Teaching an old dog new tricks

I spent almost 30 years in the PR sector building my own agency from scratch. It was a thrilling journey. I was a self-taught agency guy, having never worked in the field or studied it in college.

But towards the end of my time running my agency, I think I got stale. I was looking around for inspiration and really couldn’t find much. Of course, we adopted social media and the team I worked with at the firm was really great at it. But for me personally, I felt like I had overstayed my welcome in the agency world.

Maybe I was always haunted by not wanting to become "Willy Loman”. Maybe I also realized that I was the type of person who loved building things from scratch. For sure, I knew I wanted to re-invest in myself and start anew.

I became fascinated with “platforms” and since my only real source of any business expertise was media and PR, I eventually formed my own news platform for the real estate industry.

As part of my new gig, I would spend hours upon hours studying tech, media trends, other sites, etc. I was highly driven to learn where the media and tech worlds were heading. How they would intersect and form new solutions for companies and professionals and apply that to the real estate industry.

When I first began building my new site, I was constantly met with puzzled faces. It was no coincidence that most of the people I met with resembled me and had no idea what the hell I was talking about! Platforms? Curation? Social? "WTF is that” was the feeling I got day after day… for years.

But along the way of my second business journey, the most fascinating part and best source of my learning and re-education was from an unlikely but ultimately obvious source… the next generation of media/marketing/pr professionals!

As the real estate community began to embrace tech more and more, a new generation of professionals began to emerge and with them came a new way of thinking and a passion for bringing new tactics to the industry. With that group, it was a totally different experience. Instead of puzzled faces, I received nods of affirmation. And more importantly, I received tough questions. Questions that I wasn’t always prepared for about analytics, strategies and execution.  And as a result, it made me better. They totally sharpened my approach big time!

And so now, I am at the stage where we are getting real traction, real adoption and real innovation on our site and its coming from a new generation of marketing whizzes. Of course the “old guard” of folks like me are embracing it too. But a great deal of the passion for what we are doing is coming from new people who are joining the industry.

And it’s absolutely thrilling.

I make it part of my daily regimen to connect with as many of these innovators as possible. They truly get how to market real estate using content marketing, social and technology in ways that are on the leading edge. Some of the ones I have been most impressed with are: 

Mike Westgate of RealMassive

Danny Shachar of Compstak

Lindsay Fierro of NAI Global

Billy Fink of Hightower

Crystal Proenza of Honest Buildings

Victoria Graham of WiredScore

Julie M. Augustyn at Foundry Commercial

Sarah Malcolm of ICSC

Joe Stampone of Atlas Real Estate Partners

Jason Silfies of Coldwell Banker Commercial

Nell Gable of PivotDesk

And they are teaching this old dog new tricks!

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