Journey to the Future Part 1

PalmerGirlsIt’s May of 1986. I pull into the parking lot of 45 Knollwood Road in Elmsford, NY in my S10 Chevy Blazer for my first day of work at N. Peter Burton, Westchester County, Inc.  I’m guessing Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love was on the radio. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing that in May of 1986.

I hop out of the car, dressed head to toe in Brooks Brothers or Paul Stuart. I’m 23 and heading into the office for my first day as an independent contractor, as a New York State Licensed Real Estate Agent. I walk into the office, and Pat is sitting behind her IBM Selectric at the reception desk. Phone console to her right, pack of Virginia Slims and a brimming ashtray to her left.  Rich Leroy comes out to greet me.  He had recruited me via my cousin Susan’s friend Helene’s brother Larry, one of Rich’s buddies. That’s how you got jobs in real estate then.

Rich introduces me to the guys in the office. There’s Jimmy Casey. He’s smoking a Newport, wearing suspenders, and completely looks the part of the ex-cop that he is. Then, I’m introduced to Judy Chu. She’s got two young kids, a husband, and great contacts throughout the Asian community. Like Rich, they both have their own office.

Then we walk into a bigger office with three desks. This, I am told, is the bullpen, where I’ll be working. Bruce Jackowitz is working a Marlboro Light and the telephone at the desk over by the window. Bruce has an evening job as a waiter, and is also pursuing his dream as an artist.  He’s got some big bound book open in front of him. Later, I learn that’s the Cole’s Directory, the phone canvasser’s best friend. It’s a reverse phone directory. Open it to an address, find the building’s Tenants and their phone numbers.

Then we go to the office in the back. It’s big. It has two desks, a conference table, easels with renderings and rolls of blueprints all over the place.  Stacks of paper are everywhere. I am introduced to Steve Ifshin, the N. in N. Peter Burton. He is the Boss. Then I meet Alicea Santella, his wife, also a broker in the office, and his partner in some new residential developments. Steve’s big break, I am told, was when he was a broker for Harry Macklowe.  He brought Panasonic to the Meadowlands, and that was a gift that kept on giving. Ultimately, he teamed up with two other guys, Alan Weisman and Michael Lichtenstein to form N. Peter Burton. The company name came from their middle names.  They felt it had a nice WASP-y ring to it.  When I started they had a New Jersey office, one in Manhattan, and the third in Westchester.

Rich showed me the information tools of the trade. In addition to the Cole’s Directory, we had Black’s Guide, which contained information on most of the office buildings in the Westchester and Fairfield County markets. It has the owners, their agents, space available and amenities. Black’s Guide also had great information on typical build out expenses for tenants, as well as building operating expenses. For the non-A, B, or C buildings, we had these giant directories that had all of the properties and their true owners’ name and address in it.

N. Peter Burton had exclusives on a few buildings, and we would use those as the hook when we cold called or foot canvassed. The thrill of someone being interested after scores of rejections and hang ups still doesn’t get old. The nerve rattling excitement of getting kicked out of a building the first time when I accidentally foot canvassed the owner was an adrenaline rush I still haven’t forgotten, even though it was close to thirty years ago.

To Be Continued… While you’re waiting, be sure to download QuantumListing.

Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to … deals

-with apologies to Robert Palmer

A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Adding Listings to QuantumListing

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to add listings to QuantumListing:

Step 1: Tap the Camera icon
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Step 2: Add a title by tapping the word Title and entering a name for your listing
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Step 3: Add the location by tapping on the globe and typing the address
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Step 4: Tap the Asset Type box and choose from the drop down menu. Then tap Lease or Sale and make that selection. Then add the price or rent per square foot. Price/Rent information is optional.
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Step 5: Tap on Upload Photo or PDF and select Camera to take a picture, Album to choose one that is already on your phone, or PDF to select a PDF (see below on how to get a PDF into the app).
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Step 5a: Adding a PDF to QuantumListing
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Step 5b: Adding a PDF from an Email
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Step 5c: Adding a PDF from a Website
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Step 5d: Adding a PDF from Dropbox
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Step 5e: Adding a PDF from Other Apps
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Step 6a: Tap each box to add listing details. These items are optoinal but help when others are searching
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Step 6b: Add additional property details and comments. If yo don’t tap on Date Available, it will use today’s date.
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Step 7: Hit the Submit button at the top right to upload your listing. You’ll get a message when the listing has been successfully submitted.
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If you need to change any of the listing information, you can edit by going to Your Listings tab (the circle with the silhouette of one person with a gear to the top right) and tap on the listing image. Tap on the information you need to update, then scroll to the bottom and hit update. However, if you need to change the location, you’ll have to delete the listing by tapping on the three dots to the right of your name. If you have already tapped on the image and opened the property details page, you’ll need to tap on the left facing arrow at the top of the page to go back, then tap on the three dots.
If you have questions, contact us at support@quantumlisting.com.
Thanks to summer interns Jack Baron and Billy Perlmutter for their work on this!

10 Things I’ve Learned

  1. Not everyone has an iPhone. There are a heck of a lot of people with Android phones, and even some Blackberry and Windows phone users.
  2. People would rather spend money on new hardware than get new software for free (I would rather buy a Tesla than do a demo of Salesforce).
  3. Nobody tries anything new on Friday (Feel free to prove me wrong: Download QuantumListing).
  4. Product_of_inertiaInertia is as powerful a force in the real estate tech ecosystem as it is in the rest of the world. However, external forces can act on real estate tech inertia just as effectively as in the rest of the physical world.
  5. As much as real estate professionals complain about the information service market leader, it will take time and effort to convince them that they can be part of a new solution.
  6. People in the real estate tech business treat each other more as colleagues than competitors, even if they are mining the same vein. This is a good thing.
  7. Media coverage of real estate tech coverage is either increasing, or I’m just becoming more aware of it. I’m finding that The News Funnel has become part of my daily routine.
  8. As Millennials move up the corporate ladder, they are becoming more influential in the decision making process, and more likely to champion technological change.
  9. Attendance at real estate tech conferences is growing. I’ll be attending The Intersect by CRE//Tech in New York on October 22 and making my exhibitor debut at DisruptCRE in Boston on October 29th. How long will be it be before there is a unified real estate tech industry association?
  10. Duke Long is everywhere, is amusing, passionate about real estate tech, and likes brown liquor.

You can download QuantumListing by clicking here.

Want to learn more about what QuantumListing does and how to use it? Then, have a look at this.

Beautiful Weekend, Bad Haircut – Life’s Like That

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Bad haircut, what bad haircut?

The weather here in Westchester County has been beautiful, cool in the morning and evenings, warm and cloudless during the day. Yesterday, I went to the Pleasantville Barbershop to get my hair cut and beard trimmed. Yes, it is open on Sunday. Usually my wife Sara performs these services for me; there’s not much hair on top, and she enjoys the sculptural activity of trimming the beard. Last time I went to the barber, the old guy did a great job. This time, he did the opposite of what I wanted. I asked for my hair to be short, leave the beard long, and blend it where they meet. That’s how it started, not how it ended. Oh well. Hair grows back. There was a lot of comedy (and probably a few posts to Instagram – see photo above) generated by my kids when I got back home, and I’m happy to share the details, but that’s not the point of this post.

Rolling out QuantumListing is like this beautiful weekend with a bad haircut. I’ve had a lot of really nice interchanges with people I have not met in person yet, such as Dave from New Dirt, Linda Day Harrison at The Broker List, Michael Beckerman at The News Funnel, Mariel Ebrahimi at DisruptCRE, and Duke Long from the Duke Long Agency and DukeLong.com to name just a few. They have freely offered encouragement and good advice. One of the highlights of my weekend was an email from Mariel telling me she overheard a discussion at DisruptCRE Miami in which people were talking about listing platforms and someone mentioned QuantumListing. That was the first independent sighting of which I’ve gotten a report!

Most of the time, though I feel like I am shouting into a well. I make cold calls, send cold emails, send email blasts, blog, tweet, post to Facebook, etc. There’s just enough response to keep me going. Fortunately, with 29 years experience in real estate, I am equipped for this. I remember that first year at N. Peter Burton, Westchester Co. I made lots of cold calls and did plenty of foot canvassing. I still remember the excitement of getting a positive response from my first customer. When I learned that it was a division of Texaco, that added another thrill, undiminished by the fact that it was only a 1350 square foot deal.

So, people are downloading the QuantumListing app and registering. We’re giving Premium Memberships away in the hope that they will start loading listings. It’s happening, but it feels like it is happening in slow motion, like waking up each beautiful morning to see your hair growing back after a bad haircut.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Special: We’ll Do Everything For You

Ok, we won’t paint your house, cut the grass, or wash your windows. But we will register an account for you, upgrade you to Premium QuantumListing-TNF(1)Membership, and if you send us your commercial real estate PDFs, we’ll input them to QuantumListing. What is QuantumListing, you ask? It’s our new app for commercial real estate listings. We provide the platform, you provide the listings.

When we’re done, we’ll email your account username and password, then all you have to do is download the app, log in to your account and wait for those phone calls and e mails to start coming!

So, send those PDFs to support@QuantumListing.com, and we’ll do the rest. Be the first, and we’ll send you a $25 Amex gift card.

Revolution 9

I installed iOS9 this morning, and am happy to say that QuantumListing appears to be working quite nicely with it. I have not played around with it that much. It’s only 7:48 AM. The few things I’ve noticed so far:

  • It takes some time for the installation, don’t do it when you are rushing out the door. (Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head)
  • My son changed the name on our Apple account to his. I don’t think this will matter in the long run, but it is odd to see his name next to my picture. I would prefer it the other way around. He’s at college and I miss seeing him. (Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go)
  • Still Life with Beatles Anthology
    Still Life with Beatles Anthology

    Signing in to iCloud drive is buggy. It asks you to do it more than once, and makes it seem like you need to do it again. It also asks if you want an iCloud icon on your phone. I said yes, tapped it, and it turned out that the log in was successful.  (Lucy in the sky with diamonds)

  • When you double tap on the home button, you see the open apps overlapped on each other, instead of side by side. (We tramped along singing a song, side by side)
  • Newsstand has changed to News, and there are a bunch of different options offered to you to choose. You can get a digest emailed to you or just see a bunch of articles in a list. Not sure what to make of this yet. (I heard the news today, oh boy)
  • If you have not listened to Revolution 9 for a while, here’s a link: Revolution 9. It’s still annoying, but less unlistenable than when I was a kid.
  • I’ve been enjoying the George Harrison documentary, Living in the Material World on HBO Go, which is probably what is responsible for the Beatles theme of this post. (Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.)

If you run into any troubles with QuantumListing after installing iOS9 please let me know at david@quantumlisting.com or call me at 914-470-5719.

All Aboard

I sent out an email earlier today to the people that have registered and become Premium Members of QuantumListing. Its purpose was to give them step by step instructions on how to use the app. It was a revised version of the Tips and Tricks page. I did some editing, added a couple of new images, made a few changes.

Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting to get more new users, that I forget to communicate with the ones I already have. It is not enough to just get people to download and register, it is equally, if not more important to have the current members become engaged. In order to be successful, QuantumListing must become a habit for its users. I don’t think it is necessary for people to be as hooked as my teenage daughter is to SnapChat, but checking in a few times a week to see what’s new would be great!

When we were designing the app, my friend TonyScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 4.08.26 PM Brancato recommended the book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal. After reading it, I had the team make some changes to simplify the use of QuantumListing. My favorite change was putting the buttons to call, email, or visit the website of the listing agent/owner right on the title bar. Before you had to tap on another button to bring up that menu. Throughout the app we tried to make things as simple as possible. Using the app, I feel that we were pretty successful. Importing a PDF into the app to use in a listing is probably the trickiest thing, but once you have done it once or twice, it becomes pretty easy. We put a separate section on the Tips and Tricks website to describe how to do that, which you can find here. I imagine that Millennials will have no trouble mastering the app at all, and alte cockers like me will  get the hang of it after a few uses. (I played FIFA 2015 with my 16 year old son recently.  That is hard!)

At Perlmutter Properties, my brokerage company, we recently switched to a different email blast service. When we made that change, the new company called me a couple of times, and sent emails every few days to make sure the on-boarding process went smoothly. That is something I would like to emulate as we go forward with QuantumListing. Walking the line between creating an easy transition and being annoying to new customers will take some fine tuning, probably.

So, after you’ve downloaded and registered your QuantumListing app, expect to hear from me. You want to beat me to the punch? Email me at david@quantumlisting.com or call me at 914-470-5719.

OK, I’ve downloaded the QuantumListing app, now what do I do?

Congratulations, you’ve downloaded the QuantumListing app (or in case you have not, go to www.quantumlisting.com and click on the App Store link). Now what do you do?

  1. Make sure you click on the activation link in the email that will be automatically sent to you. Didn’t get the email? Check your spam filter. Still don’t see it? Contact support@quantumlisting.com. If you registered with Facebook, you won’t get the activation e mail.
  2. OK, now that you’ve got the app and have activated it, it is time to log in! Use the username and password you just created.
  3. After you log in, you’ll notice five icons at the bottom of the screen. Tap on the Profile icon at the bottom right, the one that looks like three people.
  4. You’ll know you’re on the profile screen, because it says Profile at the top! Here’s where the fun begins. (i) Tap on the circle with the silhouette. Take a selfie, hit done. Or, if you have a picture on your phone that you prefer, hit the two squares at the bottom left of the screen and select that. (ii) Tap on the About me section. Erase the words “No bio posted” and write a little something about yourself. (iii) Tap on the green rectangle that says account. Hit the green Edit button on the top right. Add your e mail address if it is not there. Check the profile, phone and website information, and add or change those if necessary. Hit the Done button when you are satisfied with the information.
  5. You’ve got the basics down, it’s time to get creative. I’ll bet you are just itching to add something to the app, but aren’t sure what to do first. My suggestion is to reach into your wallet, and pull out one of your business cards. Open up the app, look for the camera icon i the bottom. Tap on that, then tap on the word Camera. Snap a picture of your business card. Hit done.  There are a few mandatory pieces of information that need to be entered before any listing (or business card) can be submitted. (i) Enter a title – in this case it can be your name and company. (ii) Check to see that a phone number and e mail address have been auto-filled – every listing must have these, so if they are not there, go back to 4 above! (iii) Tap on Map to add a location – for your business card, you probably want to add the address of your office. If you are in your office, the address is probably already entered, thanks to Google maps magic. (iv) Next, you’ll see three Building Information boxes. For your business card entry, tap on asset type and pick your specialty from the list (pull up on the list with your finger if you don’t see your asset type at first). Do the same with the For Lease or Sale box. Leave the price box blank. Now you’ve entered all of the required information. Easy, right?
  6. If you pull up on the screen further, you’ll see the picture of your business card that you took just before, and below that are boxes for additional property information and comments. These boxes are all optional. When you are adding a property, they will help your listing be found in searches, but are not required.
  7. Hit Submit in the top right of the screen. Done!
  8. Now, tap on the first tab on the bottom, the icon that looks like a house. Pull down on the screen and release to refresh the Public Listings feed. Your business card should appear at the top of the feed. You’re famous!
  9. Now, go to the Search icon. It is the second from the left and looks like a magnifying glass. Look for your office on the map, or type it into the search bar. A QuantumListing logo should be visible there. Tap on that and you’ll see your name pop up in a white bar. Tap on that, and you’ll see your contact information, location, and the picture of your card, and, if you scroll down, whatever else you entered, if anything.
  10. If you tap on the fourth icon at the bottom, the one that looks like a silhouette with a gear coming out of its ear, you’ll see your business card. This is where you’ll find your listings in the future when you’ve add them.

This should be all you need to get you started on becoming a QuantumListing pro! There are many more features for you to discover on your own, or with the help of our Tips and Tricks. If you still have questions, contact us at support@quantumlisting.com.

4 Way Street #CREtech #startup

When I was nine or ten years old, I went with my older brother Frank to Sam Goody’s at the Livingston Mall to pick out my first record album. I was agonizing over the bins, not really having a clue as to what to pick. Frank is about three and a half years older than me, and was four years ahead of me in school. He was my guru in all things music at the time.  His recommendation was 4 Way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I still love the album, and the music of those Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 5.05.46 PMfour artists as a group and in their other iterations. But, I don’t listen to it on vinyl anymore. I may have it still, down in the basement, but my turntable has not worked in at least ten years, and there are probably more pops and scratches on those disks than I could count. I may have a CD version of the album, but couldn’t tell you with any certainty, and might have downloaded it from iTunes at some point, but again, am not sure. If I want to listen to 4 Way Street, I can listen on Spotify,  Amazon Prime or the new Apple Radio. Time has changed the way we do the things we have always done.

I started as a real estate salesman in 1986 working for N. Peter Burton’s Westchester County office. In 1989, when I wanted to start developing shopping centers, I left N. Peter Burton and started my own brokerage, Perlmutter Properties, Inc. At the same time, my partners and I started DKH Group as our development company. DKH had a pretty good run in the 1990’s, developing over a million square feet of retail.

Sometime in the mid-1990’s, I started sharing my office with another real estate broker, Ed Gray. We first met when he introduced Applebees to us as a potential tenant for New Roc City in New Rochelle. Ed had a commercial real estate brokerage, EdGrayUSA, and even though we were in the same business, and in theory could have perceived each other as competitors, I invited him to sublease one of my spare offices. Ed had, and still has, such a nice, even keeled disposition, a great work ethic, and makes the nicest marketing packages of just about any independent broker.

I always enjoyed talking with Ed, exchanging market information with him, as well as ideas. We helped each other however we could. We were both technophiles, and it was Ed that introduced me to Loopnet to which he had recently subscribed. Loopnet became the first online real estate information service to which I subscribed.

Later I added CoStar to my arsenal, as well as Retail Lease Trac (they mailed me discs a couple of times a year originally!), the Retail Tenant Database, the Directory of Major Malls, Plain Vanilla Shell, and maybe a couple of others. I was an information junkie, but probably never got as much out of any one of them as I could have. None of them came cheap, some were more expensive than others, some more valuable to me than others. Some have kept their price fairly steady, or with modest increases. A couple, and I bet you can guess which ones, have jacked up their prices considerably more.

My dad was in the supermarket business, and I was raised in a culture of high volume, low margin business, with a focus on customer service. My dad used to say it was cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one. His company, Supermarkets General, was originally part of the Wakefern Cooperative, operating Shop Rite stores. They were growing rapidly and wanted to implement different merchandising ideas, so they left the coop and re-branded themselves as Pathmark.  One of their early slogans was “One item, one price.” They didn’t want you have to buy three cans of tuna to get the best price. Before the unfortunate leveraged buyout in 1986 which was the first step toward their eventual demise as part of A&P, Pathmark was the low price leader in the New York metro area.

So, all of this leads to the creation of Jeomark, LLC and QuantumListing. I wanted to create an app that would provide nationwide access to commercial real estate listings using all of the incredible features of smartphones and the cloud. Listings published on the app are visually oriented, with a photo or your marketing PDF being the central image. Buttons to contact the listing broker are right there on top of the image, making it incredibly easy for potential clients or other brokers to contact you.

My vision is to make QuantumListing so reasonably priced that anyone can afford it. In fact, if you don’t want to post listings, there’s no charge at all. If you do post listings, you can subscribe to a one month plan for $9.99, three months for $24.99, and a year for $79.99. For the initial roll out period, we’re willing to waive those nominal fees.

I realize that I have a monumental task ahead of me. Having a great product that we’re committed to continue to improve, and at a great price is just a starting place. It’s not enough to simply let people know that QuantumListing exists. “If you build it, they will come” may work in the movies, but I’m not naive enough to think that applies to a new product, especially one that requires some effort from the user.  Getting people to download it, register, and add their listings when they have other ingrained habits won’t be easy, even though we’ve made the process as simple as we can. I look forward to the journey ahead, and hope that there will be more days of triumph than frustration. With your help, I think it can be done. Please download the app, register, and post your listings.

Get it here: QuantumListing.

 

 

The Second Half of the Battle Will Be Much Longer Than the First #CREtech #Startup

Coming up with the idea for a CRE app, and executing it is only half the battle. Once your app is available, spreading the word and convincing people to adopt your app is a gargantuan task. It takes a combination of email, social media, word of mouth, real estate and tech conference attending, publicity and print advertising to let people know your app exists and is worthwhile. You have to give yourself a couple of years to become an overnight success!

Right now, even before it has been widely installed, I think QuantumListing gives tremendous value to the user. Once you’ve posted your listings, either using a photo or PDF to the app, you know where to go on your phone to easily retrieve your listing when you are on the road and forward it to potential customers, as well as post it to social media. I do look forward to the day when I might be in any town or city, and I’ll go to the map function on the QuantumListing app and see the flags indicating there are listings all around me. I know we’ll get there, it will take time and effort, and continued improvements to the app, but we’ll get there.