Nintendo has a few plans in motion: a partnership with Cygames Inc., a Japanese developer specializing in mobile games, and the launch in September of an online subscription service for the Switch, which will allow gamers to compete against one another and play a slate of retro titles. The latter will help executives make the most difficult evolutionary step in the console life cycle: winning over the broader market of people who don’t typically play video games.

“The magazine also found that while 60 percent of Domino’s and Papa John’s sales were digital orders, 42 percent of all types of pizzerias still did not offer online ordering”

Matthew Sedecca:

Slice sends customers’ online orders to the restaurants through their preferred method — email, fax or phone. Restaurants deliver the meals with their own couriers. For each order processed, Slice receives a $1.95 commission, or around 6 to 7 percent of order totals on average, Mr. Sela said.
 In contrast, GrubHub charges up to 18 percent of the order to process online sales for its clients.
 Matthew Brick of Brick’s Pizza in Centreville, Va., went digital a few years ago and became partners with a number of online ordering platforms before deciding to steer more of its orders to Slice, which today processes around 30 percent of its digital sales. “I pay $2 per order with Slice,” Mr. Brick said. “For a $100 order on GrubHub, that’s 18 bucks,” he said. “That’s why I direct as much traffic as possible to Slice.”
 He said that online sales through Slice are increasing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year.

The myth of revealed preference for suburbs

Joe Cortright:

One of the chief arguments in favor of the suburbs is simply that that is where millions and millions of people actually live. If so many Americans live in suburbs, this must be proof that they actually prefer suburban locations to urban ones. The counterargument, of course, is that people can only choose from among the options presented to them. And the options for most people are not evenly split between cities and suburbs, for a variety of reasons, including the subsidization of highways and parking, school policies, and the continuing legacies of racism, redlining, and segregation. One of the biggest reasons, of course, is restrictive zoning, which prohibits the construction of new urban neighborhoods all over the country.
 But does zoning really act as a constraint on more compact, urban housing? Sure, some skeptics might say, it appears that local zoning laws prohibit denser housing and walkable retail districts. But in fact, city governments pass such strict laws because that’s what their constituents want. Especially within a metropolitan region with many different suburban municipalities, these governments are essentially competing for residents and businesses. If there were real demand for denser, walkable neighborhoods, wouldn’t some municipalities figure out that they could attract those people by allowing that type of development?

GDPR mayhem: Programmatic ad buying plummets in Europe

Jessica Davies:

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation’s enforcement May 25 has hurled the digital media and advertising industries into a tailspin.
 Since the early hours of May 25, ad exchanges have seen European ad demand volumes plummet between 25 and 40 percent in some cases, according to sources. Ad tech vendors scrambled to inform clients that they predict steep drops in demand coming through their platforms from Google. Some U.S. publishers have halted all programmatic ads on their European sites.
 Google contacted DoubleClick Bid Manager clients over the last few days to warn them that until it has completed its integration into the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and IAB Tech Lab’s GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework that publishers, ad tech vendor partners and advertisers should expect a “short-term disruption” in the delivery of their DoubleClick Bid Manager campaigns on third-party European inventory, starting May 25.

The American Housing Crisis Might Be Our Next Big Political Issue

Benjamin Schneider:

Several new advocacy groups have sprung up to push for better housing policies at the state and national level. Their first job: Communicating how significant the problem really is.
 The advertising executive Michael Franzini, founder of the nonprofit ad agency Public Interest, has created campaigns to fight AIDS, spur Holocaust awareness, and advocate for STEM education. The cause driving his latest campaign is a tricky one: He wants to bring housing policy—a topic that is now largely the purview of wonks, developers, big city activists, and a select few politicians—into the forefront of our national discourse.
 “In the same way that Al Gore put climate change on the map, that’s what we’re hoping to do,” Franzini said. “We want everyone to start demanding change.”
 To pull that off, Franzini and Public Interest developed a campaign called Home1, which so far consists of a series of slick explainer-style public service announcements detailing the roots of the current affordable housing crisis. Soon to come: a feature-length documentary that he hopes could be affordable housing’s Inconvenient Truth.
 “There is no greater crisis that, at least in my lifetime, has ever faced our country and not been talked about,” Franzini said. “And the reasons for that are all about how it is communicated… As soon as you start talking about the nuts and bolts of it, people glaze over.”

The Weird Science behind Restaurant Menus

India Mandlekern:

Every pizza display case tells a story. The strategist knew that very well. From the signage to the slicers to the arrangement of the Parmesan and red pepper flake shakers, no visual cue could be left to chance, especially for this client: a 20-unit New York style pizza chain headquartered in San Diego. The CEO was very proud of the organic nature of his restaurants’ interiors, and the lack of “chaininess” to them.
 Six different pizzas now rested on burnished metal stands, intermittently punctuated with an assortment of calzones, stromboli, salads, and beverages. It had taken three weeks of recipe testing to bake pizzas this good. For every perfect, client-ready pizza, there were at least six that missed the mark­­—crusts that weren’t crispy, mozzarella that didn’t stretch, pepperoni that curled when cast in the oven, pockmarking the pie with tiny buckets of grease. (I was a beneficiary of the process. An arsenal of failed recipe prototypes was accumulating in my freezer.)
 The strategist carefully removed a stack of miniature chalkboards from her desk. On each one, she inscribed the name of a different pie: The Triboro (meat lover’s). The Whitestone (white pie). The Bronx (everything but the kitchen sink). New York’s exalted status in the pizza universe was essential to this client’s identity, so much that the client had even implemented a reverse osmosis system in the dough-making process to replicate the pH balance of New York water.
 When the set up was complete, the strategist called over the head of the agency to evaluate her work.

News Goes Mobile: How People Use Smartphones to Access Information

Knight Foundation:

Rapid advances in technology have left news organizations scrambling to manage how news is created, consumed and delivered. People have shifted towards accessing news first via desktops and laptops, and now through the ubiquitous smartphone.
 Since 2011, the rate of adult U.S. smartphone ownership has increased notably from 46 to 82 percent, and is nearing a saturation point among some age groups. In just the past two years, individual mobile news consumption has grown rapidly. In fact, 89 percent of the U.S. mobile population (144 million users) now access news and information via mobile devices. As news organizations seek to better manage this digital transformation across platforms, engage with their audience and stay competitive, what should they understand about their audience’s changing behavior on mobile news? And, how are diverse audiences approaching access to mobile news and information differently?
 The findings show that:
 There is a substantial audience for mobile news. Nearly the entire population of adult mobile users consume news on their devices, and more users are spending news time on social platforms.
 While mobile users only spend 5 percent of mobile time on news, on average, the time they do spend includes “hard” news about current events and global news, as opposed to routine weather reports and other forms of “soft” news.
 Mobile users who access news through apps spend more time reading the content, but the overall audience for apps is small, so it’s essential to know who those users are.
 Social media sites and apps are important sources of news for social media users, although television remains their top source. However, social media users also depend on friends, contacts and individuals they follow as trusted news sources as much as or more than they depend on media outlets.
 Mobile news users active on social networks do not just passively engage with news content but take offline action related to the content.

The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones)

Laura Hazard Owen:

From skimming and scanning to (the ultimate) reading, a new paper by Nir Grinberg looks at the ways we read online and introduces a novel measure for predicting how long readers will stick with an article.

Grinberg, a research fellow at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science jointly with the Northeastern’s Lazer Lab, looked at Chartbeat data for seven different publishers’ sites — a dataset of more than 7.7 million pageviews, on both mobile and desktop, of 66,821 news articles from the sites. (To protect the publishers’ privacy, they aren’t named in the paper, but Grinberg looked at a financial news site, a how-to site, a tech news site, a science news site, a site aimed at women, a sports site, and a magazine site.)

Chartbeat, Grinberg said, already offers publishers pretty good tracking. “It’s one of the few companies that track what happens with a user after they click on a news article,” he told me. “Still, the actual measures it provides are kind of raw. It’ll tell you how much time a person has spent on a page, how far down the page they got, even something called ‘engaged time,’ which is the number of page interactions — mouse clicks, cursor movement, etc. But all of these are not particularly tailored to news; they could work on any web page.” Grinberg tailored these raw measures to create new metrics specifically for news articles.

After the Facebook scandal it’s time to base the digital economy on public v private ownership of data

Evgeny Morozov:

The continuing collapse of public trust in Facebook is welcome news to those of us who have been warning about the perils of “data extractivism” for years.

It’s reassuring to have final, definitive proof that beneath Facebook’s highfalutin rhetoric of “building a global community that works for all of us” lies a cynical, aggressive project – of building a global data vacuum cleaner that sucks from all of us. Like others in this industry, Facebook makes money by drilling deep into our data selves – pokes and likes is simply how our data comes to the surface – much like energy firms drill deep into the oil wells: profits first, social and individual consequences later.

Furthermore, the rosy digital future – where cleverly customised ads subsidise the provision of what even Mark Zuckerberg calls “social infrastructure” – is no longer something that many of us will be taking for granted. While the monetary costs of building and operating this “social infrastructure” might be zero – for taxpayers anyway – its social and political costs are, perhaps, even harder to account for than the costs of cheap petroleum in the 1970s.

Against metrics: how measuring performance by numbers backfires | Aeon Ideas

Jerry Z Muller:

Organisations in thrall to metrics end up motivating those members of staff with greater initiative to move out of the mainstream, where the culture of accountable performance prevails. Teachers move out of public schools to private and charter schools. Engineers move out of large corporations to boutique firms. Enterprising government employees become consultants. There is a healthy element to this, of course. But surely the large-scale organisations of our society are the poorer for driving out staff most likely to innovate and initiate. The more that work becomes a matter of filling in the boxes by which performance is to be measured and rewarded, the more it will repel those who think outside the box.

Economists such as Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University, who specialise in measuring economic productivity, report that in recent years the only increase in total-factor productivity in the US economy has been in the information technology-producing industries. The question that ought to be asked next, then, is to what extent the culture of metrics – with its costs in employee time, morale and initiative, and its promotion of short-termism – has itself contributed to economic stagnation?

Study of influencer spenders finds big names, lots of fake followers

Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram

Alex Kantrowitz:

In late February, an Instagram account called Viral Hippo posted a photo of a black square. There was nothing special about the photo, or the square, and certainly not the account that posted it. And yet within 24 hours, it amassed over 1,500 likes from a group that included a verified model followed by 296,000 people, a verified influencer followed by 228,000, a bunch of fitness coaches, some travel accounts, and various small businesses. “I really love this photo,” one commented.
 The commenter wasn’t a bot; nor were any of the accounts that liked the black square. But their interest in it wasn’t genuine. These were real people, but not real likes — none of them clicked on the like button themselves. Instead, they used a paid service that automatically likes and comments on other posts for them. Instagram says this is against its terms of service, but it continues to operate. It’s called Fuelgram and, for a few dollars a month and access to your Instagram log-in credentials, it will use the accounts of everyone who paid that sum to like and comment on your posts — and it will use yours to do the same to theirs.
 In other words, Fuelgram creates fake engagement from real Instagram accounts. And it’s quite effective. Fuelgram makes posts appear more popular than they are, tricking Instagram’s algorithm into spreading them further, sometimes right into the service’s high-profile Explore tab. And there’s a reasonable chance there’s one in your feed right now, because Fuelgram is just one of a number of Instagram-juicing services available today, and the photo-sharing platform’s engagement-rewarding algorithm incentivizes people to use it.

Compare Apps

First Experience, Zillow and Virtual Properties’:

Tap for a larger version.

Why should we care?

DHL Global Connectedness Index 2016

Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven Altman (PDF):

While of obvious appeal to certain urban elites, this picture turns out to be factually wrong. While New York is usually rated as one of the world’s top global cities, prior research using Sassen’s preferred measure indicates that New York’s greatest connectivity is with Washington, DC, ahead of Tokyo, and Chicago and Boston round out its top four con- nections. Other US cities are much less connected inter- nationally: thus, the Los Angeles metro area, the fourth largest in the world in GDP terms after New York, Tokyo, and London,12 counts only one foreign city (Tokyo, at #8) among its top dozen connections.13

Thus, even as long-term trends point to the rising impor- tance of global cities, there is evidence that cities—like countries—conform to the laws of globalization that were articulated in the conclusion of Chapter 1.14 Paralleling the law of semiglobalization, flows often take place more intensively within large cities than between them. For an example pertaining to trade, the value of shipments within a given zip (postal) code in the US (with a median radius of just four miles) is three times larger than the value of shipments across zip code boundaries.15 And in regard to capital flows, investment fund managers are more likely to buy or sell stocks when other managers in the same city are doing so.16

Both laws of globalization are also in evidence when one looks at patterns of who follows whom on Twitter. Over- all, 39% of all Twitter ties turn out to be local as in within the same (roughly metropolitan) regional cluster, 36% fall outside the regional cluster but within the same country, and 25% are international (as we noted in Chapter 1). Nor do these average tendencies necessarily weaken with city size. Thus, in Sao Paulo, one of the biggest hubs of Twitter activity in the world, more than 75% of the ties were local!17 And Figure 3.4 highlights how Twitter ties drop off with physical distance. This analysis of Twitter also backstops the earlier point that even supposedly global cities still tend to be more connected to their domestic hinterlands than to other cities abroad. Figure 3.4 indicates that the overall pattern of extreme distance-dependence is affected notice- ably only by a spike at the New York–Los Angeles distance (a domestic link); New York–London is just a blip, if that, in the overall pattern, and the other city pairs highlighted in the figure have no discernible effect at all.

Stuck: Why rent and mortgage-burdened Americans don’t always move to cheaper pastures

Kea Wilson:

“I had friends whose rents had doubled, and [I was watching them] scramble to figure out a solution,” Jose said. “People were renting out their basements, taking on roommates, things like that, just to get by.”
 And there were another set of numbers on his mind, too: one girl in St. Louis, MO, who he just so happened to be dating long distance. $450 a month for his share of the rent on a huge, newly renovated one-bedroom apartment she wanted to share with him if he’d make the move to be with her. Hundreds of bonus square footage in the basement, plus a garage and a double lot where they could throw lawn parties every weekend. It all sounded pretty perfect.
 But it wouldn’t be easy. Jose didn’t have a job lined up in Missouri. They certainly didn’t have the money for the moving costs; those would have to go on credit. Not to mention the fact that he’d also be leaving his home, his friends, and almost everything he knew behind in Colorado.
 Like millions of rent burdened Americans, Jose was facing what might seem like a simple choice: to stay or to go. But embedded within that decision were a mountain factors, limitations and uncertainties — and once they’d all been put through their calculus, the choice might, effectively, be made for him.

Compare Kelle?

Let’s compare the Agent App and Keller Williams’ Kelle:

Agent App Kelle
Fast property search Yes
Market Pulse Yes
Share via text, email and Social Yes
Integrated with public app and www Yes
Lead Management Yes
Agent Directory Yes
Cross MLS Search Yes
Notifications Yes
Showings Yes
Open House Management Yes
Auto-fill Documents Yes
Hot Sheets Yes
Agent/Team Branding Yes


  1. Ease of use
  2. Recruiting
  3. Retention
  4. Lead Generation
  5. Listing and Buyer Presentations
  6. Your Brand.

Big tech companies gain while smaller online ad firms are squeezed under the European Union’s GDPR, which takes effect in May.

Sam Schechner and Nick Kostov:

When the European Union’s justice commissioner traveled to California to meet with Google and Facebook last fall, she was expecting to get an earful from executives worried about the Continent’s sweeping new privacy law.

Instead, she realized they already had the situation under control. “They were more relaxed, and I became more nervous,” said the EU official, Věra Jourová. “They have the money, an army of lawyers, an army of technicians and so on.”

Why Invest in Cities? There’s Always Another Boise

Conor Sen:

Urbanists thought their moment had finally arrived. Those who favor increased urban density and transit options believed the housing bust and the great recession could end decades of development centered on automobiles and suburban sprawl, shifting planners’ focus more to cities, density and transit.

The advocates for this model point to California as the inevitable result of inaction. If you try to grow without increased density and transit you’ll end up with the traffic of Los Angeles and the home prices of San Francisco. Yet the negative effects of political inaction do not make political action inevitable. Another possibility is … Boise.

Even if politics were responsive, policy changes take years or decades to achieve results — and individuals and families planning their lives don’t have that kind of time. “California needs to change its housing policies” might well be true, but that won’t make a home in the Bay Area any cheaper tomorrow.

Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook? Try Google

Christopher Mims:

As justifiable as the focus on Facebook has been, though, it isn’t the full picture. If the concern is that companies may be collecting some personal data without our knowledge or explicit consent, Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -1.11% Google is a far bigger threat by many measures: the volume of information it gathers, the reach of its tracking and the time people spend on its sites and apps.

New regulations, particularly in Europe, are driving Google and others to disclose more and seek more permissions from users. And given the choice, many people might even be fine with the trade-off of personal data for services. Still, to date few of us realize the extent to which our data is being collected and used.

“There is a systemic problem and it’s not limited to Facebook,” says Arvind Narayanan, a computer scientist and assistant professor at Princeton University. The larger problem, he argues, is that the very business model of these companies is geared to privacy violation. We need to understand Google’s role in this.


Google also is the biggest enabler of data harvesting, through the world’s two billion active Android mobile devices.

Since Google’s Android OS helps companies gather data on us, then Google is also partly to blame when huge troves of that data are later used improperly, says Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University.

A good example of this is the way Facebook has continuously harvested Android users’ call and text history. Facebook never got this level of access from Apple ’s iPhone, whose operating system is designed to permit less under-the-hood data collection. Android OS often allows apps to request rich data from users without accompanying warnings about how the data might be used.

To be listed in Google’s Android app store, developers must agree to request only the information they need. But that doesn’t stop them from using “needed” data for additional purposes.

Designers call the ways marketers and developers cajole and mislead us into giving up our data “dark patterns,” tactics that exploit flaws and limits in our cognition.

Create Listings

Homeowners often keep track of nearby home value activity. Create useful connections and become their trusted advisor in a few steps.

1. Connect your contacts

2. Create searches that include market statistics

3. Share the searches with your contacts

4. Call them quarterly and discuss the market.

5. Annual listing presentation.

Your digital and personal connections are now top of mind.


Saved searches assist with their next residence.

Be first.

From Zillow’s 2017 10-K:

Consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices and the internet to access real estate information. With the widespread adoption of mobile and location-based technologies, consumers increasingly expect home-related information to be available on their mobile devices where, when and how they want it. According to comScore data published in December 2017, Zillow Group brands represent nearly three quarters of market share of all mobile exclusive visitors to the real estate category. More than two-thirds of our flagship brand Zillow’s usage occurs on a mobile device; on weekends it’s more than 75%. We believe that the technological platform shift from desktop computers to mobile devices benefits technology leaders like Zillow Group that are quick to innovate. In 2017, we unveiled a new, first-of-its-kind, mobile app that allows homeowners and real estate professionals to capture 3D tours of their homes from their iPhones ® and post on for-sale and for-rent listings.

We refer to the database as “living” because the information is continually updated by the combination of our proprietary algorithms, synthesis of third-party data from hundreds of sources, and through improvements by us and, importantly, by our community of users. User-generated content from owners, agents and others enriches our database with photos, videos, and additional property information. Individuals and businesses that use Zillow’s mobile applications and websites have updated information on more than 75 million homes in our database, creating exclusive home profiles not available anywhere else. Our inimitable database enables us to create content, products and services not available anywhere else, and attracts an active, vibrant community of users. As of December 31, 2017, we had published more than 3.5 million reviews, including more than 3.0 million reviews of local real estate agents and approximately 495,000 reviews of mortgage professionals submitted by our users on Zillow.

Mobile Leadership and Monetization. Shopping for a home is a far more meaningful consumer experience when it occurs curbside, untethered and on location, so we have developed and operate the most popular suite of mobile real estate applications across all major platforms. For example, on our flagship Zillow brand, during December 2017, nearly 630 million homes, or 234 homes per second, were viewed on a mobile device. More than two-thirds of our flagship brand Zillow’s usage occurs on a mobile device; on weekends it’s more than 75%. We operate one of the most popular suites of mobile real estate applications with more than fifty applications across all major mobile platforms. In 2017, we unveiled a new, first-of-its-kind, mobile app that allows homeowners and real estate professionals to capture 3D tours of their homes from their iPhones ® and post on for-sale and for-rent listings. We monetize our marketplace business on our mobile platform in the same way we do on our web platform.

Enhance Our Living Database of Homes. Enhance the information in our database of more than 110 million homes, and use it as the foundation for new analyses, insights and tools to inform consumers throughout the home ownership lifecycle. Our living database of homes provides a foundation on which we can build new consumer and professional marketplaces in other home-related categories.

Mobile Access

We operate one of the most popular suites of mobile real estate applications with more than fifty applications across all major mobile platforms. Our mobile real estate applications provide consumers and real estate, rental and mortgage professionals with location-based access to many of our products and services, including Zestimates, Rent Zestimates, for sale and rental listings and extensive home-related data. Through our mobile applications, for example, a consumer can learn about the home’s for-sale price, Zestimate, number of bedrooms, square footage and past sales, as well as similar information about surrounding homes. The consumer can call a real estate professional through our mobile applications to get more information or schedule a showing. For example, on our flagship Zillow brand, during December 2017, nearly 630 million homes were viewed on a mobile device, which equates to 234 homes per second.

Palantir Knows Everything About You Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.

Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson:

It all ended when the bank’s senior executives learned that they, too, were being watched, and what began as a promising marriage of masters of big data and global finance descended into a spying scandal. The misadventure, which has never been reported, also marked an ominous turn for Palantir, one of the most richly valued startups in Silicon Valley. An intelligence platform designed for the global War on Terror was weaponized against ordinary Americans at home.

Founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel and some fellow PayPal alumni, Palantir cut its teeth working for the Pentagon and the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company’s engineers and products don’t do any spying themselves; they’re more like a spy’s brain, collecting and analyzing information that’s fed in from the hands, eyes, nose, and ears. The software combs through disparate data sources—financial documents, airline reservations, cellphone records, social media postings—and searches for connections that human analysts might miss. It then presents the linkages in colorful, easy-to-interpret graphics that look like spider webs. U.S. spies and special forces loved it immediately; they deployed Palantir to synthesize and sort the blizzard of battlefield intelligence. It helped planners avoid roadside bombs, track insurgents for assassination, even hunt down Osama bin Laden. The military success led to federal contracts on the civilian side. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses Palantir to detect Medicare fraud. The FBI uses it in criminal probes. The Department of Homeland Security deploys it to screen air travelers and keep tabs on immigrants.

Police and sheriff’s departments in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles have also used it, frequently ensnaring in the digital dragnet people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. People and objects pop up on the Palantir screen inside boxes connected to other boxes by radiating lines labeled with the relationship: “Colleague of,” “Lives with,” “Operator of [cell number],” “Owner of [vehicle],” “Sibling of,” even “Lover of.” If the authorities have a picture, the rest is easy. Tapping databases of driver’s license and ID photos, law enforcement agencies can now identify more than half the population of U.S. adults.

JPMorgan was effectively Palantir’s R&D lab and test bed for a foray into the financial sector, via a product called Metropolis. The two companies made an odd couple. Palantir’s software engineers showed up at the bank on skateboards. Neckties and haircuts were too much to ask, but JPMorgan drew the line at T-shirts. The programmers had to agree to wear shirts with collars, tucked in when possible.

Style Is an Algorithm No one is original anymore, not even you.

Kyle Chayka:

The camera is a small, white, curvilinear monolith on a pedestal. Inside its smooth casing are a microphone, a speaker, and an eye-like lens. After I set it up on a shelf, it tells me to look straight at it and to be sure to smile! The light blinks and then the camera flashes. A head-to-toe picture appears on my phone of a view I’m only used to seeing in large mirrors: me, standing awkwardly in my apartment, wearing a very average weekday outfit. The background is blurred like evidence from a crime scene. It is not a flattering image.
 Amazon’s Echo Look, currently available by invitation only but also on eBay, allows you to take hands-free selfies and evaluate your fashion choices. “Now Alexa helps you look your best,” the product description promises. Stand in front of the camera, take photos of two different outfits with the Echo Look, and then select the best ones on your phone’s Echo Look app. Within about a minute, Alexa will tell you which set of clothes looks better, processed by style-analyzing algorithms and some assistance from humans. So I try to find my most stylish outfit, swapping out shirts and pants and then posing stiffly for the camera. I shout, “Alexa, judge me!” but apparently that’s unnecessary.
 What I discover from the Style Check™ function is as follows: All-black is better than all-gray. Rolled-up sleeves are better than buttoned at the wrist. Blue jeans are best. Popping your collar is actually good. Each outfit in the comparison receives a percentage out of 100: black clothes score 73 percent against gray clothes at 27 percent, for example. But the explanations given for the scores are indecipherable. “The way you styled those pieces looks better,” the app tells me. “Sizing is better.” How did I style them? Should they be bigger or smaller?

Google Tests Search Ads That Blend into Organic & Can Be Closed Out

Barry Schwartz:

Antony Jackson posted a screen shot on Google+ of a new user interface where the search ads and organic search listings kind of blend together. There is this little “Ads X” at the top right of the search results, that looks faded. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between where the ads end and the first organic listing.

The only reason one can tell is that the ads look completely irrelevant. Which makes me wonder if the browser has some malware on it and that this is really not an official Google test?

However, I am told when you click on the “Ads X” at the top right, the ads collapse and go away. Which is an interesting thing to do.

Google’s Plan to Fix Email Is Deeply Flawed

Vijith Assar:

On February 13, Google announced AMP for Email, an attempt to introduce some of the elements of its Accelerated Mobile Pages specification into email, putting the company’s high-performance web publishing system right inside the messages. Gmail will be the first email client to support these new features, which will give senders a way to deliver complex layouts and templates, interactive user actions, and dynamically updated content. That first implementation isn’t even ready yet, and yet already this is looking like a catastrophe. It should not be possible to design dramatic changes to our most widespread communication medium in secret and then deliver them in a surprise announcement! That completely misses the point of communicating.

AMP is a high-performance subset of established web technologies like JavaScript and HTML intended for mobile-first publishing. It was introduced by Google in 2015 as a somewhat more open competitor to Facebook’s embedded “Instant Articles” format; whereas Facebook renders third-party links right inside Facebook, Google created a zippy new quasi-standardized format for the rest of the web — and then took the additional aggressive step of serving them from URLs and promoting AMP-formatted content in its search results. It has been met with suspicion, most famously by the the Register, which called it “bad in a potentially web-destroying way.” But it is certainly fast!

Hard Questions: What Data Does Facebook Collect When I’m Not Using Facebook, and Why?

David Baser:

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress. He answered more than 500 questions and promised that we would get back on the 40 or so questions he couldn’t answer at the time. We’re following up with Congress on these directly but we also wanted to take the opportunity to explain more about the information we get from other websites and apps, how we use the data they send to us, and the controls you have. I lead a team focused on privacy and data use, including GDPR compliance and the tools people can use to control and download their information.
 When does Facebook get data about people from other websites and apps?
 Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. These services include:
 Social plugins, such as our Like and Share buttons, which make other sites more social and help you share content on Facebook;
 Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another website or app;
 Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services; and
 Facebook ads and measurement tools, which enable websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers, to run their own ads on Facebook or elsewhere, and to understand the effectiveness of their ads.
 When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook.

Why digital strategies fail

Jacques Bughin, Tanguy Catlin, Martin Hirt, and Paul Willmott:

Most digital strategies don’t reflect how digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, or what it means to compete. Companies should watch out for five pitfalls.

The processing power of today’s smartphones are several thousand times greater than that of the computers that landed a man on the moon in 1969. These devices connect the majority of the human population, and they’re only ten years old.1

In that short period, smartphones have become intertwined with our lives in countless ways. Few of us get around without the help of ridesharing and navigation apps such as Lyft and Waze. On vacation, novel marine-transport apps enable us to hitch a ride from local boat owners to reach an island. While we’re away, we can also read our email, connect with friends back home, check to make sure we turned the heat down, make some changes to our investment portfolio, and buy travel insurance for the return trip. Maybe we’ll browse the Internet for personalized movie recommendations or for help choosing a birthday gift that we forgot to buy before leaving. We also can create and continually update a vacation photo gallery—and even make a few old-fashioned phone calls.

Digital rewards first movers and some superfast followers

In the past, when companies witnessed rising levels of uncertainty and volatility in their industry, a perfectly rational strategic response was to observe for a little while, letting others incur the costs of experimentation and then moving as the dust settled. Such an approach represented a bet on the company’s ability to “outexecute” competitors. In digital scrums, though, it is first movers and very fast followers that gain a huge advantage over their competitors. We found that the three-year revenue growth (of over 12 percent) for the fleetest was nearly twice that of companies playing it safe with average reactions to digital competition. Our research confirms this.

Incumbents moving boldly command a 20 percent share, on average, of digitizing markets. That compares with only 5 percent for digital natives on the prowl. Using another measure, we found that revved-up incumbents create as much risk to the revenues of traditional players as digital attackers do. And it’s often incumbents’ moves that push an industry to the tipping point. That’s when the ranks of slow movers get exposed to life-threatening competition.

Retail’s New Fork In The Road: Understanding Buying Versus Shopping

Steve Dennis:

More recently, platform businesses like Alibaba and Amazon have made the buying process far more efficient in many categories, leading to major market share gains and the demise (or teetering on the brink) of many brands that could not keep pace. But let’s be clear: Amazon is not “the everything store.” It is, however, quickly becoming the anything you want to ‘buy’ store. Absent a far greater brick & mortar presence, Amazon will continue to struggle in its quest to dominate shopping.
 Innovation and growth in ‘buying’ has occurred outside of the purely digital world. Brands such as Aldi, Lidl, Dollar General, Ross, TJX and others have re-worked and expanded their business model by delivering ever greater ‘buying’ value. If there is a retail apocalypse someone needs to tell these brands, as they will collectively add thousands of new stores this year alone.
 The same is true in the ‘shopping’ world. Sephora, Ulta, Apple and many others that continue to offer a remarkable shopping experience are growing both online and offline. Moreover, many high profile pure-play e-commerce players have basically started to run out of customers that would approach their brands in ‘buying’ mode and thus they needed to go seek out ‘shoppers’ with brick & mortar locations In fact, several once stated that they would never open stores. This is because they didn’t understand how the buying vs. shopping dynamic would inevitably play out over time. It now turns out that Warby Parker, Peloton and Bonobos are seeing the majority of their incremental growth come from their physical locations.

Zillow surprises investors by buying up homes

Katie Roof:

This is a marked business change for the website, which is mainly a hub of information about real estate properties. Buying up homes will provide added costs and risks, so some investors didn’t like it.

Yet Zillow says it has been testing out this program for about a year and that it is optimistic about its future success.

In an interview with CNBC, CEO Spencer Rascoff said, “we’re ready to be an investor in our own marketplace.” He believes Zillow has “huge advantages because we have access to this huge audience of sellers and huge audience of buyers.”

Rascoff acknowledged that Zillow will be taking on debt to execute on its new mission.

Unethical growth hacks: A look into the growing Youtube news bot epidemic


In fact, the opposite is happening. Because these are video format, they often get preferred treatment in Google’s search results, as it helps their search results seem more diverse when including video, images, and other non-link content.
 So in a time when countless news publications and blogs are barely scraping by, they now also have this growing obstacle deal with.
 And if you think it’s tough now, just wait a few more years before it gets out of hand as AI inevitably becomes smarter, faster, and more efficient.
 Thanks for reading.