Rewriting the book on how to kick ass

Alright! Everybody up
You say, I cannot get there from here
Then I don’t care where I’m goin’
Here’s to your thin red line
Mmm, I’m stepping over

— Van Halen, “Unchained”


Van Halen erupts onto the music scene finger tapping and tremolo diving like no one ever had before. Their music was living, breathing and pulsating from Eddie’s guitar and out his Marshall stacks in a wild combination of looped guitar effects sequenced in a whole new way.

They rewrote the book on how to kick ass.

I know, I don’t ask for permission
This is my chance to fly
Maybe enough ain’t enough for you
But it’s my turn at a try

What makes a rock star

True rock stars bring something different to the table. It’s why they rise to the top and stay there. They have a their own look. Their own special feel. It’s that difference that cut Zeppelin apart from Sabbath. And Deep Purple apart from Cream.

It’s the same in business. Rock star brands set themselves apart. Their look, their feel, their products, message, and service are all carved from that same sense and position. It’s what sets Apple apart and sends its sales soaring. 

Then there are the clone bands. The ones that copy someone’s else’s look, sound and feel. Like Badfinger. Like every hip-hop act since Tupac. 

Tell me that our industry isn’t filled with clone bands. Each copying the other. Same yard sign. Same newspaper ad. Same website. Same consumer proposition. Their lead singer agents? Mostly glam, no gravitas. Their lead guitarists? More suited for the campfire than the big stage.

I had posters on my wall as a kid. My room was a shrine to the artists I worshiped. I came to know them intimately through their music, their lyrics, their album art, their music.

As adults, we still build shrines. Only these days, the things we worship are the products we buy. The brands we swear by.

But does this relationship occur as often as it should in the context of the most important purchase American’s make? What real estate acts do consumers worship? What agent posters do they hang? And no, refrigerator magnets don’t count.


Real estate could use a few good rock star brokers encased in spandex, air humping their way across their boardroom inciting a riot. Inciting change. Or a solo artist agent crotch thrusting through their marketplace building new fans into a frenzy by virtue of their ingenuity, flair, and intense market brilliance. 

Real estate rock stars believe they do more than sell homes. They believe their customers are more than just leads. They believe in the big picture. They don’t reflexively resist anything different.

Change, nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, and ya hit the ground runnin’
Change, ain’t nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground runnin’


Nothing ever does stay the same. A European invasion is rocking our shores with foreign brands like Engel and Volkers, Dothomes and others coming into our space. Rock star practitioners like Noah Rosenblatt and Kevin Boer are emerging in market after market bringing with new strategies, new philosophies, and a forward looking disposition.

Whatever you thought was untouchable, unchangeable or sacred about your business, the emerging rock stars are leaving by the wayside. They’re bringing a whole new sound that is taking each of them up to the top of their local charts.

If you’re clinging to what you did, what was, what you know and what everyone else does …

Nothing ever stays the same.
Whatever, whoever, tries to keep it that way will wither.
And wander off into the fade.