Escape is actually a business principle or, at least a skill based upon a set of economic fundamentals. The ability of an organization to slip out of economic handcuffs in the nick-of-time is not too far removed from the notion of agility; the latter having to do with fluidity of operation.
Escapism (I don’t even know if that is a word but if it isn’t it should be) ought to be a subset of study for those seeking a degree in Economics. Escapism should be a part of the syllabus with collateral reading required. It should be taught as a business discipline and be a demonstrated skill prior to graduation.
The real estate industry knows a lot about the subject of escapism without knowing much about sound economic business models. After all, the economy has always pulled Broker/Owners out of the tight corners of economic calamity into which they have been painted. Ours is a long history riddled with escapes from one economic threat to another.
Today’s shackles may be worse than the past as we find ourselves fettered with the chains and locks of slivered and temporal profitability, almost non-existent R&D, a disjointed, minimally trained, bloated and uncontrollable labor force, no product, service or brand differentiation and finally, last but not least, a less than stellar reputation with consumers, our primary source of survival.
Syndicated from e-Partner
For centuries the notion of turning lead into gold has captured the imagination of countless Alchemists, all of whom were doomed to failure.
The real estate industry’s economic model has been for decades akin to conjuring concoctions that claim to convert the weight of our tarnished enterprise models into shining bars of profitability.
We have not always understood the true alchemy of our industry and the relationship between the decline of profitability with the introduction and application of new technologies to our industry.
Each of the two great historical shifts (economic eras) in our industry have occurred with the rise of new technology, the independence of agents and the empowerment of the consumer. Consider the following diagram and then listen to the accompanying presentation.
The real estate industry is not too unlike an organization living in a state of collective schizophrenia. Figuratively speaking, we are hearing voices that are not real.
Our hallucinations are mostly self-induced; the voices we hear are actually our own mumblings and business babblings disguised as forces we do not control.
I’m now convinced the real estate industry is delusional but not in the classic clinical sense of schizophrenia. Rather, we are deluded by the notion that what we are experiencing is beyond our control.
Since we don’t have an alternative point of reference for our dilapidated and dysfunctional (not to mention unprofitable) business models, we willingly succumb to the voices that keep telling us all will be well and in time the market will return to normalcy (whatever that is).
We have come to actually believe there is a quick cure for our collective malady. We have long ago stopped taking the medications of self-reliance that can eliminate the voices and have instead turned to a political pill that only fuels the illness and delays the inevitable.
The Great Delusional Grip
Franchisors continue to pimp and prescribe increasing their delusional grip on Broker-Owners, convincing them, mistakenly, that their brands are necessary as a market value proposition and to their survival.
To control the delusions and squelch the voices we pretend our economic survival can be optimized by merely changing the colors of the pills we ingest. We hallucinate about technology solutions that magically produce profitability through Internet lead generation. The voices continue.
For a long time we have believed the pseudo voices and their message as they tell us to hold on, wait and believe that change is coming in the form of a market rebound that will resurrect the old models and their former but temporary profitability. In reality we are trading our collective ability to transform our industry for a hope in the return of things past, of things long dead and gone. Have we surrendered our business sanity to the collective stupor of a beautiful mind syndrome?
It wasn’t long ago that I also experienced the paranoia that comes from thinking others can and ought to control the business outcomes of my company and that there were forces out to get me if I didn’t comply with the verbal orders of quiet, shadowy personalities hiding under stairways and standing in dark corners, speaking to me and intimidating me as a Broker-Owner.
Dumping Market Meds into the Drinking Water
As we prepare to enter 2011, our illness is becoming more pronounced. Others see the progressive changes but we do not. We do not know whether to take the generic market meds being dispensed by the National Association of Realtors or to reject them while hoping for an alternative magic that can somehow stop the insanity.
NAR is dumping its generic market meds into the drinking water in a giant shift from its fundamental and historic premise that home ownership ought to be based upon the self-reliance of individuals to a new socialist real estate state where wealth is shifted from tax payers to fund the down payments for otherwise under-qualified first time home buyers. It’s the same old repackaged sub-prime pill I will no longer swallow.
Schizophrenia is my metaphor for disordered thinking that is not aligned with sound economic reality in the midst of a market platform that has shifted under the feet of Broker-Owners.
On one hand, we know we are living in a time of great delusion and we desperately want to stop the voices.
On the other hand, we continue to pander to the hallucinations because we want a simple solution to a complex industry illness. We know the voices are not real but we cannot quiet them. We drink the purple water and we pop the multi-colored but phony economic pills that will temporarily muffle the sounds but never permanently stop them.
We are becoming more and more desperate because we are on the edge and are finding it more and more difficult to distinguish reality from fiction. The market meds do not help because they create an additional layer of fog that further weakens our discipline and stifles our resolve to take charge of our individual and collective illness.
Stopping the Voices
There is coming a time when we will have to make a deliberate choice between believing what the voices are telling us and the reality that we are operating our industry from a position of economic dependency that will eventually render us incapable of recovery.
Like many Americans who are waiting for the government to produce solutions, many in our industry are waiting upon the bureaucratic solutions of NAR to deliver a cure that will stop the voices. We have yet to recognize that NAR is but one of the many voices that create the madness that engulfs us.
Some of us are now realizing we have fallen prey to a placebo that can never deliver true economic healing. A few of us are now realizing we have fallen prey to a placebo that can never deliver true economic healing and that in the end we must once again, deliver our own cure.
On Tuesday, December 02, 2009, Inman News carried a new piece by Matt Carter, entitled “NAR Backing Realcomp Appeal.” REALonomics believes the article is another demonstration of NAR’s attempt as the tail of the industry, to wag us, the dog. Here is our response to NAR’s reported actions.
NAR should be seen here in its true light, a purveyor of control, monopolization and the promotion of the punishment of creative models that do not meet the local real estate dominance model put in force and sustained by its vast network of local Associations.
Although we are not supporters of discount brokerage as a viable business model, we feel the need to speak out on this issue and the freedom of Broker-Owners to create business models without the fear of retaliation and punishment by NAR and local Associations.
We are forced to ask the question, “Is anyone paying attention to how our dues, financial assets and human capital are being used by NAR?” Furthermore, are we paying attention to how NAR and local Associations are dealing with Broker-Owners who are not lining up in lock-step with centralized policy?