Tag Archives: CRE

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.

We’ve Come So Far… We Have So Far to Go #StartUp #CREtech

After a couple of weeks, we’ve had 65 downloads of the QuantumListing App, and 150 listings uploaded. We’ve netted $126 on app sales from the App Store (2 x 1 year, 2 x 1 month). However, we did start giving early adopters a free 1 year Premium Membership after the first few days.  If you don’t have the app yet, you can get it here. None of the numbers above really have much meaning, except that we now have a product on the market. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

How much did I spend on developing the app? So far, it is in the neighborhood of $50-75,000. I am not sure that is a completely fair number, since all of my time is uncompensated. Office space and other related expenses are shared with my real estate brokerage, Perlmutter Properties, so there is also savings there. My development team is spread around the world, in Bulgaria, Australia, and India (although the web developers in India are being replaced). This has been an economical way of developing the app, but can be frustrating at times, as communications with the development team are all via email and Skype. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

Additionally, the expenses are lower than they might have been since this is the third app I’ve developed, so some of the mistakes were made on those prior experiences, and I’ve segregated those costs from this project. Keeping expenses down are important for any startup. Being a self-funded startup makes that fiduciary responsibility very personal. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

There have not been setbacks and missteps along the road on the QuantumListing journey. Release was delayed a few weeks when we opted to change our original name, Leaseagram, after the attorney for Facebook/Instagram contacted my attorney. It’s not that you can’t have -gram in your name, it is just that you can’t have it if you are using their API for registration or to post to their site, which is apparently written in the fine print of their click through agreement. I decided it was better to switch than fight a deep pocketed behemoth. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

The website should have been up and fully functional, too. I was so focused on making sure the app provided a good user experience, that I neglected the website more than I should.  As a result, we scrapped most of what we had done and are starting the design and function pretty much from scratch. Right now, if you visit QuantumListing.com you will see a marketing page for the app. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

Also, shortly after releasing QuantumListing, we experienced a problem with our email, caused by a system problem at our host. That cost us at least a week, and probably some bad experiences for a few users, as they were not receiving their activation emails, and could not contact. Fortunately that problem was resolved, and it is one of the things that prompted us to start with our temporary Free Membership program. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

There are a several little things we’ll adjust to the app on the next iteration, but I’m generally happy with how it came out. It looks good, and I like the way it functions. I am a huge fan of the buttons on the title bar that allow users to call, e mail or visit the website of the listing agent. If we can find any way to make adding listings easier, we’ll do it. We’ll also activate a couple of the social features. We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.

Once we have a few hundred users and have gotten some feedback, we’ll start the next version in earnest. So if you have any thoughts on how to improve QuantumListing, contact me at david@quantumlisting.com.  We’ve come so far…we have so far to go.