Where I am on My Journey

Gentleman With Brains Tom West PICTURED: Tom West, Soul of a New Machine

Data leads to better experience.

Now I understand why Google search is not only the best search engine on the planet but it’s one of the most successful human inventions in history. It takes years and countless dollars to acquire empirical knowledge on a given field, it then takes at least three times that amount of time to really know what to make of the data.

My digital real estate marketing model has improved since ’07 when I stumbled upon an idea — have real estate leads come to me, instead of looking for needles in a haystack.

But, how?

The past seven years has been a bachelor, um, master’s degree, on learning how to make money on the real estate online world.  I can’t say that I haven’t loved it.  To my delight, regrets have been few and far in between.

Some things I’ve learned:

  1.  You don’t need a lot, but having a revolving capital at the launch of a new website sure makes life easier. Double your expense/investment projection.
  2. *Ideas can take a few years before it becomes a reality. Be patient with yourself.
  3. “Not everything worth doing is worth doing well.” I learned this from the Pulitzer price winning book, **Soul of a New Machine.

(*My idea of see-the-neighborhood-even-if-you’re-10,000 miles away took me three years from idea to #1 in Youtube. Here’s my favorite:

**Here’s the plot. Sorry, I can’t resist:

The book opens with a turf war between two computer design groups within Data General Corporation, a minicomputer vendor in the 1970s. Most of the senior designers are assigned the “sexy” job of designing the next-generation machine in North Carolina. Their project, code-named “Fountainhead”, is to give Data General a machine to compete with the VAX computer from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), which is starting to take over the new 32-bit minicomputer market. Meanwhile at the corporate headquarters at Westborough, Massachusetts, the few remaining senior designers there are assigned the much more humble job of improving Data General’s existing products. Tom West, the leader of the Westborough designers, starts a skunkworks project. Code-named “Eagle”, it becomes a backup plan in case Fountainhead fails, and then the company’s only hope in catching up with DEC. In order to complete the project on time, West takes risks: he elects to use new technology, and he relies on new college graduates (who have never designed anything so complex) as the bulk of his design team. The book follows many of the designers as they give almost every waking moment of their lives to design and debug the new machine.)


Last week, while on a pleasure trip to San Francisco, I came across a hip-looking real estate marketing office and when I inquired further, it turns out this was the office that was offered to me 5 years ago to lead.

Back then, the owner had a different business, and he was doing really well, but he wanted to expand to “real estate” marketing of luxury condos from an Asian country, as the biggest opportunity for new clients was in Northern California. Through a common friend, I was referred.

It was a crossroads time for me: a plum job with car and apartment benefits, commission, monthly wage vs. barely making it, but learning this internet real estate business stuff.

Wild guess.

When I was sitting at their couch, looking at their schnazzy brochures and *branded high rise condo towers for sale, strangely enough, I didn’t feel an iota of regret for not taking their offer. (Maybe I am also insane.)

(*I saw so much’ brand names’ attached to selling the condos — ‘Versace Furniture’, ‘Paris- Hilton-inspired Club’, that sort.. — I thought I was zapped into Rodeo Drive for a moment there.)

It took me years to really be confident that I can make a real living out of this. I am still paranoid that maybe all of this is a sham. But nowadays, it’s mostly “productive paranoia”. I don’t think I would’ve gotten to this point without some irritatingly, rough lessons along the way — and lots of small failures.

But sticking it out and not quitting does play a huge role in eventually finding a good, sustainable business model.

From now on, I will be working on this site more — blogging, doing  interviews, building tools, reaching out to other digital marketers.

I can’t wait.