Friday Flash: A dead philosophy

Back in the old days (the early 2000’s) my philosophy in building products for agents was “Deliver something beautiful that can then be destroyed through customization.”

That philosophy is dead.

Today, you will notice, most of the software we use is fantastically simple and brutally focused. Instagram. Snapchat. Uber. There’s a ton going on under the surface, but the user interface is spare. In some cases – consider Facebook’s M, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google’s Now – it is practically invisible.

Zillow – love ‘em or hate ‘em – gave us all a lesson in this sort of simplicity this week.

For 10 years, we have been talking about “video” in real estate. And some really cool stuff has come of that. But most agents still churn out overlong, music-slathered crap.

The solution to this problem – which Zillow executed on – was kind of staring us in the face all along:

  1. Open mobile app
  2. Tap and shoot scene 1 for 20 seconds
  3. Tap and shoot scene 2 for 20 seconds
  4. Tap and shoot scene 3 for 20 seconds… and so on
  5. Tap “send” to display the video on your listing

2 minutes max. No music. No graphics. Just a short video walkthrough of a home prospective buyers might actually find useful. Done in a quick, constrained, paint-by-numbers style app.

My current philosophy: Build simple mobile software for agents focused on task completion, not “features”.

HousingWire broke some news this week that suggests that Nationstar Mortgage, one of the country’s largest non-bank lenders/servicers, may be changing it’s name to “Mr. Cooper”.

I heard from a lot of people who think this is a horrible idea. I would not (if it’s true) agree. I like bold, creative moves. But the more important point is that what I think doesn’t matter. This would be a strategic name/identity change that goes beyond what I think about the name, or the look of a logo.

Uber’s recent logo redesign is a great example of this. Everyone had an opinion, including me (meh), but subjective aesthetic judgements aren’t the point.

The point is that Uber needed to rinse the layer of arrogance, aggression and Axe Body Spray off its visual identity. I think the new logo does that, whether or not I like the color or design.

Doing SEO for franchises is like “playing 3-D chess on top of a Rubik’s Cube”. I thought a very small number of you would appreciate that line from this article.

Email tech provider Movable Ink published a report this week showing that 68% of emails sent by businesses in 2015 were opened on a smartphone. Only 32% were opened up on desktops.

Most real estate brands and brokers aren’t aligned with this reality.

I get the generalized importance of the big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, robots-that-sell-real-estate hoopla swirling around the industry these days, but let’s nail the basics first, OK?

Enjoy the weekend.