THE REVENGE OF ANALOG
June 16, 2017 | Richard Sites
Why Technology Might Let You Down
I decided to write on this subject for 2 reasons which I will outline in a moment. Basically, as a real estate agent, I spend a lot of time using technology and know my way around gadgets pretty well.
I also attend a lot of online webinars. When your business depends on technology working, business stops when techology stops. So, here I sit waiting to input a million dollar listing into the MLS while the little wheel on my computer screen goes around and around. I guess it’s thinking.
After receiving the above pictured message, I restarted the browser and, after a couple of minutes of waiting, got this message: Please verify that this is a valid ColdFusion data source What??
And this is the problem with technology in a nutshell.
I’ll grant you there is an allure to technology otherwise why would people want to put up with something that works so poorly or stand in line all night to get the latest iPhone?
I grew up in a time when the telephone sat quietly on the table, worked all the time, and didn’t need an electric line since the power came through the phone line.
If a hurricane knocked out power to your house, you would still have a telephone.
Today, if you have a smart phone, you are lucky if it lasts most of the day without recharging. Once, in LAX, I witnessed 2 women fighting over a power outlet for their phones and travelers now pack power strips in their suitcases.
When my son comes to visit, he thinks it is perfectly normal to walk out to the street to get a cell phone signal. I also once listed a home at $2.4 million that was located in-town but still had no cell service.
Michael Hyatt, a certified tech expert, recommended a book called, “The Revenge of Analog” by David Sax. Seems the pendulum is swinging back away from technology as people deal with it’s shortcomings.
The Paperless Agent
In Austin, Texas there is a real estate company called Good Life Luxury. They were called the most innovative real estate company in America by Inman News and Apple came to their office and made a commercial about their use of the iPad as the de facto tool for agents.
And I can tell you they do a really great job. In fact, I got so inspired I followed all their steps to becoming a Paperless Agent, grabbed my iPad and went out to show a $700,000 house. I arrived in Rialto, one of our new communities of nearly 600 new homes, earlier than my clients to make sure my presentation of the home went smoothly only to find I was out of cell phone coverage. Here I stood in a major new community and yet had not coverage.
(Update: I now have friends who live in Rialto and when visiting them I have to go outside to use my iPad.)
Yes, I know I could have downloaded the MLS date sheet to a PDF and viewed in iBooks or Evernote Premium but that’s not the point. Analog, or the old paper printout, would not have required these extra steps nor left me stranded while waiting for customers.
Click “Print”, grab the paper and walk out the door. I could have gone to the North Pole and still had the data with me.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for Evernote in real estate and I plan to address that in upcoming posts, but the more complex things become, the more vulnerable they are to breakdown. In fact, most realtors use a GE Supra lockbox that requires the following in order to operate it: lockbox, app, 30 digit activation code, batteries, spare batteries, cell phone connection, satellites and periodic app updates.
I once stood outside a home for 20 minutes while I contacted Supra customer support and had to receive an app update from them since I had not used the app recently. They also told me it would be helpful to turn on the app once a week “just to be safe”. Yeah, I’ll be doing that.
The Master Company has been making locks for years which require none of this technology, will secure the home, and are not subject to technology failure. While tech is cool, the Amish have largely dismissed this from their lives.
Back in the Day
Before technology, real estate agents kept copies of needed paperwork in their car. When the time was right, they would have clients sign on the hood of the car.
In fact, mega-salesman and real estate agent Tom Hopkins made a career out of filling out the forms while looking at a home and then just asking for the signature. He became hugely successful with this strategy.
Since I work from home, I often eat lunch while listening to webinars on real estate, or, believe it or not, technology. There are very few of these presentations without technical difficulties and they are often re-broadcast because of these problems.
Even when “geeks” present these webinars things don’t go as planned.
In summary, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. As my 94 year old father would say, “Don’t put a $40 saddle on a $10 horse”.
BTW-The wheel is still going around on the browser and I cannot fill out the listing agreement.
Where’s my paper & pen?