Twenty Years Burning Down the Road

This week marks my 20th anniversary in real estate. Twenty years. Wow.

My career has been, in a word, amazing. It has provided me so much more than simply the ability to pay the bills (and more) and take care of my family. I have met some of the most important people in my life through the business, including mentors, friends, and my ex-wife.

My intention is to write a bit more than normal this week to mark the occasion. This first post will focus on the differences and similarities in the business and life between 1998 and 2018.

First, the differences:

-          When I started at Grubb & Ellis on November 2, 1998, I was told that the company didn’t provide brokers with computers. If I wanted one, I had to supply it myself.

-          Email was not a means of communication used by the masses and texting, smart phones, and cell phone cameras didn’t exist.

-          Maps were something you kept in the car or referenced in the office. In-car navigation was a person who was riding in the car with you rather than a screen or device.

-          CoStar was a service that was downloaded onto a server in the office once a month. It was a starting point and the information was typically 50% accurate.

-          If you wanted to develop a map for a survey or tour with plotted points on the map, you had to use scratch off icons. When I got a mapping program in 2001 or 2002 that allowed me to do so on my computer, the senior brokers in the office were amazed.

-          If you returned a call within 24-hours, it was socially acceptable.

-          Google was founded two-months before I started in real estate. America Online was the dominant service people used to access the internet.

-          The Yankees won the World Series and a record 125 games, including the postseason. The Red Sox hadn’t won in 70 years. I miss the good old days.

-          If I wanted to watch a TV show that aired when I wasn’t home, I needed to set the timer on my VCR and tape it. DVR’s didn’t exist.

-          My car had a cassette deck. Satellite radio launched in 2001, and I couldn’t afford it. The car I bought in 2002 had a CD player which was a huge upgrade.

-          Social media, CRE Tech, last mile, the cloud and hashtags didn’t exist.

-          If you wanted to buy tickets to an event, you had to go to a Ticketmaster outlet. You had to drive there. Maybe you could call, but it was doubtful you could get through.

The similarities:

-          Real estate is still a relationship business. Thankfully, that was my first lesson in real estate and has stayed with me since. Thanks, Dad.

While that’s not the only similarity, you get the point. Stay tuned for more this week including some of the most important lessons I have learned, as well as some genuine thanks to some of the people who have helped me most along the way.

Twenty years…damn. It seems like five minutes ago and five lifetimes ago all at the same time.