There’s always something to howl about

My life as a dog: Five years of BloodhoundBlog.

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of BloodhoundBlog. Here is where we started, with a question that haunts me to this very day:

If almost-as-good is free or nearly free, what is the market value of slightly-better?

At the time that we launched, Zillow, Trulia and Redfin were new kids on the block, and traditional Realtors were casting a wary eye over their shoulders. It was an interesting time to write about real estate, even though some of what I wrote in those days seems comically stoopid to me by now.

(Caveat lector: Our archives always repay effort. I could wish that someone would comb through them and pull out the true gems — the category Enduring Interest is crying out for such a treatment. But even without that helpful handiwork, if you haven’t learned everything we have taught here, you could do worse than giving our posts over the past five years your regular attention.)

I love this place, and I love the work we have done here, but I can’t revisit the history of BloodhoundBlog without some sadness — and sadness is an emotion I’ve wanted for my whole life to know nothing about. But it remains that my most important goal for this weblog — unchained Realtors — remains unfulfilled.

Too much the contrary. Most of the people who were writing in the when BloodhoundBlog was young are on the slave-master side of the table by now, either as vendorsluts, Judas goats — or both. It’s not hard for me to deplore this outcome, but none of it would be possible without the active participation of the slaves, who line up to be yoked with an ox-like complacency. Despite all the opportunities technology affords us to break free of the brokers, the NAR, the Inmannequins, et infinitely cetera, there is something about most Realtors that seems to crave dependency, subordination and the attendant exploitation.

In response to this outcome, I must admonish myself with the words I have deployed on so many other people over the years: Cultivate indifference. For five years and more, we have been just that close to smashing all the icons, ridding ourselves forevermore of the vampires who have fed on us since 1910, at the least. But: The only mind I can change is my own. The only life I can make better is my own. The only business I can rightfully attend to is my own.

And this I have been doing. I sell a lot. I list now and then. I’m building the property management business. I’m writing software when I have time, and the software I’m writing does subtle and interesting things that slide right under the radar of my competition — assuming they’re paying attention to anything, anyway. I have new things coming, and I have so many ideas that I have had to resign myself to the fact that I will probably die before I can implement even half of them. What I don’t have much of, right now, is sympathy for my fellow oxen, stolidly traipsing around in circles, grinding flour for other people’s bread.

I would that things were different, but they’re not. There is no catcher in the rye, and it is not my purpose in life to incite the fury of lemmings for committing the awful crime of rescuing them from their chosen fate. The uniquely human life is never about zero, no matter how tragic and unnecessary zero might be.

Here is what I have: I am 51 years old, and yet I have never been a day over 19 in my mind. I caught myself last week feeling particularly young, and I had to remind myself consciously of how many birthdays I have seen. I live in a home I love, and despite repeated attempts over the past three years, I haven’t managed to lose it to foreclosure. I am in love with the sexiest GILF in the world, and our marriage has never been stronger than it is right now. I’m making money, and I’m on the bleeding edge of making a lot of money. My life is not without sorrow, sad to say, but my life has always been a thing of Splendor, and that just gets better year by year.

So here’s to BloodhoundBlog at five. Here’s to dogs without chains, to oxen without yokes and to minds free to map the illimitable everything of the uniquely human life. If you are not free, I’m sorry for you. But I am as free as I can make myself, and that matters to me more than anything.

Old Bushmills, three fingers, over ice. Cheers!


20 Comments so far

  1. Todd Carpenter June 28th, 2011 8:14 pm

    Congratulations Greg!

  2. Greg Swann June 30th, 2011 6:46 am

    Thanks, y’all. You’re very sweet.

    Todd Carpenter: You should give me a call the next time the Borg sends you to Phoenix. I’d love to buy you a drink.

    Andrew Mckay: Good on ya. You’re the kind of hard-working dog this place was built for.

    John Rowles: “the “Parsippany Syndrome”…” Brilliant. I was talking to Cathleen about the cluster-frolic that is RETS. It’s just a side-effect, but it’s amazing to think how different our world might be if our data were handled by data-processing professionals, rather than over-matched real estate brokers.

    Mark Madsen: “When are we going to have an Unchained Reunion?” Ryan Hartman may have something planned. Beyond that, I’m open to suggestions. I’ve always wanted to do something in Las Vegas, but I have no plans whatever right now.

    Jeff Kempe: I am so glad to hear from you. I think of you every time I pick up a guitar.

    And thanks to all of you for bringing Cathleen to BloodhoundBlog. She got off this bus at the intersection of Hubris and Fury, a long time ago. She reads us on her phone, but she hasn’t wanted to talk. It was fun to see her here.

  3. Roxanne Ardary June 29th, 2011 3:45 am

    Congratulations Greg 🙂

  4. Andrew Mckay June 29th, 2011 4:43 am

    Thanks Greg. I hope I am not going to go all North American touchy feely with this comment but “Bloodhound” was my first stop via Google when I got my license 3 years ago this month and knew there must be a better way of working as a Realtor than the throw business cards everywhere method.We moved to Canada from England in November 2007 and one of the big positives for me is that I can truely say I love my job ( sorry if I sound like one of the sugar coated realtors whose “purpose” is helping people not making money of course.)
    Blogging, social media, technology works for me and allows me to wake up with a smile about going to work.
    Number 2 in the office so far this year ( how bad are all the others I hear my English friends say.) The other 4 in the top must have combined experience of around 80 years plus compared to my 3.
    Boasting/bragging doesn’t come naturally to us Brits so I’ll stop there but congratulations and keep up the good work.

  5. John Rowles June 29th, 2011 4:56 am

    >there is something about most Realtors that seems to crave dependency, subordination and the attendant exploitation.

    Man, that about sums it up, doesn’t it? In General Psychology, something like this is called the “Stockholm syndrome” (see Patty Hearst). For real estate practitioners, I suggest the “Parsippany Syndrome”…

    I chose to try to be a force for change from within and — in terms of macro change — that hasn’t happened. I’ve managd to make a living, though, and maybe that makes me a vendor slut or Judas goat, but the one thing I’ve learned from this blog and from my experience with the industry in general is that brokers are the sun around which the RE solar system revolves.

    If change is going come, it will come when the brokers realize they are dependent, subordinate, and exploited . When I go to an NAR event and watch the brokers watching the shenanigans, I am starting to see a look on the faces of some of them that resembles the look Neo had when he was unplugged from the Matrix. Perhaps the time for a real change is nigh.

    I don’t know when we will be able to unplug enough brokers to make a difference, but I do know that when they do become aware of the Matrix, BHB is Zion and has been for 5 years. Good on ya, and cheers for that!

  6. Jimmy June 29th, 2011 5:43 am

    Congrats Greg! May that you always be 19 in your mind!

  7. Diane Brennan June 29th, 2011 10:20 am

    Just found your blog. Love the post and looking forward to reading many more.

  8. Brad Rachielles June 29th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Congratulations on 5 years of providing creative material with style and value. Above all, you have been unique, candid and on top of issues. While not “always” reflecting my opinions, your positions are well thought out and presented with literary flare… and for one, I will keep coming back. Press on…

  9. Mark Madsen June 29th, 2011 5:42 pm

    Congrats Greg! You’ve done an excellent job growing this site and providing a detailed history of the past five years in our industry.

    I’ve spent some time combing through the archives of this blog for treasure, and there is a lot to find. It’s fascinating to read the stories over the years that take us through a period of boom to bust, and then back towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

    When are we going to have an Unchained Reunion?

  10. Tony Sena June 29th, 2011 6:03 pm


    Congrats on 5 years! I have enjoyed your articles over the years and look forward to reading many more over the next 5!

  11. Scott Schang June 29th, 2011 6:26 pm

    Congratulations Greg! You are truly a trail blazer and a breath of fresh, never censored, air! Bloodhound Blog is the largest known reservoir of black pearls known to exist on the world wide web.

    I consider myself fortunate to have found this site when I did and am grateful for the opportunity to meet you and the other bloodhounds at both Unchained events and consider many in this community among the most rewarding relationships I’ve developed over the past few years.

    Thank you for all you do – Cheers! (raises glass)

  12. Robert Worthington June 29th, 2011 6:35 pm

    Bloodhound seems far better and more mature than 5 years. Great job Greg, and congratulations on your writing skills; it’s awesome

  13. Jeff Kempe June 29th, 2011 8:22 pm

    Greg, well done. Even though I let my RE license lapse three years ago, I’ve kept up the RSS feed and followed BHB – and you and Cathleen – through good and bad. You should know your moxie – some would mistakenly call it hubris – honesty and determination have kept a lot of us going.

    Bless you.

  14. Mark Green June 29th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Well done Greg and congratulations!

    Here’s to another 5 years of brilliance. I’ll be looking forward to the 10th Anniversary Vook Edition!

    Thanks for your dedication and passion, it’s damn inspiring.

  15. Cathleen Collins June 29th, 2011 11:11 pm

    @Jeff Kempe: This:

    You should know your moxie – some would mistakenly call it hubris – honesty and determination have kept a lot of us going.

    made me laugh. A little off topic — but not too far, since when we started BloodhoundBlog we were getting ready to go to Las Vegas to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary — is the idea of “hubris,” and what that means to Greg and me. Greg wrote about this a few years ago. We met online, when he responded to my personal ad, headed

    Intellect, Hubris Appreciated.

    I’d say he filled the bill!

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind regards.

  16. Teri Lussier June 30th, 2011 6:48 am

    >Here’s to dogs without chains, to oxen without yokes and to minds free to map the illimitable everything of the uniquely human life.

    Absolutely! And here’s to you, Greg.

  17. Scott Cowan June 30th, 2011 6:57 am

    Happy Birthday to Bloodhound Blog!

    I’ve enjoyed reading and re-reading the posts here for the past five years. There is always something to be gained when I visit the site.

    Greg, your idea about pulling out the true gems is a worthy task. I cannot dedicate the time to the effort but I know I would reap untold benefits if this task was ever accomplished. I sometimes simply click on random links within posts here and read the articles referenced. The information contained within this site is worth more to anyone who is willing to act on it than any coaching series or clock hour class available. To think that the content is free is staggering to me.

    I am excited to think what the next five years will bring for all of us here.

    Thanks for being you!

  18. Al Lorenz June 30th, 2011 9:03 am

    5 years, that would put the beginning in June of 2006. If you were running for some sort of political office, the claim would be made that the beginning of Bloodhound was also the beginning of the housing bust!

    It is a good thing Bloodhound has been around these challenging times. From Bloodhound folks can see success can be had by those willing to achieve it in any market while keeping their integrity intact.

    Sure Gregg, congratulations. But what I really want to express is thanks!

  19. Jim Klein July 1st, 2011 7:43 am

    ‘Twas the blog of a hound, and it worked like a sieve;
    Critiques flew across, so many tips were to give.
    From deep in the Page
    Came the words of a Sage
    Till finally, men learned how to live.

  20. Don Reedy July 4th, 2011 3:26 am

    A mere 51. Ah for the pleasures of youth.

    The Bible says the years of a man are 120, and if perchance you get another 69 years, then another generation of whippersnappers will ride on the coattails of Splendor. If not, then greedily I say that my “three fingers” have thus far brought me the grandest of pleasures.

    Congratulations for sure. But love and respect always.