Who Killed BlockBuster?

Real Estate Agent SL3287291

Do you remember the days when you wanted to watch a video, you went to BlockBuster and looked through their shelves for just the right video?

It could take some time because you had to look at several. You could even take more than one. When you found the "right" ones, you went to the counter and checked them out for a fee. They gave you a deadline to return them or a late fee would be charged.

I heard people proclaiming that this was one of the most wonderful things to happen to improve our lives.

They opened stores all over the country and no one could touch their business model.

But along came Netflix, in the early 1990s.They were worried that they could not compete with BlockBuster. They had a different model, they would mail DVDs to your home. That cost money and they feared they would fail.

Netflix tried to convince BlockBuster to find a way to partner with them. But BlockBuster did not understand that there was a disruption force standing in front of them and they declined. 

A Fatal Mistake

BlockBuster believed they were too big and successful to be disrupted and did not need to make any change in their business model.

Within 2 years Netflix surpassed BlockBuster and BlockBuster was not prepared to compete.

People wanted convenience and Netflix provided that for them. Netflix further developed and modified their process by doing away with DVDs and went to online downloading of videos. 

Netflix really came up with a fairly simple way of meeting peoples needs. If BlockBuster had visionary leadership they would have taken the opportunity to buy out Netflix. They had the financial resources to do so, they just lacked forward thinking people at the helm.

They result is that BlockBuster died. The giant had been taken down.


I see some parallels to Real Estate


I see agents today that have a really great business going, but they operate under the Ostrich Effect.

This effect comes because people do not like to hear bad news and they do what they can to avoid it.

Many are like BlockBuster, I am doing great and I will continue and I really don't care about the Disruptor's.

It takes Vision, and Awareness of what is going on to make adjustments that are needed to continue being great.

Some people think that it was the late fees that BlockBuster charged for not returning the videos on time that took their customers away. 

I don't think that was what sunk the ship. I think the leadership failed to see the coming changes because of Pride. 

We have a great business plan and it is working well and we take pride in our achievements. And we should. But to let that pride keep us from keeping up with the trends and the disruptors could be a fatal blow.

Let me be clear: I do not think we have to change to become everything the disruptors do. Many of the real estate disruptors have a model that I do not see how I could be part of.

But, it does call us to think of the opportunities we can take advantage of. Change is coming, change is here.

Instead of complaining or hiding, we need to look at what we can do to tap into the needs of the consumer in ways that are not being done.

We have a choice: Operate like a BlockBuster or become creative like Netflix.

This is really a time of great opportunity if we open our eyes and put aside our fear of change.

What opportunities do you see for the real estate business?



Comments (149)

John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Debe Maxwell, CRS change is not always easy or comfortable.

But it is part of life. Our job is to keep up with trends and be in position to adapt when necessary.

Thanks for sharing you memories, sounds like some great ones.


May 29, 2018 10:17 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

John I just wanted to stop in and see if you are ready for more great wisdom like this to share with the AR community? Endre

May 30, 2018 10:08 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Andre, thanks for the reminder.

Best of wishes

May 31, 2018 03:42 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

WOW! Many great comments on this blog post. I'm looking forward to your next one!

May 31, 2018 05:34 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon John - I can see the you are recognizing the wave with energy efficiency advocacy in buildings.

May 31, 2018 10:10 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Grant Schneider I am definitely moving into the niche of Energy Efficient homes.

I have found that people really respond to saving money.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

May 31, 2018 01:21 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Patricia Feager I have really enjoyed the great comments left by members.

I often find when reading posts of others that the conversation is enhanced by the sharing of the great members here.

I think adding the different perspectives and experiences is valuable.

Thanks for your great contributions.

May 31, 2018 01:24 PM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

The best opportunity I have seen and feel greatful to have chosen is to join one of the disruptors eXp Reality. I am now making 100% plus commissions from revenue share, getting stock from my company and buying stock every time I get a commission check at a discount. And that stock has grown enough to enable me to retire whenever I desire.

May 31, 2018 05:23 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Michael Eisenberg glad you found what works for you.

Best wishes

Jun 01, 2018 06:04 AM
Michael Eisenberg


Jun 01, 2018 09:18 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Augmented reality, aritificial intelligence, and Blockchain is about to be major disrupters.

Jun 01, 2018 02:49 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Joe Pryor there really is a growing number of attempts at disrupting the real estate business.

We have a choice as to how we will respond.

Thanks for your comments.

Jun 01, 2018 03:51 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

What incredible insight you have. That's why we have to think outside the box. Great post, John. P.S.: We are never too big to fail!

Jun 08, 2018 02:54 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS thank you for that positive affirmation.

I totally agree with you: because of the disruptions that come more and more we will have to think outside the box to survive and indeed-We are never too big to fail.

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

Jun 09, 2018 03:38 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

There are so many changes especially for real estate... and how to best get leads, sales, Internet....my head sometines spins with all the new social media sites.  Great post!

Jun 15, 2018 07:02 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® thanks for your input.

The changes are rapid in social media and it is hard to keep up with the trends.

I have found that the more current I am with the overall trends of the market the better I can navigate the changes.

Don't let your head spin to much.


Jun 16, 2018 03:57 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Great thoughts here, John. My daughter had a job in high school working at Blockbuster at the mall. We were very thankful she had an opportunity to work. Kids now have fewer opportunities outside of fast food.

Jun 21, 2018 06:27 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Debbie Reynolds there was a time when young people had opportunities for all kinds of work.Some were valuable learning experiences.

I would be interested in your daughters memories of her experience at Blockbuster.

I hope she took away some great lessons.

Thanks for sharing.

Jun 22, 2018 11:13 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Great post John Wiley so glad that I caught in on Debbie Reynolds reblog!   Blockbuster is a company that got left in the dust...hopefully, the NAR leadership is taking note of the issues in leading from behind...

Jun 24, 2018 02:10 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Lisa Von Domek Blockbuster got left in the dust by their own doing. They past up the chance to partner or buy Netflix. They did not have forward thinking.

NAR as well as our own businesses should take heed.

I really appreciate your comments.

Jun 25, 2018 04:59 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

I agree John Wiley Blockbuster had no one to blame for their demise but themselves.  And if we don't get NAR to listen to what we, the Realtors, are telling them...we may be in the same boat!

Jun 25, 2018 11:38 AM

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