I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Matt Mullenweg? If you listen to the Tim Ferris Show (the #1 ranked business podcast on itunes), you may remember him being interviewed on episode 61. If not, Matt Mullenweg founded one of the largest websites in the world. Even if you don’t know his name, there’s a good chance you know of, or even use, the website – it’s called WordPress.com.
I was curious to know more about Matt and discovered he owns a company called Automatic. On that website, I came across something fascinating. A chart and the words “ One of these things is not like the other”.
Like any industry – where it’s a battle to attract paying customers – everybody wants to claim they are the best.
In the online world, the customers are usually those who pay to advertise on those websites. The metric they focus on, in order to attract advertising revenue, is their number of unique visitors. Take a look at Google for instance, they top the charts at a whopping 232 million unique visitors per month… “spend your money with us because we get the most unique visitors …”
But WordPress is fundamentally different. Although they rank second for ‘unique visitors’, they are not driven by the the advertising dollar. Instead, WordPress has an altruistic mission. It’s what’s known as ‘Open Source’ – meaning the code, the blueprint so to speak, is free to the public. It’s kind of like ‘sharing the knowledge’ for the benefit of all. In a way WordPress is the nemesis of ‘Proprietary Code’ developed by the big commercial software companies.
Also, the metrics the ‘big boys’ in an industry want you to focus on can be very misleading. Take note of the next column in the chart. Look at how many employees each company has. In Google’s case 57,000 verses just 430 employees for WordPress. Google needs 57,000 people to generate 232M visits. That’s approximately 4000 visits per month per employee. WordPress on the other hand generates 306,000 visits per month per employee.
The point being, and the one I think Matt was making… who is actually better at what they do? Who is the most productive? And most importantly, what metric should be used to determine who is the best for you?
The real estate industry is similar in many ways. The battle is to attract sellers. Yes, you read that correctly. As I wrote about in the controversial report, “The sales job in real estate is not what you think”, the focus of the real estate industry is to win your listing. After all, you, as the seller, are the one who pays.
In order to attract you, real estate companies claim to be the best. They beat their chests about the metrics they want you to focus on… “List your property with us because we are the biggest… we have the most salespeople… we do the most advertising … we make the most sales… ”
In fact, the preached path to ‘market share’ in the traditional real estate business model, is what many call “bums on seats”. The thinking goes something like this:
Take on as many commission-only salespeople as possible… the more salespeople they have running around… the bigger their profile will be… the bigger they will look… the more sellers they will attract… and therefore, the more sales their company will make and the more commissions they will take. It’s not about the quality of the salespeople, how unproductive they may be, or how bloated and inefficient the industry has become… Their definition of “best” is “biggest”. This is what drives their model.
But is that metric, the right definition of “best” for you, as a home seller?
I think not. You don’t care one hoot about which agent has the biggest ‘profile’. You care about two simple things:
Trust – can your agent be trusted give you the right advice, and
Profit – how much you end up with in your hand after all expenses.
This is why we chose to pioneer a different path… to restate what it means to be the “best” for you, our clients. We believe the “best” means giving you the right advice, being the most efficient and generating you the most profit. This is what drives our model.
In a way, we aspire to be more like WordPress than Google.