Brokers: where's your Christopher Columbus?

“Isabella, look far” Christopher said as he pointed west.

“That’s the path forward.”

“What will it take?” Isabella replied as she placed her hand on Ferdinand’s locked wrist.

Christopher stepped forward.

“Three ships. A crew. And your blessing.”

Isabella gathered herself from her throne.

“Go forward!”

We know that Ferdinand and Isabella possessed little maritime knowledge. They did understood war, though, having spent the last ten years entrenched in a battle for the Emirate of Granada.

Focused on rivalries with their European neighbors, Ferdinand and Isabella remained mired in the demands of the moment.

Most rulers would have viewed Columbus’s idea to sail west to give Spain the upper hand in the spice trade as far-fetched. A costly distraction.

After all, this was 1492. No Google Earth. No GPS. No Skype. No Foursquare to find the best Sushi.

But Ferdinand and Isabella looked upon Columbus to take them places beyond what circumstances would seem to permit.

The trusted him. They understood that if they were going to prevail, they must take risks. And do what others were afraid to try, too war-weary to endeavor.

They acted.

Who is your Christopher Columbus?

As you look around at your rivals, it’s easy to blame yourself for providing them the means by which they claimed an advantage upon you.

“If only we didn’t give them our listings.”

 “If only we didn’t give those top producers such lavish splits.”

“If only we had seen the crash coming.”

Sure, these may have been mistakes, but they are of the sort we’ve all made. They wound but do not kill.

Not continuing to move forward on another course in spite of these things is the graver error.

Remember, Columbus’s success came from a massive failure. In his grand attempt to sail to India he ended up in the Bahamas.

His ability to course correct turned that failure into a success that spurred Spain’s colonization of the South Atlantic and set the wheels of change moving in a New World.

Without him, Baywatch may never have been created.

If you aren’t moving, it’s likely you don’t have someone like Christopher in your court.

Swabbing the deck

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple he pulled a handful of people into a bunker, built the iMac, and killed dozens of lesser products.

The other day, software maven Jason Fried wrote, “Sometimes, the best way to improve something is to begin again from scratch,” in reference to rethinking his best selling product.

These people are no brighter than you. But they understand that time doesn’t stand still.

If you stand still, you get hurt; you get hurt enough times, you die.

From my dingy, bumping around the docks of real estate, I see many wonderful vessels tied to the horn cleats of recrimination.

They are withheld from new opportunities – new routes that could take their crews into the wild blue ocean.

It’s time to cut the moorings.

Open the hatch and broadcast what you know. Provide answers to a marketplace full of questions in a way that moves people.

Stop playing games with Facebook and get serious about how people connect with people to acquire local information. Right now, I can log into Zillow using Facebook, view homes on a map and see friends who are nearby (see right corner of image below). Where are you on this map of the New World?

Zillow's Facebook integration

Reclaim and re-imagine your digital territory. Do you realize that any Mac user can download Dragon Diction and talk to their computer? This is just the beginning. Siri is now in your phone. Soon it will be in your iPad. Then your laptop. Keyboards and mice will be obsolete.

Everything around you is being disrupted. Displaced. Destroyed. Replaced by new ways of connecting, knowing and deciding.


Homes will sell with or without the real estate industry we know today.

If you want to win tomorrow, don your crown, find your Columbus, and bless him to take you forward.

Land ho!