Every Apple product launch comes with a large dose of hope to go with the hype.
The New iPad Launched Yesterday. I’ve already ordered mine. I’m not going to go over the insane specs of the new screen or enter the debate about whether it lives up to the hype or not. Much has been written about it in the last 24 hours. More will come. To his credit, within the first few hours after the announcement, Joel Burslem wrote this excellent post, “What the new iPad means for Real Estate.”
“It’s going to make nearly every real estate website out there look, well, pretty fuzzy,” Joel wrote. “Ever tried to watch a standard definition TV signal on your HDTV – looks pretty horrific, right? Those photos and icons you optimized in 1999 for a 56k dial-up modem connection are going to need some serious attention. Stat.” He also talks about how it will give real estate video a “shot in the arm.”
I think his assessment of the potential is spot on. My concern is this – it’s just the latest technology to come with the hope of providing this elusive kick in the butt the industry needs. For different reasons, a similar post could have been written about the original iPad or the iPad 2. In fact, similar words have been written for the last five years. Over and over and over again, with every advance in technology.
Too many real estate photos still suck, and brokers allow it. The plethora of brokers and agents who continue to push out bad real estate videos will still push out bad videos when they’re shot in HD and displayed in all the glory of the new iPad’s retina display. The inspiration for wholesale, long-term change in quality is not going to come from these external technology forces.
There were no technological limitations to making these changes happen before yesterday. And there was no shortage of solid business rational to justify the change. Perhaps there are agents this morning saying, “Wow, the resolution on that new iPad screen is amazing. Finally, I have the reason I was waiting for to step up my online game, to take better photos and create higher quality, more compelling videos.” Perhaps.
The source of any inspiration can be internal or external. But inspiration that stems from external forces, like technology, is temporary and needs continual external reinforcement. Inspiration that stems from an internal source has the potential to be long-term and self energizing. What the real estate industry needs to make the shift Joel is talking about is more than the new iPad can deliver.
Great work is never externally motivated.
What Joel is arguing for is for great work. Inspired work. Great work always contains a palpable element of depth, it goes beyond knowledge and skills. It has a spiritual quality that can only come from an inner fire. Perhaps the new iPad can be the spark, but the fire will to need to be fueled by something internal if it’s going to have any staying power.
Inspiration to fuel the kind of change Joel is arguing for has to come from within each agent, within each broker, within each brand. And if the new iPad is the spark that lights that fire, I hope we’ll be able to look back and say, “Joel nailed it.” I’ll be happy if he did.
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Photo: Creative Commons license by canon7dude via Flickr.
Teresa Boardman says
Seriously? It is true that brokers allow sucktastic photos but so do home owners. If they would just start demanding better photos the way they demand open houses and a bunch of things that don’t matter nearly as much the photos would improve immediately.
Jeff Turner says
Certainly, if homeowners demand it, it will happen. But it will also happen if brokers demanded it as well. That requires them to actually want to, to actually have the desire to, to actually give a crap about the quality of the work that falls under their brand and not just give lip service to it. That has nothing to do with technology and doesn’t need a push from a homeowner to make it happen. Are you arguing against that, Teresa?
Chase Thompson says
I’ve been screaming myself horse for three years this exact same message. Less eloquently, but still…
Why is it that internal inspiration is hard to come by within the industry? Not to pigeonhole this industry because its rampant all over, but why is the search for the silver bullet so fierce?
Gregg Borodaty says
As usual well said. I was thinking almost the same thing yesterday when I saw Joel’s post. A change in one product that is still a small (but I’ll admit growing) percentage of the market shouldn’t change people’s behavior. As you point out, we should always be striving to produce great work – the products are a way to showcase it, not to make us do it.
Audie Chamberlain says
No matter what new technology or device comes out, we should always be striving to be better. The new iPad, which is pretty similar to the previous one except for better camera and screen resolution, shouldn’t be the driving force. There is always going to be some new thing that will push the masses along, we see this all the time in social media, but if you are really looking for that new thing to give you inspiration for change then you’re being reactive rather than proactive. A new device can serve as the catalyst of change sometimes but it shouldn’t be the only thing that inspires brokers and agents to continue to improve. You make a great point Jeff when you say that inspiration that comes from external forces is temporary while inspiration from internal forces is self-energizing.
Teresa Boardman says
Jeff – I agree it would happen if brokers demanded it but they won’t.
Chris Johnson says
You can always spot the genuine article even if you don’t know exactly “why” you are drawn to it.
Jeff Turner says
Bill Leider says
External inspiration is like massage therapy. You just lie there while someone else does all the work and you feel sooo much better – for about an hour.
Teresa is correct – if homeowners demanded better photos, we’d be seeing better photos. Jeff, you are also correct – if brokers demanded better photos we’d have better photos. Since no one is demanding better photos, the ONLY motivating force is the individual REALTOR. I think that the people who are already doing a great job will have a tool to do an even better job. And the rest will continue doing what they’ve been doing.
And that behavior pattern is not confined to the world of real estate. We see it everywhere. Mediocrity is quite popular – and unfortunately it’s growing faster than the rate of job growth. And the great paradox in all this is that every single one of us has the power to choose excellence as a way of life. Yet so few do. What do you suppose are the reasons?
Teresa Boardman says
Bill, I had wanted to add onto my comment to not forget that for most businesses to change there has to be an incentive. There really isn’t an incentive for brokers it insist upon good photography and there is no evidence that people will list their homes with a brokerage that does insist on photographic perfection. Brokers will respond to client demands and to the bottom line.