Lost to the World Wide Web

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Mackintosh REALTORS 82894
When I became a licensed REALTOR® in 1985 I carried my Day-Timer every where I went. It held all my contacts and daily schedule. Our messages at the office were on a pink "While You Were Out" slip. Later in the  1980's the pink slips were replaced by voice mail. Our office was the first in our market place to implement a voice mail system and as this became the norm many agents were fearful of adapting to the new technology. Our message boxes soon became fax boxes and as we journeyed towards the 1990's the World Wide Web was in it's infant stage. 
One of my favorite quotes best represents what happened to the many agents who refused to adapt to the rapidly changing technology.
"In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

Eric Hoffer

Many seasoned agents found the emerging technology more threatening than new and exciting because they refused to become comfortable with the new way of conducting business. Therefore many agents retired or changed their career path.
My Day-Timer and pager became relics of the past as a cell phone and internet contact management program replaced them. I enrolled for my first email address with Prodigy, and I still use that address today along with a few others.

In 2003 when I served as the President of the Frederick County Association of REALTORS® the spring market was roaring. Our office phone lines were ring off the hook with inquires and scheduling showings. Many who called the office were getting a busy signal which needed a quick solution. While attending the May NAR mid year meetings in Washington DC I found the answer to our busy signal issue at the trade show.
Centralized Showing Service was a web based call center that scheduled showings and requested feed back from agents. Our office was the first one to sign up in the Mid-Atlantic region. The very first day CSS took over they set up sixty showings for our office which equated to sixty less calls to our switch board and this freed up the duty agents and receptionist's time to do more productive things. The web based feed back also saved an abundance of time calling agents for feedback. The sellers can also now log in to the CSS website to review the feedback and keep track of the showings as they occur on their property. 
CSS was ultimately acquired by ShowingTime and incorporated into the BrightMLS system which became another time saving advantage for agents.  
Having entered the real estate industry during the pre-internet era I have experienced many changes as a result of the World Wide Web. Transactions are more streamlined and move at a more rapid pace. There are fewer phone conversations and in person communication. Technology keeps advancing and challenges us to step out of our comfort zone. Those who choose not to keep up, as Mr. Hoffer states, will be "equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

Comments (20)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I love the Eric Hoffer quote you chose.  It is so true that learners inherit the world.  I enjoyed reading the post.  A

Jan 16, 2022 01:49 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Ron and Alexandra Seigel that is my favorite quote by Eric Hoffer!

Jan 16, 2022 04:38 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Buzz, although you began in this biz much earlier, I can see all those early years too.   Very cool that you got CSS signed up so early.   That really did free up the front desk.

Jan 16, 2022 02:10 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Joan Cox , CSS was a God send ! It is not good having your competitors tell you you phone line is ringing busy !

Jan 16, 2022 04:51 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Buzz I have always embraced the technology that would help in making life easier....there are some things I like to control and share with my clients personally or via email.... or over the phone.... that is feedback from other agents and clients.... not wanting to be replaced by technology and providing client service...Endre

p.s.: miss the pre curser to the pink slip the carbonless copy of the messages:)Endre

Jan 16, 2022 02:20 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Endre Barath, Jr. Having an agents feedback in writing in their own words has a major impact on Sellers. I also still like to discuss feedback personally over the phone with Sellers as well. I also remember the days of the one page carbon contract, " Press hard there are 4 copies!"

Jan 16, 2022 04:02 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello Buzz Mackintosh 

I like the Eric Hoffer quote. Showing services are not big in my area, at least not yet. As I reflect back, I wonder what the transition would have been like for me in real estate, pre-internet. Either way, we adopted or were left to interact with the dinosaurs.


Thank you for participating in the January 2022 challenge. 

Jan 16, 2022 02:47 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist  Thank you for co-hosting this months challenge , it was fun to reminisce about the good "o'll days"!

Jan 16, 2022 04:10 PM
Gwen Fowler-864-710-4518 SC * Mountain* Lake*Home
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

I loved the look back in time.  Everything changes, and it is necessary to keep up with the changes.  I think the next five years will bring even more of these changes, and I hope to stay ahead of what is coming.

Jan 16, 2022 03:17 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Gwen Fowler-864-638-3599 SC Mountains Lakes Homes  It will be interesting to see what new and exciting changes are waiting around the corner!

Jan 16, 2022 04:22 PM
Gwen Fowler-864-710-4518 SC * Mountain* Lake*Home

I had the first fax machine, and I got internet in 1993--because I needed to communicate with someone daily, and it did not cost what a phone call did.  Technology is expensive at first but usually gets cheaper as more companies enter the field.

Jan 16, 2022 04:33 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Buzz- I remember those pink "While you were out" pads and loved my Filofax that had everything in it!!! That quote by Eric Hoffer is perfect. 

Jan 16, 2022 05:29 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Kathy Streib Thank you for the weekly reminder with the January Challenge. I did this post during the snow storms & football games !

Jan 17, 2022 07:21 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Buzz - the Eric Hoffer quote is a new one to me (or at least one I don't immediately recall).  It's so true.  

As for those "while you were out" message slips, where did I put that supply?  Is it along with the rolodex, the fax (and the telex) machine and those bulky multiple listing books?  Oh, how time flies.  So fast at times and yet so slow at others.  

Jan 17, 2022 05:08 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

 Michael Jacobs when I was a newbie my chore was to pick up the 100+ MLS books for the office from the local board every other week.

Jan 17, 2022 07:09 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Buzz... I was in the corporate world when voice mail first "arrived." But I do remember the excitement of having it. By the time I became a Realtor, voice mail was "normal." Cell phones... not so much, if at all. Still remember the days of carrying a roll of quarters in my handbag to check my voice mail at public phone booths in NYC.

Jan 17, 2022 06:28 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

Nina Hollander, Broker I remember having to find a payphone when an appointment would no show to find out what happened to them! ):

Jan 17, 2022 07:04 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Buzz,
I remember all of that and I'm dating myself even further when I say I remember the days of rotary phones!  I was always quick to adopt anything that gave me more freedom from the confines of that phone cord.

Jan 17, 2022 06:34 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

  Carol Williams we had some VHS training videos that had the rotary phones in them. Many of the newbies would always comment on that back in the day !

Jan 17, 2022 07:01 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Monday morning, Buzz.

Take care if you have snow to shovel this morning.

Jan 17, 2022 06:45 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

Did this post during the storm and the clean up starts this morning!

Jan 17, 2022 06:57 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Buzz - Thanks for the travel back through memory lane.  That picture of the "While You Were Out" pad, hits home.  I used pads exactly like that one, for my first decade after being licensed in 1981.

Jan 17, 2022 01:26 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Buzz, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jan 17, 2022 01:28 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Myrl Jeffcoat Thanks for the feature!

Jan 17, 2022 06:59 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

OMG Buzz that is so such a throw back to my first years in the business starting in 87!  I had to laugh on how I had totally forgot about how excited I was to have so many messages I received upon return to the office!!!   And I do recall the central calling service - that was very helpful back in those days.   Very fun read - thanks!

Jan 17, 2022 02:44 PM
Buzz Mackintosh

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker We always had a bunch of those pink pads around the duty desk.

Jan 17, 2022 07:01 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Buzz Mackintosh - that's a mighty powerful and truthful quote by Eric Hoffer. I never heard it before; therefore, thank you!

Reading your post was deja vu all over again! Change is fine but when it takes on a life of its own and leaves you in the dust, it's not okay. What I disliked the most was having to sit through so many new training sessions taught by Instructors or people from the office who weren't even qualified to teach and I didn't learn anything. I also had some who could really persuade the class how great and good they were and they conveniently left out important information on purpose. Those were the people who were motivated by greed and didn't want anyone else to advance. They wanted to be kingpins and be glorified for their track record, calling it just competition. 

I really liked your post!

Jan 18, 2022 10:02 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Oh I do remember so well those pink While You Were Out Messages. It was so exciting going into the office and seeing all those messages on our phone. No rotary phone for us, were ahead of the game with a push-button phone!

Jan 19, 2022 05:07 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

Prodigy - nice flashback complete with the sound of the screeching dial up modem connecting.

Your blog also reminded me of a client of mine that used to work for Iomega and did a presentation to stock analysts when they were promoting their Zip Drives.  They could store 100 - 750 MB of data.  The analyst looked at him and said "That is an amazing product for problem that no longer exists".  I think I used mine about a dozen times at the most before it was obsolete.

Also remember the old PCMCIA cards that were used for a while to expand memory and for modems?  I tell people that acronym stands for People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms. 

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! 

Jan 19, 2022 12:30 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Buzz - OMG you actually saved a screen shot of the Prodigy login.  That is a blast from the past for me.

Jan 20, 2022 06:09 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

Grant Schneider and I still have my prodigy.net email address !

Jan 20, 2022 07:53 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

You brought back many memories Buzz Mackintosh . Now I'm trying to think of the name of my first email provider as well as the folks who first offered free internet access. I think I have floppies at home with their names on them so I'll go look at lunch time.

Jan 21, 2022 07:16 AM
Buzz Mackintosh

Bob "RealMan" Timm the disks that I received in the mail all the time were Prodigy & AOL in the early days.

Jan 22, 2022 06:16 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

This was a fun read, Buzz, and quite a walk back in time.

Eric Hoffer's quote is so on target.


Feb 07, 2022 12:28 PM