There’s always something to howl about

The Odysseus Medal: “I feel like I too, am losing market share quickly in this wildly out of control time warp where one second I’m a kid and the next, I’m in my 50s selling real estate in a down market.”

The Odysseus Medal this week goes to Geno Petro for Geno’s Wrong (bang a gong):

My mother brings in a ham sandwich on a kaiser roll from the kitchen. It has mayo, mustard and a pickle on it. Onion, too. I rarely eat any of those things but I dare not say a word for fear of offending her.  “Diet Coke?” she asks.

“No mom…you know what Paris Hilton says about Diet Coke, don’t you?”

“Oh, I don’t like her.” declares Mitzi.

“What?” my dad pipes in, apparently with a different opinion of the media icon.

“Only fat people drink Diet Coke,” I say.

“Fat people?”

“Yeah, it’s a joke I think.” I say,  now wondering myself if it’s even funny. They don’t get it and now, I don’t get it either. My wife Mona, is taking a nap upstairs, belly full with as many sandwiches as she’s probably eaten in a month. The volume is turned down on the television and closed captions are streaming across the top third of the screen, covering  the faces of everyone on the Fox News Network. My parents read, watch and comment unfavorably whenever someone bashes Hillary or Obama and hiss in unison when anything positive is said about Bush or the War. I ask them why they even watch Fox at all if they are Democrats but they don’t really get the question. I guess I don’t really get it either in this particular election year. Perhaps they just have trouble working the remote and are afraid to mess with the Dish. There are Post-it notes taped to everything electronic in the house and most things static, as well.

And despite what I have just witnessed, I feel like I too, am losing market share quickly in this wildly out of control time warp where one second I’m a kid and the next, I’m in my 50s selling real estate in a down market.  In 10 minutes, I’ll be my father looking for any small victory I can muster. I sometimes feel as if I’m lagging behind all the youth and technology in my chosen industry of real estate. I have to read something three times before it makes sense, lately. I can only buy my way out of so much of it before I get lapped by the genius youth who have only known an iPhone/Facebook/Starbucks existence on this planet. I am now the age my parents were a mere 28 years ago. My goodness, it was just the other day that I graduated college and…

The man takes my breath away every time he sits down at the keyboard. Todd Carpenter posted an interview with Geno earlier this week.

The Black Pearl Award this week goes to Jeff Turner with Panasonic Lumix FX35 vs. Kodak v705:

Lots of you purchased the Kodak v705 based on my recommendation. So many, I wish I were making some form of commission, that’s for sure. But the Kodak v705 has been discontinued and no replacement has been announced.

Enter the Panasonic Lumix FX35.

The Panasonic Lumix FX35 was announced in January, but was not officially launched to the public until last week. Mine arrived yesterday and I tested it this morning. For me to recommend a camera for the average user, it has to do one thing very well, take a great photo right out of the box without changing a single setting. Why? Because I know most people will never take the time to learn how to use all of the feature of any camera. So, if a camera doesn’t allow you to take a good photo with it’s basic, default settings, I can’t recommend it.

How does it compare?

  • Cost: $239 – $349 online.
  • Portability: It is slightly smaller than the Kodak v705.
  • Simplicity: The photos below were taken using the default settings.
  • Ultra-Wide Angle: The Panasonic Lumix FX35 has a 25mm wide angle lens.

You must not underestimate the importance of a really wide angle lens.

It took me a long time to find a replacement for the Kodak v705, mainly because most of the “wide” angle lenses touted by camera makers are 28mm. The Kodak was 23mm and really showed off rooms in a home. A 28mm lens doesn’t come close enough. The Panasonic Lumix FX35 touted a 25mm lens, so that caught my attention.

The Lumix features a Leica lens, as well, which sets it apart from the herd. If you’re in real estate, you need a real estate-ready camera with you all the time. It should be parked with your car keys, and it should go wherever your car keys go.

This week’s People’s Choice Award goes to The Queen of Controversy, Mary McKnight for Real Estate blogs are stores, not newspapers – so blog like you are selling houses, not writing for your local paper:

I’m going to say this up front, so there is no misunderstanding. The entire point of this post is to get you to understand that if your business is about real estate and you want to attract customers that have a real estate need you MUST write about real estate not skateboards and restaurants. Why? Because a home is not a whim purchase, it is typically a well planned decision. There are very few of us that pass by the local real estate office and say, “hey honey, I know we set out to buy a skateboard for Timmy, but let’s buy a house instead, this store has pretty ones.” Therefore, it is inconceivable to me that by driving people into your blog with an article about local skate parks, you will snag a home buyer. Seriously, find me one person that ever set out in the morning to buy a skateboard and came back with a house.

Mary’s post generated quite a bit of heat — more than it merited, I thought. The point of her post seems pretty non-controversial to me, except that it’s essentially a straw man argument: There is no one insisting that anyone should write about skate boards or restaurants instead of real estate. Todd Carpenter thought Mary went too far overboard in pursuit of the great white SEO, and, while I can agree that many real estate weblogging advocates talk way too much about SEO and way too little about making direct contact with targeted prospects, I didn’t think Mary’s post was over the top. To the contrary, I’m on the record arguing that the purpose of real estate marketing is to sell real estate. I thought Sean Purcell struck the right balance, overall.

And the question came up in email, so I’ll answer it here: Does a Long List or Short List nomination imply any sort of endorsement from me?

The answer: No.

For the Long List, I will vet a nomination to this extent: Is it there? Is it on topic? Is it of moment? Is the idea developed enough to be worth thinking about? Is it primarily the original work of the author? Around ten percent of nominated posts get cut for failing one or more of those criteria.

For the Short List, my only criterion is this: Is the idea worthy of greater attention? I like for things to be well written, but a great idea blasts through everything. I don’t care if I disagree, I care if the author is going to make readers think.

People might choose to think of me as being their friend or their enemy, but I don’t approach the world that way. When I’m looking at the quality of your thought, all I am looking at is the quality of your thought. If I happen to like you, that scores you zero points with me. If I happen to think you behave like an ape, that scores you zero points with me.

I judge two of these awards — The Odysseus Medal and The Black Pearl — and I strive for an Olympian detachment. I want to highlight the best work, that’s all. I almost never vote for The People’s Choice Award, and only then to break a tie.

Nothing emerging from human judgement can emerge free of bias, but the process I use to pick nominees and winners is as free of bias as I can make it. I’ve had email from people telling me that they use the Long List as their feed reader, so I guess I must be doing something right.

If you didn’t check out this week’s nominees for The Odysseus Medal, you should.

We have a brand new tool for promoting The Long List of Odysseus Medal nominees. The Long List will be shown in that little gizmo until the current week’s Short List is announced and then I’ll update it with the new week’s nominees. This is link-love back from BloodhoundBlog, but my reason for building the tool is to promote the best ideas in real estate any way I can. To that end, read this post so that you can learn how to echo The Long List on your own site.

The Long List also has its very own weblog, a link blog of the latest Long List nominees as they are nominated. Feel free to visit, but probably the best way for you to keep abreast of the best in real estate weblogging is to subscribe to The Long List RSS feed.

And as always, if you come across a tasty sandwich and a Diet Coke, nominate it.

Deadline for next week’s competition is Sunday at 12 Noon MST. You can nominate your own work or any post you admire here.

Congratulations to the winners — and to everyone who participated.

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