The Turn of the Native

No, this is not a book review of Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the NativeScreen Shot 2015-10-21 at 3.18.27 PM. Rather, it is a musing on a term I heard last week for the first time when I was at Tech Reboot Series 3.0: Transforming Commercial Real Estate.  It was Onyx’s Jonathan Schultz that called the younger portion of Millennial Generation “native smartphone users.” He was referring to the young adults that grew up with these devices. Their comfort with them is a given. I see it with my own kids who range in age from 15 to 21.

The decision to start QuantumListing as an app, rather than a website was a conscious one. Limited resources dictated that I choose one platform, either iOS or Android to start. Being an Apple user, I chose the former. Happily, we are not too far away from launching the Android version, too. It could be as little as two weeks, but, I’ve come to learn to expect the unexpected. And after that, we will also make a web portal available.

Hearing Jonathan talk about the native users heartened me. Although I have always been an early adopter of technology, I realize many of my peers are not. Getting users to adopt anything new, especially something that requires a little bit of a learning curve is not an easy task. My summer interns were all aged 20 and under, and they picked up on how to use the app instantly. So, as more Millennials enter the real estate ranks, I am confident that their comfort with a phone based tool will increase the rate of adoption of QuantumListing and other commercial real estate tech apps.

The pricing structure for the app is also designed to be a non-decision. Rates range from $9.99 for a month, $24.99 for three months, and $79.99 for a year of Premium Membership, which gives you the power to submit an unlimited number of listings. During our ramp up period we’re giving away one  year Premium Memberships, so there is absolutely no risk to users for downloading the app. You can keep paying for CoStar and LoopNet, and not worry about breaking the bank with QuantumListing. They have been around for 20 years and have a lot of great features and tons of listings and users. Yes, I am asking for you to spend some time and effort, because the only way my pricing model works is if you participate. It would be relatively easy to build some kind of scraper to populate QuantumListing with listings from all over the web, but I’m not comfortable with that. For me, it falls into an ethical gray area that I don’t want to inhabit. Additionally, scraping would likely result in a lot of outdated listings being introduced into our database.

After you’ve done it once or twice, it literally takes about 3 minutes or less to add a listing to QuantumListing. The app’s ease of use allows the user to update and delete listings really quickly, too, so maintaining accurate information is painless.

I’m looking forward to the days when I have to increase server capacity because of all the listings flowing into QuantumListing from native phone users and their older colleagues. Until then, the app offers enough unique features and conveniences to merit your adoption. The convenience of having a dedicated app to store your listing PDFS and email them from your phone wherever you are is one. The one touch calling and emailing features are also compelling. Sharing your listings with a couple of taps to your social media is yet another.

These may not be things that the woman or man in the corner office is concerned about, they have people for that. But you young hungry natives ought to be all over this. And when your boss sees what you’re doing with QuantumListing, it might be time for you to teach her something new.

Put Yourself on the Map with QuantumListing

IMG_2334I was chatting on Twitter with a potential new QuantumListing user. He was saying that because of the strong demand in his market (big industrial – Los Angeles), he has run out of listings. Here’s my suggestion for him.  And I think it is a good idea for you, too. Use the QuantumListing app to let other users know who you are, where you are located and what your area of expertise is. We’ll even Tweet about you to all of our followers!

First, you have to download the QuantumListing app now. Register, making sure to add a phone number, email address and your website. Log back in, filling out your profile. Use that space to let everyone know what your area of expertise is. Put a picture of yourself in the designated area, too!

Give us a few hours, and we’ll upgrade you to Premium Membership. Once we’ve done that, we’ll send you an email. To activate your Premium Membership, you’ll need to log out and log back in. Then, take one of your business cards out of your wallet and follow these directions. It will just take a couple of minutes.

Step 1: Tap the Camera icon

Step 2: Add a title by tapping the word Title and entering your name, company and specialty.

Step 3: Add your office’s location by tapping on the globe and typing the address, then tap the left facing arrow at the top of the screen.

Step 4: Tap the Asset Type box and choose your primary specialty from the drop down menu. Then tap Lease or Sale depending on which is your primary type of transaction. You can leave the Price/Rent PSF box blank.

Step 5: Tap on Upload Photo or PDF and select Camera and take a picture of your business card.

Step 6: Scroll past the optional property details and add whatever comments you want in the Comments box.


Step 7: Hit the Submit button at the top right to upload your business card. You’ll get a message when it has been successfully submitted.

And now you’ve put yourself on the map! You’ll be a part of search results for your area, and, when anyone opens up the map search within 20 miles of your office, they can tap on the icon at your address and get your information.

Journey to the Future, Part 2

Pathmark-LogoI started in commercial real estate in 1986. I could have done it in New Jersey, where it would no doubt have been easier, since that is where I grew up. It would not have hurt, either, that my father had been a founder of Supermarkets General Corp., parent of Pathmark, Rickel’s, and Steinbach’s (all either defunct, or most likely about to be). My dad had passed away eight years before, so unfortunately would not have been able to help, but his reputation would have given me a jump start. Easy wasn’t for me. Instead, I chose to work in Westchester County for N. Peter Burton. Westchester was drive-through country for me then, from when I was on my way to Brown University up in Providence. I didn’t know the geography, I didn’t know anyone.

But, I was a leasing grinder. I showed up in the morning, made my cold calls, did my foot canvassing. I started out doing office leasing, then pivoted to retail when the office market dried up in 1987. I had two goals when I started as a salesman. The first was to become a broker, and the second to become a developer. I didn’t know what I wanted to develop, but, that is why I became a salesman, to learn about how value was created and where my affinity would lie. Lucky for me, I was able to reach both those goals in about three years.

Having made enough deals, and taken the additional course work required, I became an associate broker as soon as I could. Steve Ifshin became interested in retail development when the housing market bombed. We started working on the Drive-in theater site on Route 9 in Hyde Park, New York. In May of 1989, I brought all of the plans and projections with me out to the ICSC National Deal Making Convention in Las Vegas.

I ran into my first cousin, Ken Narva, while I was out there. Ken was a principal in an architecture firm, Planned Expansion Group, based in White Plains, NY, just a couple of exits along I287 away from the N. Peter Burton office.  Ken offered to sit down with me to look over the development plan. Since I was a complete development neophyte, I was glad to have his opinion. The plan was to develop a center with a discount store and supermarket as the anchors, with satellite retail between the two.

The site was directly across Route 9 from The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. Ken was skeptical that a shopping center would get approved at that location. He suggested I talk to clients of his, that he was also partnering with on a development deal in Englewood, about possibly taking over their development that he had designed on Route 22 in Watchung, New Jersey. The Englewood project was very complex, involving condemnation and an assemblage from multiple property owners, leaving them little time for the Watchung site. I was intrigued, since the site was across Route 22 from the Blue Star Shopping Center, where we often went to the movies when I was a kid.

To be continued….In the meantime, why don’t you download QuantumListing? You can get it here. The app is free, and as we ramp up our user and listing base, we’re offering free Premium Membership.


We’ve Moved

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See you there!