Ode to real estate vendors

I love real estate vendors.

They are truly Jobsian figures, in both the figurative and literal senses.

They live in a world where some agents routinely go ballistic on them. Where some brokers dismiss them as vultures, or worse, ignore them altogether. Where around every corner there is another “pay for play” opportunity with the empty lure of sales at the end.

And yet they persevere.

Every year, I wander the halls at NAR, or Inman, or the trade floors of the large brand shows and witness their tenacity.

To be sure, I’ve seen some truly kooky stuff over the years. Ideas that have somehow made it to the 10×10 walls of a tradeshow booth or demo table that are either misguided or uninformed, and sometimes both.

But I’ve also seen a lot of noble ventures. Ideas that have real merit that just need a little coaxing into flower. Some of the best have gone on to great acclaim. Others have earned their just reward.

I am inspired by these folks for a couple of reasons.

First, they actually made something. I know how profoundly difficult this can be. I’ve been there. Grinding and grinding for hours obsessing over pixels, debating features, fixing bugs, stressing about database loads, worrying about business models or where the next – or even the first – dollar will come from. The countless hours and toll that this sort of entrepreneurship takes. It’s not for everyone.

It’s this determination that I find energizing.

Second, many care so much about this industry that they are trying to improve it. It may be a small, seemingly insignificant corner of the transaction, or it may be an agent’s marketing toolset, or the consumer experience that they are trying to improve.

I’ve spoken to many founders over the years and this is the one commonality I’ve found among all of them – including the ones we are lucky enough to work with at 1000watt: each is invariably trying to make real estate better.

It’s this passion that I find inspiring.

I know it can be difficult to maintain that enthusiasm at times. Even I feel overwhelmed by all the different products and services. Shiny object syndrome is real and you definitely need to keep it in check.

But what has troubled me more lately is a sense of simmering hostility towards or outright repudiation of vendors and their technology.

I think that’s terribly shortsighted.

Agents, invest in your partners. Help those budding businesses make that next buck, so they can keep the lights on and continue to build software and services that help you.

Brokers, meet with a local real estate tech entrepreneur and hear how they think they are making the industry better. You probably share more than you think.

And vendors, pat yourselves on the back for a minute, before you head back into the grind. I would like to say thank you for everything you’ve done. You’ve earned it.

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