Friday Flash: Keller Kabuki

Let me float this past you:

Gary Keller isn’t high.

Gary Keller isn’t deluded.

Gary Keller doesn’t have a messiah complex.

Gary Keller isn’t taking his company off a cliff.

Gary Keller isn’t scared.

More obviously, Gary Keller is a man who owns a company that’s in the business of selling franchises and (re)recruiting agents.

And Gary Keller is a man who knows his customer.

If you’re selling franchises and recruiting agents right now, it’s a good idea to be communicating one point as convincingly as possible:

I got this.

Gary is doing this masterfully.

Maybe it’s because marketing is what I do, but I’m beginning to believe that whether or not KW’s tech lives up to its promise is perhaps not the point.

It’s the story, stupid.

And there’s no better storyteller in real estate than Gary Keller.

Real estate’s waters are roiled. The view ahead isn’t clear. People are nervous. Nervous people like confident people. People without clarity are drawn to those who claim to possess it. Leaders showing “vulnerability” are all the rage right now. But not in Keller’s world.

If you’re wigged out about portals, Compass, AI, discounters, ibuyers, data bandits and a looming recession, someone telling you he’s going to make you the “Netflix of real estate” is sweet, sweet music.

I’m not lovin’ it. But then, I’m not an agent.

I think Gary Keller is smart enough to know that he’s not going to take out the RE tech kingpins. I think he knows that one platform could never satisfy even a slim majority of his own network.

Gary’s building some nice tech that will be used by some agents. But he’s using it to stage an elaborate kabuki that’s already captivating the entire industry.

You may think that’s cynical, or that I’m cynical to think that the software that ships isn’t what this is about.

But you gotta admit, he’s got us all paying attention.

Interesting tidbit from a broker I ran into at the Leading RE show in Las Vegas this week:

“All the agents I’ve lost to Compass got $50,000 in what they call ‘marketing credits’ as part of their signing bonus. I’ve heard from these agents and none of them know what to do with this, because none of them know what marketing is.”

So much to unpack there…

RETS is the Esperanto of code languages. Nobody speaks it but the weirdos. Yet it’s still foisted upon people tasked with building things with real estate data.

Brokers are still struggling with inconsistencies in something as fundamental as an IDX feed.

It’s crazy that we’re still talking about this stuff in 2019. But it does seem that we’re nearing an inflection point thanks to the efforts of industry volunteers who have worked through the complexities of data standards and pushed for the transition from RETS to Web APIs.

What real estate data geeks do is important.

How about this for a mind-bender:

The people you see here were generated entirely by AI. They don’t exist. Keep refreshing the page.

Let that sink in and try and sleep well tonight.

On the bright side, this may help us fully realize the vision for synthetic, “human-free” real estate leads I shared here 12 years ago.

Yeesh, 12 years…

Speaking of leads, seriously: ReferralExchange, a long-time 1000watt client, released a new product called LIVE, which gives agents a complete solution for verifying, managing, tracking or referring their leads.

The ReferralExchange team always does things right, and smart. And they do it without the “digital waterboarding” some shops employ to flush out consumers who have made the grievous mistake of inquiring about real estate services.

I’m going to Inman’s Disconnect event in Palm Springs in a couple months. If you can snag an invite, do go — it’s excellent. The whole vibe allows you to downshift into a place where conversations about real estate stuff and life stuff just come easier.

It’s also the only real estate event where I’ve felt comfortable shedding my suit-and-tie uniform in favor of shorts and flip-flops. That’s saying something, believe me.

Enjoy the weekend.

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