There’s always something to howl about

Let’s Be Clear About Social Media

I keep thinking I’m going to stop posting here.  I keep thinking that I’m going to get sucked into the vortex of rancor that BHB can be.   And then we get these gems of conversation from Brian, Jeff, Al & Greg.  And I’m drawn right back in.   Nothing’s perfect, everybody’s crazy, right?  Life goes on, and the closest I will get to a rebuttal of Greg’s impractical rancor is that it’s wallet-foolish to criticize someone that competes for some of the same business you do. Saving my rancor for when it matters has doubled my income. Your milage may vary.

I digress. Circling back to my take on Facebook.   I post there often, it’s in my opening tabs as I start my computer.  I look around and peruse.  I make some money from it, mostly in the form of the zombies.

Zombies?  These are the strangers that add me randomly on Facebook.  I consider that an “opt in”, so I add them back and put them on a “social media” list in Heap.

And then I send my new pseudo-friends a torrent of spam and calls.  They cry uncle with an Amex.   They are mostly realtors.

I process my queue about once a month and I wind up with 75-80 “leads”.  This generates about $3500 in new business.  $50 bucks a friend, y’all can add me all day long.

This is what most Realtors that are hustling do on Facebook. At least there’s effort here, which is more than I can say for those that strive to monetize whatever should flit across their subconscious.


Anyhow, enjoy.

Related posts:
  • Why We Should Rename It SMP (Social Media Prospecting)
  • Thinking About This Whole Social Media Thing As a ‘Non Expert’
  • Social Media Marketing Homework for BloodhoundBlog Unchained


    35 Comments so far

    1. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 11:10 am

      First of all, it’s an entirely happy accident my coffee was finished before viewing. The chosen movie clip and text is, to abuse understatement, inspired.

      I hereby nominate, “They cry uncle with an Amex.” for BHB post quote of the year.

      Between you and Brian, I’m now, at least mostly, convinced my plan to assassinate my FB account was somewhat premature, or to be kind, powered by a lack of vision on my part.

      “HI, this is Jeff, what’s up?”

    2. Ken Brand November 6th, 2010 2:44 pm

      I second the motion! Com’on man – “They cry uncle with an Amex” is like a like a line out of Pulp Fiction or Glengary Ross. Great vid too.

    3. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 2:57 pm

      So the essence of Facebook marketing is cleverly-camouflaged spam?

      For the benefit of inlookers: Chris Johnson and Jeff Brown have a reason to try to sell on Facebook: They can make money from Realtors, and Chris at least is counting on you to be wasting your time on Facebook, pretending to work. You cannot make money from Realtors, from lenders or from vendors, so you should react accordingly.

      > it’s wallet-foolish to criticize someone that competes for some of the same business you do

      I’m not getting this. Every time we have one of these mass-outrage spasms, people we’ve never heard from before or since come here to tell me that criticizing Realtors is bad for my business. I don’t run this site to capture business, but every client who has come to me from BloodhoundBlog has told me how much they like it that I take the consumer’s side against the NAR and other Realtors. I don’t look at things this way anyway — it’s always about principle to me — but I’m not seeing a down side. Quite seriously, Chris, is there something I’m missing?

    4. Chris Johnson November 6th, 2010 3:29 pm

      Agents that I know and even work with through can efficiently and predictably make money from facebook.

      95% of them won’t.

      Maybe more don’t.

      But, knowing and connecting and serving your community can earn money with people that matter: prospects. Nobody does it well or right.

      Everyone gets seduced by the carbon mononoxide: the approbation of other broke agents.

      Everyone gets impatient and twitchy waiting for something to happen right now. Like Ned Ryerson in my video.

      I react only to people that contact me for whatever reason on FB–that I don’t know. A stranger wants to be my buddy? Great. Come, join the fun in my database.


      Now, as far as the rancor goes? Yeah, it doesn’t do you any good pissing in people’s eyes. You have a duty to your wallet and to your household. You told me, privately, that you can set a good example.

      Being unafraid to tell the truth is one thing. I have that.

      Being corrupt is something else: I don’t think you or I are corrupt, and we can work to not be.

      But, I see both Ron Paul and Miltion Friedman as exemplars. They are (were) congenial, they speak of ideas and not people. They are patient and they spare the worst of the rhetoric for the biggest problems.

      When you go for a takedown gotcha on a dude like Jay, it hurts your ability to go after the NAR.

      We need more kent lansings.

      We need to communicate the right idea and pick our spots.

      I’m guessing that you could make nice and quickly get the GCI from this blog to $85,000 per year via higher end referrals. I’m guessing you could do it without dissipating your credibility or compromising you standards.

      I’m guessing that with a financially stable business backing you up, your megaphone gets even bigger and you can remake the world in the image you want. I’m guessing without having to surf the payables (as I’ve done, and am doing), and without the distraction that that requires, more of what you want gets done, and your life becomes a symphony others can here and not just you.

      Right now, when a link is passed from you anhiliating the NAR…anyone that gets it can dismiss it because someone will say “Greg? That guy? He hates everyone, don’t listen to that kook.”

      And that’s not what you want. That diffuses your efforts and if you are honest with yourself, you’ll see it.

    5. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 4:18 pm

      > When you go for a takedown gotcha on a dude like Jay, it hurts your ability to go after the NAR.

      I don’t see this, either half of the argument. I don’t do anything for effect, but, even so, it is beyond obvious that I am the most influential voice in the wired world of real estate. All anyone can talk about, seemingly, is how ardently they aren’t listening to me. I demand — and get — their complete attention.

      The other half is that you are conflating consumers with the As I said, consumers have told me that they like me championing their issues — as I am about to do again. Moreover, marketing is what you communicate, not what you say. Most people don’t want confrontation in real life, but everyone wants not just a Bloodhound but a Bulldog as their Realtor. I’m not doing anything here in pursuit of marketing objectives — I’m not trolling for business — but being me is a very strong marketing message even so.

      > Right now, when a link is passed from you annihilating the NAR…anyone that gets it can dismiss it because someone will say “Greg? That guy? He hates everyone, don’t listen to that kook.”

      That’s the same argument repeated.

      > And that’s not what you want. That diffuses your efforts and if you are honest with yourself, you’ll see it.

      I never have a problem admitting it when I’m wrong. Very much the contrary: I love to discover an error and correct it, because that’s one less error in my praxis. I will take your thoughts under advisement.

    6. Chris Johnson November 6th, 2010 5:31 pm

      So limit yourself to Brad Inman and the NAR in 2011. Be cordial to everyone else. See what happens to your wallet.

    7. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 5:56 pm

      > Be cordial to everyone else. See what happens to your wallet.

      That’s the definition of corruption, Chris: Smile and lie. I like being who I am. I refuse to be anyone else — especially not for money. Each man to his own saints. These are mine.

    8. Damon Chetson November 6th, 2010 6:07 pm

      I don’t agree with Greg Swann on a lot of things – See, Recent discussion we had over robosigners. But I agree with him on this.

      And what’s more, in spite of our disagreements, I do not doubt for a moment that if the man had to represent me again on a transaction, he would absolutely stand up for my interests and that’s in part because of his entire approach to his industry which means speaking his mind with regard to frauds big or small. I may disagree with him about which ones are frauds, which is fine. If Greg were consistently wrong, then I might question his judgment. But he’s not, and the fact that he may choose to criticize some people I might agree with is very much beside the point. The point is that this approach gives me confidence in how the man will act with regard to my issue.

      “Be cordial to everyone else.”

      This is pablum. And no one actually believes this is an appropriate way to be a professional. Maybe what you mean is “don’t be needlessly rude” or “respect that the other person is a human being with rights” which is fine as far as it goes. Which is to say: not very far at all.

      Re: Facebook. I use facebook mostly to observe, and maybe I’d use it someday to buy SEO services or something on that order where the cost to me is relatively minimal. But I would never think of hiring a realtor, lawyer, accountant or other person to trust with serious and/or expensive life issues.

      Twitter is slightly more substantive, but only for people who have substantive things to say. I don’t on most things. And so I don’t use it except as a pure afterthought.

    9. Chris Johnson November 6th, 2010 6:11 pm

      Sure, Greg.

      Your creed is making you broke.

      However, it’s not because of some noble honesty. Everybody that’s broke says they are such because they are too honest to make a living.

      That is a lie told to yourself. I have been broke. It was because I was either wasting tilting at windmills, or I was not delivering enough value to other people.

      It’s also a trick to think that we’re broke because of our morality. We are broke because we don’t render service efficiently. That’s it. Someone in Phoenix, newly licensed, is making a killing, presumably without having sold their soul.

      Being cordial isn’t the same as lying. Being cordial isn’t trying to lecture everyone within ten feet of you.

      Being cordial is merely restraining from giving yourself to self indulgent rants. Ranting is a distraction from reality: “Hey, I’m broke, but I’m not THAT asshole.”

      It gives you a warm, satisfied feeling and dulls the pain of the results we’ve created in business. Human minds, as Dilbert’s Scott Adams puts it are rationalization engines.

      So our rationalization engine works as follows: we’re broke, and we use our intellect not to solve the broke problem but to solve other problems that are lower hanging and more easily addressed.

      Not doing that is practical.

    10. Chris Johnson November 6th, 2010 6:18 pm


      You’re not wrong, it’s pablum. Or lazy writing. The gist was: fight real battles, not made up ones.

      You’re also an anecdote and not data; I don’t doubt that greg could have demonstrated his willingness to stand up for your rights differently.

      I’ve taken on–without regret– the #RTB clowns. It’s probably cost me some business. That is a horrible movement that cannot be permitted to stand. The threshold for moral outrage must be raised.

    11. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 6:27 pm

      > Your creed is making you broke.

      This is all projection on your part.

      I have many, many satisfied clients — and many more in the pipeline. I don’t lie to myself — ever — and I don’t conflate unlike things. BloodhoundBlog has nothing to do with our business, and our business is not hurt — nor helped much — by BloodhoundBlog. I’m not making enough deals, right now, and not enough of the deals I’m making are holding together to the finish line, and those that do don’t pay as well as they used to. But these are are all correctable conditions. We’re very strong Realtors, and we will emerge from our current situation in great shape. All that notwithstanding, I’m not interested in any sort of self-betrayal, no matter how much it might pay.

    12. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 7:58 pm

      Holy crap on a cracker! I leave to take The Boss out for a quiet dinner, and this breaks out.

      Concerning the catalyst post for this thread, I was disappointed in the derisive tone taken. Surely, given enough motivation I can easily argue both sides. It’s not a hurtful thing to be able to say to potential clients that you’re in the top 5% of your local market. On the other hand, given my too long experience with the quality *cough* of the competition, it’s not hard at all to discount the value of residing at that ‘lofty’ level.

      It’s my contention it could’ve been written, loaded with just as much bite, without the personal factor injected. I’ve done it often, many times on these pages. I’ve always wondered what’s gained by making some firm or person a lifelong enemy when the need simply doesn’t exist.

      I was taught early on, that the person(s) who’re recipients of particularly vicious venom, are very possibly the ones, far down life’s road, who could help or hurt you, depending upon their first hand experience. Those who’re constantly going out of their way to make enemies, almost never realize how much business they’ve lost over the years, as those injured by previous acts or words extract their pound(s) of flesh. It’s always better judgement, in my view, to make a new friend, or at least not make an enemy, if at all possible.

      Whether one cares about how others think of them is immaterial to the damage ‘others’ inflict on them when the opportunity appears. Only a fool makes enemies where they needn’t exist. The thing is, most of the damage caused by the needless spewing of poisonous venom will be meted out with total anonymity. You never know the business you would’ve gotten but for the enemy you needlessly created six years earlier.

      Considering the erudition often found on this blog, one would think making enemies needlessly would be easily avoided. An excellent writer can find many ways to make their point that maybe, an agent finding themselves among the top 5% of Phoenix Realtors might not be akin to being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

      See how easy that was? And I bet Jay will still take my calls. :)

    13. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 8:58 pm

      Jeff: I’ve loved your style of mind since I met you, but it’s yours, not mine. I don’t tell you how to live. I trust you to handle that job perfectly without my oversight. One of the things I love about you is that you almost always extend me the same courtesy. I’m asking for it now, as well.

      I understand your position. I don’t agree with it. I’m not calculating in what I write, and I’m always amazed when one of these firestorms erupts. When I say something that is stone obvious and yet, for some reason, painfully true to people, the response is usually just a heavy silence. I hate that, because I have written truly awe-inspiring things here, and it would be nice if the acknowledgement of that fact were some kind of presence, rather that just a pitiable absence.

      But it’s still an acknowledgement, and it’s actually better than mere applause when understood it for what it is: When the only things you can think of to say are a concession of the argument, and when, for some insane reason, you forbid yourself to concede, silence is your only redoubt. That might not be pleasant for the reader, but it’s gratifying to me, at least, to know I’ve hit the target that squarely.

      In the same way, these blowups are also a resounding concession that everything I said is true. Your quibble is about style, on the one hand, and on my impact with people who are going to hate me, anyway, on the other, but even that is a concession of the argument: Of course Greg is right, but he sure is rude!

      It’s all cool with me, Jeff. I like you and it doesn’t bother me if you don’t like some aspect of my behavior. But the simple fact is that people are in an uproar not because they are offended for Jay Thompson but because I told them the truth in a way they couldn’t deny and yet couldn’t suffer in silence. They only seem to be trying to shout me down. It’s the truth they hope to smother to death.

      And that argues that the approach I took was exactly right. I did not plan for anything. I did not calculate in any way at all. I simply wrote what I knew. What I wrote was true and the truth of what I wrote is not just obvious, it is most obvious to precisely those people who are doing their best to shout it down — the people who are living that post from the inside.

      I’ve been hammering on this topic for months, and now it is out in the open. People who can figure out which side of the bread has the butter on it will do better — and never doubt my gratitude for the years of superb buttering lessons you have given here. And the folks who have spent the better part of a week nattering to each other about how mean I am will don a green apron and then politely but amiably offer you an espresso brownie with your latte.

      I know I’m right in this circumstance, and I always do what I believe is the right thing to do. I always keep my own counsel, but I also always fight my own battles. I don’t campaign for allies, I don’t try to shade facts, and I don’t have any sort of social or commercial concourse with anyone who does not want to consort with me. I don’t think in terms of enemies, and I’m amazed that other people do. But I also will not ever have anything to do with someone I don’t trust — which might look a lot like being an enemy to the other party. ;)

      Here’s the bottom line: I’m going to be who I am, regardless. I can’t be dominated and I can’t be bribed. I’m not entertaining a discussion of my philosophy, my existential choices or my writing style. You don’t have to love them. They’re mine, not yours. But I am helping you to understand me, because there are many things about you that I love, and many more that I admire — which is much more important to me. But I’m always going to be who I am, no matter what.

    14. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 9:25 pm

      “I like you and it doesn’t bother me if you don’t like some aspect of my behavior. But the simple fact is that people are in an uproar not because they are offended for Jay Thompson but because I told them the truth in a way they couldn’t deny and yet couldn’t suffer in silence. They only seem to be trying to shout me down. It’s the truth they hope to smother to death.”

      Speaking solely for myself, it’s my opinion being rude is not who you are, but how you choose to speak and write. So be it. I tell them some pretty harsh truths here, without sugar added, but choose to do it in a way that gets the point across, without personal rancor. I also do it in ‘…a way they couldn’t deny…’.

      Folks aren’t silent because your harsh approach got them to see the truth as you see it, not by a long shot. They’re silent because they choose to avoid the oncoming, runaway chainsaw. :) That’s not who you are, that’s the tone you choose to take. I assume that’s so as a result of your conviction that it will best ‘convince’ them of the truth you’re attempting to convey. Again, fair enough.

      But you’ll never convince me it’s who you are. It’s how you freely choose to make your points. I like you too. Unlike many others, I stopped being offended by your style long ago. Readers who’ve commented here, are definitely not denying your truth, though they may disagree. That’s not the issue for many of them. The issue is the way in which you made your point. It had less than nothing to do with the point you were trying to make.

      Hell, for the most part, I agree with your ‘truth’, at least in general on this one. Yet I still dislike the way you went about conveying your take on it. You’re wrong when you say they’re shouting your truth down — dead wrong. They’re making a stand alone point — entirely separate from the thrust of the post.

      In the end, you’ve proven what I’ve always said, a few times in conversation with you. You have the heart of a poet, and the mind of an assassin. I wish more readers could see the former, and a bit less of the latter. :)

    15. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 9:40 pm

      I don’t let my wife tell me what to do, Jeff. I don’t let anyone tell me what to do. Very politely, with great respect and with the kind of explanation I almost never make to anyone, I’ve asked you to back off. You’re out of line, and it’s not appropriate. I don’t tell you how to live. I already have a father, and I don’t suffer his advice either. I like you, Jeff, and I like it that you’ve been such a good friend to me. But if you want for us not to be friends, this is how one goes about it. I’m not taking a poke at you and I’m not trying to shame you or outrage you. I’m not trying to piss you off. But I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I’m asking you to respect it.

    16. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 9:48 pm

      My comment never tells you what to do, but I see your point. This is me moving away from the line. As I’ve said numerous times before, this is your home, and I’m your guest. Have a good one.

    17. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 9:51 pm

      > You have the heart of a poet, and the mind of an assassin.

      Just as an aside, I don’t care at all for this formulation, and I don’t think it is a fair reflection of my character, but, at the same time, you are being very unfair to poets, I think. The two motivations most likely to drive a poet to do his best work are: Sex and vengeance. ;)

    18. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 9:55 pm

      Now THAT’s effin’ funny.

      The assassin’s mind is, above all things, dauntingly efficient, and nothing if not an achiever of goals. Sounds like Swann to me. :)

    19. Greg Swann November 6th, 2010 10:41 pm

      > Sounds like Swann to me.

      I started an essay on that topic last night, and I don’t know what to do about it. I may finish it tonight. Every bit of of this is funny to me in the Greek sense of comedy — all of it, going back years now — because all I am ever doing is enjoying my self.

      Here’s something I don’t often say: I think I’m going to have a drink. Here’s to you, Jeff. I’m honored to know you.

    20. Jeff Brown November 6th, 2010 10:43 pm

      Back atcha — with a Glen Livet.

    21. John Kalinowski November 7th, 2010 6:18 am

      How is wasting time on Facebook or Twitter any different than wasting time posting paragraph after paragraph in response to posts like this? Isn’t it all just as useless?

    22. Greg Swann November 7th, 2010 8:09 am

      > How is wasting time on Facebook or Twitter any different than wasting time posting paragraph after paragraph in response to posts like this? Isn’t it all just as useless?

      The important thing to understand about a fallacious argument is that it does no damage to the argument in dispute even if you stipulate it.

      So: Like this:

      Premise: Greg is wasting his own time by writing on BloodhoundBlog.

      Proposed conclusion: Greg’s arguments about wasting time on TwitBook are wrong.

      The conclusion is incorrect. It doesn’t follow from the premise. It doesn’t matter that the premise is false. I don’t waste my time, but, even if I did, nothing that you say about my own waste of time would do any damage whatever to the argument I’ve made.

      This is the fallacy ad hominem — a claim about me as a person that seeks to undermine my argument without actually addressing it. I’m not accusing you of being bad or mean or whatever, I’m just illustrating why all of these sorts of claims are useless to apprehending the truth or falsity of any particular argument.

    23. Sean Purcell November 7th, 2010 10:36 am

      Let me see if I have this straight: Greg finds Facebook to be a general waste of time when measured against generating business and Chris disagrees by pointing out that he does plenty of business roping-in “Zombie” agents hanging out on Facebook rather than actually working? I suppose there’s some rich irony there, but I’m more taken by the advertisement/video at the end of the post… Looking for Zombies on BHB as well? Now that’s irony.

      I’m reminded of a classic scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where the sheriff calls together the local townsfolk in hopes of inspiring them to join a posse. Most of the people just don’t get the importance of what the sheriff is saying when a man jumps up along side of him and agrees with the sheriff… sort of; then he launches into a pitch about how much easier it would be if everyone owned a new-fangled contraption called a bicycle! The sheriff looks at the travelling salesman with disgust and the salesman shrugs his shoulders, mumbling something about how the sheriff had already done the hard part by getting everyone together – he didn’t see any reason not to use it for himself.

      God I love irony…

    24. Jim Klein November 7th, 2010 11:19 pm

      [Pre-Script: As Jeff inherited his inspiration, so I inherited an enjoyment of "bumping my gums," saying and writing things that are of interest to me, sometimes only me. For weeks now, I find this the only place I write because it's the only place that addresses fundamental issues. My idiosyncratic philosophy (BTW you have one of those too!) convinces me that in these times, only fundamentals have any value at all, and everything else is a waste...philosophically, that is. I mooch off Greg since this is his place, but he apparently derives sufficient value that he doesn't ask me to stop, so I take it as a fair trade. I write my thoughts publicly mainly to test them for veracity, but also because I believe we are turning our societies into giant nests of scurrying insects, seeking to do little else but just stay alive. And hell, we're not going in the right direction for even that! In my view, it's the sort of people who visit this place, who are the leading candidates to ever understand what's really going on, and so that's why I bother to share what I think here. But in the end, I understand that this is little more than me, just bumping my gums. For that, I thank Greg for the space.]

      >>>How is wasting time on Facebook or Twitter any different than wasting time posting paragraph after paragraph in response to posts like this?

      As far as making money, there is no difference. Unless I’m mistaken, that’s been Greg’s whole point all along, at least about SM. Meanwhile, Greg, you wrote to Jeff…

      >>>Very politely, with great respect and with the kind of explanation I almost never make to anyone, I’ve asked you to back off. You’re out of line, and it’s not appropriate.

      FWIW, I don’t understand this at all. I can’t even figure out what “out of line” might mean in this context. But the one sentence that’s just stuck in my craw since I read it, was written by Chris…

      >>>Your creed is making you broke.

      This just screams for analysis of context and hierarchy. We are entering an age, and in many ways have been there for a while, whereby the most efficient way to make money (often) is to engage in immoral acts. In general terms, and especially for those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder (double again for those who don’t have the intellectual capacity of most of the people around here), it comes down to either gaining wealth from direct looting or plundering, or indirectly consuming the fruits of that which has been looted and plundered. I don’t really care to debate this point; those who want to understand it, can find out easily enough on their own.

      It’s true that we all make compromises to some degree. Many here would prefer to find themselves in some sort of free non-coercive agora, but we don’t. So we take nearly every step in accordance with rules established by someone else…even if those rules make things worse and not better. We sell our products and services to members of the public without regard to the fact that so many of them would just as soon gain our values by way of unfree and involuntary transactions. We do what we choose, and must choose, in order to stay alive. This is not a creed; it is an animal surviving.

      It’s only above the survival level that “creed” means anything worthwhile. I mean, we use our minds and our philosophy even at the survival level–conceptualization being the only tool we have for self-motivation and action–but we build our creeds of what we seek to accomplish beyond that. And a creed which says, “The more money, the better” without regard to how the money gets there, is itself morally bankrupt.

      I love business partly because it’s so easy to measure. Ha…the more money, the better! Corporate-wise, the “good” translates immediately and directly to, “higher bottom line.” Period.

      But this is not in a vacuum; there is a presumed context. The business and the money are tools…the tools for gaining what we seek out of life, the life which goes beyond mere survival. It is only here that morality matters a whit, for gaining those pleasures and joy are the entirety of our lives, the goals that we seek, once we have managed to keep ourselves alive.

      I know almost nothing of Jay. I gather he’s tall and very personable. I’m guessin’ he’s a great salesperson. I haven’t any reason to suspect that he’s socially immoral, or that he’s ever stolen from or physically hurt another person. That’s quite sufficient for me—I have nothing against him and since I don’t deal with him currently, nothing for him either. That’s the end of it for me, personally. He’s some other guy out there and he’s surely no threat or danger to me. Whether Greg loves him or hates him, or anything in between, doesn’t matter to me. Greg’s just another guy too, and what’s between those two guys has nothing to do with me. NOTHING. In a single word, that’s what wrong with our whole political society, for it presumes to imagine that there is something between them that has something to do with me. But that’s another series.

      AFAIK, Greg writes about two things here…general moral principles and the business of real estate agency. I am not writing this to defend Greg–he hardly needs that help from me, and it’s arguable whether it’s help at all–but I write because it’s rare to see a person so correct on the facts, with almost nobody of intelligence willing to see those facts. I bump my gums on this stuff because for me, this is the essence of everything wrong in the human world these days. Epistemology is my thing…I see humans as organic “identifying machines,” and it nearly slays me when this happens.

      “Me, I care only about the facts.”

      There are three cardinal rules for any business and Rule Number One is, “Try running your business without a customer.” In a business context, Greg has not been arguing against social media per se—he’s been arguing against doing that which doesn’t serve your business, particularly under the fantasy that it does. He has made his case so plain and so overwhelming, at least about the current uses of SM in the RE business, that I’m surprised he doesn’t get a zillion thank yous from those who managed to get themselves re-focused on their businesses. Like I wrote to Al, “I guess they’re looking for something else.”

      What’s really dizzying me though, is the idea that a creed such as Greg’s could make a person broke. Maybe it could money-wise. If the only way to make a living were, say, to gas people in ovens or drive the trains to take them there, then I’d say I want a creed that makes me money-broke. Yes, even if it caused my death, because I simply refuse to live that way.

      That’s an extreme example, but the principle is here now. And the point is this—absence of money makes one “broke” in a very specific way, and this is completely different from what makes us broke creed-wise. Greg has spent his adult life trying to show what makes us rich as individuals, and this is what our creeds are all about. On that, he is singularly correct and it nearly drives me nuts when people don’t understand the FACTUAL basis of his assertions.

      So he wins on that part of the argument. The thing is, he wins on the derivative business point as well! There is simply no other way to “make money” than to offer value to customers; the two are entirely synonymous in any business context. I know what networking is all about and for many businesses, it can be key. But if you’re in the business of representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, it’s just a trivial side-note. Sure, there can be all sorts of advantages in making the right contacts; ask any defense contractor or highway construction man. And through social media, it’s conceivable that some automaton is going to fall into some great sales contract because somebody dug his Facebook stuff.

      But that’s like winning the lottery and it’s NOT doing business. Getting business is an important part of doing business, but it’s not the doing itself. Doing business is that; duh. When a businessman is in tough times, it can be easy to think that it all rests on getting the business, but that’s a mistake. You see, it’s tough for everyone and there will always be someone who offers the most value to potential customers. This person will always get business eventually, because he offers the most value. This is the wonder of competition and capitalism, and anyone who thinks otherwise shouldn’t be in business.

      And that’s what Greg has been shouting about on this blog. Sure, some businesses get their business by offering almost nothing to huge numbers of people on the theory that if only a tiny minority respond, that will be enough to make a living. That’s why the National Enquirer still runs “Make money stuffing envelopes” ads. But that’s not business and that’s a broken creed because the seller is offering something that he knows has no value to the buyer.

      Well, the real estate agency business is all the way on the other end of the spectrum. Agents are selling to customers the knowledge, security and comfort of knowing that the largest transaction of their lives, is being handled properly. They don’t care what you look like, who your friends are, or even why you’re in this business. ALL they want to know is that this huge transaction (for them) couldn’t be handled any better. And they come to know this, when it’s true. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time now, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Greg write about real estate agency with any other point in mind…that this is the goal and the various ways one might accomplish it.

      So he’s got that right too. I’m not even sure why he does it, since if he wakes up even half the NAR membership, he figures to have a ton of competition! But as we see, that’s not very likely to happen, and so his creed of social morality, meaning his desire to share facts and values with others, trumps his creed of pure business.

      I say, “Can’t we have both?”

      Smug, arrogant people like me make very bad hero-worshippers, and I am not in awe of Greg Swann. But as I wrote here some time ago, I give credit where it’s due. Crick and Watson were big on the double helix, Einstein knew about relativity and Swann understands the ethical and emotional makeup of humans…particularly on the topics of egoism and capitalism. For me, it’s all about the facts, period. With seven billion people (more?) on the face of the Earth, I just couldn’t sit by while the single person who deserves it the least, gets charged as having a “creed” that makes him “broke.” I know the charge was in the money sense mainly, but a creed such as Greg’s could never make a man broke, not in any intelligible sense. Quite literally, nothing could be further from the truth. My wish for any reader is that they could ever get a glimpse of the Egoist Creed, to understand what Greg’s riches are all about.

    25. Chris Johnson November 7th, 2010 11:27 pm


      Would have been smarter to say your “creed” is making you broke, emphasizing the notion that

      Meaning this: the need to shake a fist at someone while you’re broke is a misapplication of effort.


    26. Sean Purcell November 8th, 2010 12:25 am

      (Personal Note to Our Host: There is no one, at this point in my life, whom I enjoy debating more than you Greg; save for possibly Jim Klein. If Jim has not been invited as a Contributor, I humbly make that suggestion; if he has and declined, more’s the pity for the rest of us.)

      @Chris – it’s my belief that you and I sometimes dip our toes in the same pond: offering motivation and “coaching” (God, is there a more bastardized concept in our business) to others. So it surprises me to read something like: “the need to shake a fist at someone while you’re broke is a misapplication of effort.” Shaking your fist at that which one believes to be injurious to others is not only laudable but often times philosophically necessary to maintain congruence between your inner and outer vision of self. One’s financial state has less than nothing to do with the philosophical equation.

      @Jim – I find myself engaging you in a very small – but very important – aspect of your point: “general morality.” In a voluntaryism form of agora, from where does general morality arise? As disgusting as it may sound to you (and me), if a rational person concludes that being the engineer on a train taking people to their death is in their best interest, how are we to react in any way other than our own, personal (egoist) judgments? I (and you… and I would guess the vast majority of those reading this) would find that conclusion reprehensible, detrimental to our agora even; we would most likely choose to cease all commerce with such a person. We might choose to lay in wait for the train and coerce a cessation to its stated goal. We might even, individually or as the local agora as a whole, take coercive and fatal action against said engineer. But we cannot lay claim to a “general morality.” To do so implies a knowledge of right and wrong that lies outside of ourselves individually (as free men and women), which inevitably leads to systemic coercian… does it not?

      As a free man, I do not submit to “your” (individual or consensus) right to judge what is right or wrong for me; only to “your” freedom to enjoy commerce with me or not.

    27. Chris Johnson November 8th, 2010 8:03 am

      The world is full of broke people that shake their fists. I’ve been one.

      The truth is that the fist shaking is self medication for the ego.

      The truth is that the fist shaking is a distraction from the broke-ness.

      The truth is that it’s a moral failure on the part of the fist shaker to blame others, because it’s letting the fist saker off the hook.

    28. Jim Klein November 8th, 2010 8:14 am

      Chris, I agree with your comment wholemindedly but I just don’t see the relevance in this instance. Greg’s point was Greg’s point and it was correct. You can call it “shaking a fist” at Jay I suppose, but I can’t ignore that it was Greg doing the action. If there’s anyone who neither shakes his fist at other people, nor understands that others aren’t the motivation for one’s own actions, better than Greg, I’ve never heard of that person. How Greg deals with Jay, or vice-versa, is of absolutely no relevance to me. “Me, I care only about the facts,” and I saw nothing but facts coming from Greg. Debating his style is a matter for literature boards and I haven’t the least interest in that. Basically I just don’t care about that detail of the issue and I don’t see it as anyone’s business except for Greg and Jay.

      Sean, I’ve no idea what you’re driving at. I did a Find for “general morality” and found it only in your comment. Indeed, I write extensively on the point that the very utterance is oxymoronic and I can discern no referent for “morality” except that which is devised within the conceptual hierarchies of individual abstracting beings. If you’ve got some other meaning, then I’m all ears.

      As to the guy driving the train, I don’t give a hoot what you or anyone else does about it. Maybe if I decided a personal interest for myself, on whatever basis, I’d work with you to figure out what ought to be done. I am not here to save other people’s lives, but I can easily imagine a desire on my part to do that. When and if I do, I act upon it…perhaps with others or perhaps not. Again, I just don’t see the point but I’m all ears to listen to one.

      Also, I would never say that you have any business “submitting” to anything I say or believe. I’d find that downright crazy. OTOH this should not be taken as some implication that I don’t have a “right to judge” anything or anyone I wish to judge. That too is a simple fact, and judging is our fundamental action…we identify and then we judge. I’m sure you don’t disagree with that, so here too, your point has eluded me.

    29. Teri Lussier November 8th, 2010 10:13 am


      I think you forgot the irony of complaining about rancor while thinking of your potential clients as zombies.

      My take away from this post: Yet another reminder to stay the hell off facebook where not only are you wasting your one precious life, you will be considered a complete idiot by vendors trolling for your money.

      In stark contrast and at the very minimum, I’m treated to a world-class education by people who generally treat me with some respect, when reading, writing, and commenting on BHB.

    30. Sean Purcell November 8th, 2010 10:26 am

      Jim, my point stemmed from this part of your comment:

      AFAIK, Greg writes about two things here…general moral principles and the business of real estate agency. I am not writing this to defend Greg–he hardly needs that help from me, and it’s arguable whether it’s help at all–but I write because it’s rare to see a person so correct on the facts, with almost nobody of intelligence willing to see those facts.

      I understood that to be an endorsement of general moral principles (general morality) and used the train engineer example (also from your comment) as hyperbole. Reading your next comment, however, I conclude I was mistaken. We appear to be saying the same thing… making my contribution to the philosophical issue superflous.

    31. Greg Swann November 8th, 2010 12:06 pm

      > If Jim has not been invited as a Contributor, I humbly make that suggestion

      I’ve offered this. Jim has an account at Like you, I would love to see him write with us here, as well.

    32. Michael Cook November 8th, 2010 5:01 pm

      The interesting thing about these discussion is more than a number of people mention to Greg that his comments are rude, ham-handed, etc., but there is still disagreement. How many people would it take for you to agree?

      Chris makes great points about the value of people and personality to business. Changing communication styles should not be akin to throwing personal views out the door. If the message is more important than the messenger, why shouldnt the message be placed in the form it can be most effective?

    33. Jim Klein November 8th, 2010 6:54 pm

      >>>The interesting thing about these discussion is more than a number of people mention to Greg that his comments are rude, ham-handed, etc., but there is still disagreement. How many people would it take for you to agree?

      Too funny, Michael. This is why I think all public funding of education should stop immediately.

      Ever read The Emperor Has No Clothes? How about Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery? Don’t get me wrong; I know that Truth by Consensus is very fashionable these days.

      I took dozens of philosophy classes at a major university. It’s a miracle I survived and could still manage to lift a forkful of nourishment to my lips. Thank goodness I never took a poll, to see if I should!

      Sorry if I threw you off, Sean. I can see the ambiguity now.

    34. Mark Madsen November 9th, 2010 3:37 pm

      “How is wasting time on Facebook or Twitter any different than wasting time posting paragraph after paragraph in response to posts like this? Isn’t it all just as useless?”

      The difference is simple: SEO

      Content on this site helps strengthen the authority blacklinks that provide everyone involved, whether posting or commenting, a direct and significant financial benefit.

      In addition to SEO, the conversations here are archived for future educational or entertainment purposes.

      Chatter on FB or Twitter doesn’t necessarily contribute to building perpetual equity in an online presence that is owned by the user.

    35. Melody Anne Beaudro November 17th, 2010 5:14 pm

      Hey..out here in Realtorland.. I am offering just another chance to wakeup even a little tiny light .

      Did you know that most of our lives are mundane ..

      brushing teeth, hey!
      combing hair, hey, hey!
      breakfast, lunch, and dinner..?
      Could “You” say at the end of the day..I remembered My Maker?
      Isn’t it the “main thing”! He gives, he takes away..geez