When I was at Inman News, an executive at NAR told me, during a period when we were reporting heavily – and sometimes critically — on their online listings policy, "If Brad Inman didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him."
So it is with Redfin and Glenn Kelman. Sometimes it’s good to have a lightning rod. It helps control – or distract — your own constituency. It can relieve pressure, deflect anger, or lead to new understandings.
I don’t think Redfin will catalyze a new real estate experience — directly. If Kelman and his team execute well with the $12 million they received this week, they’ll end up like ZipRealty, which isn’t bad. People sometimes forget that ZIP, for all its struggles, is now a company of 1,800 agents that did over a billion in sales volume in Q1 of this year alone. And how many real estate companies aren’t struggling with profitability these days?
So I am happy for them. But I’m happy for the rest of us too. Redfin’s continued growth ensures that we can look forward many more spirited debates, ham-fisted NAR memos and media splashes. These things will do more to shape the future of our industry that anything Redfin will do directly
And for that we should be thankful.
— Brian Boero