...the real estate industry leaders of old watch from their box seats with nice, cold beers in hand.
On Monday, I published a blog post drawing attention to the fact that the founders of Zillow and Trulia are known for successfully leading companies that dis-intermediate industries. My intention, by posting in such a sensationalist manner, was to draw attention to my belief that the long time leaders of our industry have not done their part to stay ahead of the innovation curve. Now, because of that lack of new innovation, outsider-led companies like Zillow and Trulia are among the most powerful and influential companies in our industry.
I have always supported the real estate practitioner's use of these outsider-led, venture-backed companies because I believed that the innovation and competition offered by these companies would compel the traditional real estate companies to step up their game and in the process, provide benefit to everyone involved: the consumer, the industry and of course, the businesses involved.
However, the issue traditional companies and leaders face now is that they have not stepped up their game and presented adequate new ideas to compete with these larger, new innovators who are encroaching on their territory. Instead, they have rolled over to these companies, given up their listings to these "newer and better versions of themselves", and in the process, created a power-shift to those who seek to change the real estate business as we know it.
Do these leaders have a genuine interest in the real estate professionals, or did they choose this industry solely because they viewed it as vulnerable to a major business model change?
To Trulia and Zillow: Continue what you're doing. The new empowerment and value you are bringing to the consumer is admirable.
To the Traditional Real Estate Leaders: Step up your game. Invest in in-house technological developments and force the new generation of real estate innovators to see you as serious competition. Give them a run for their money!
*It's interesting to note that Trulia moved from last place in the group to #2 in less than a one year time-frame.
**I've been working in this industry since I was 14 years old, and have been an agent since I was 18. I've written this post as a plea to my industry leaders, the people I have looked up to for more than the last 10 years, to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to their agents, and brokers, and re-enter the fight to create the most cutting edge real estate technology that our collective home buying and selling clients deserve.