A New Geek Estate Path: Smaller is Better

There’s immense power in being comfortable in your own skin. And I mean immense. It brings clarity. It enables prioritization. It eliminates FOMO. It gives you a path to follow. It allows you to measure success.

Perhaps, most importantly, it enables you to say no.

If this is true as a person, it’s doubly true as a company.

A few of the many possible goals for starting a company include:

  • Owning a unicorn cited constantly in the media.
  • Running an independent company while maintaining control.
  • Solving a societal problem, no matter the cost.
  • Being your own boss.
  • Building something, earning a profit, and selling it.
  • Building community.
  • Overcoming a personal challenge to fund your mortgage.

Starting with that goal in mind—embracing that goal and being comfortable with it—creates a powerful precedent as your company grows.

Nowhere is this playing out more clearly of late than with Zillow, which is as comfortable in its own skin as I’ve ever seen it. The company is no longer hiding behind a facade. “It is no longer claiming to be a media company or making promises about never becoming a broker or earning commission dollars,” according to Brad Inman. Those behind Zillow have realized that true innovation requires being part of the transaction, and they’re betting the company on it.

Entrepreneurs need to know what they are to become if they are ever to get there. Figuring that out is a process. It’s a process unfolding in my own journey.

I ran Geek Estate Blog for years as a hobby, never giving it the focus required to attain greatness. I never knew what it was or where I wanted to take it, so I instead did a half-assed job of everything. I said yes to everything, when I should have embraced the value of saying no. I took sponsorships, even though I knew that furthering the time suck economy wasn’t in my DNA. I played with a “pro” offering. I added paid press releases. And all of this amounted to nothing substantial due to my lack of direction and second-rate execution.

After being founded in 2017, the GEM now numbers more than 600. My twofold goals for the community have always been clear:

  • Curate and attract the world’s most innovative, diverse community of real estate creatives, doers, and pioneers.
  • Help members become wildly successful in their careers building real estate companies.

Today, our ranks include:

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The GEM is the most diverse group of individuals anywhere in proptech.

So what does the future have in store?

The GEM Diamond will never number more than 1,500 members. There, I said it. Smaller, not bigger. I’m pulling a Jerry Maguire.

Our goal has always been more in line with building 1,000 true fans than it has been about building a massive audience with no meaningful exchange, contribution, or engagement. Superficial networks are not in short supply in today’s noise-filled environment. Depth of conversations and relationships are.

Audience size doesn’t motivate me. Community and relationships do.

We’re not building a global media empire. We’re not here to break news. We’re not writing product reviews by analyzing marketing copy or solving the esoteric problems of multimillionaires. We’re not here to tell you what you want to hear or to sling anyone’s wares.

We’re here to solve our industry’s biggest challenges and develop real-world solutions using objective, divergent thinking. Challenges like:

  • making homeownership and financial independence more accessible.
  • facilitating and increasing affordable housing.
  • community development in buildings and neighborhoods.
  • creating and sustaining wealth management.

We will attract the smartest, forward-thinking individuals across the industry to come together to tackle the most pressing issues. And we’ll do it all in an environment where paying it forward is table stakes to participate in this contest. That’s our mission.

The entrée is to be referred by an existing member or to apply. Once we hit 1,500 members, you’ll have to wait for a departure to gain entry.

Pricing will continue to rise as we approach 1,500 members to maintain quality, account for the fact that the community becomes more valuable as it gets larger, and reward early adopters. Pricing upon entry is your price for life unless you let membership lapse prior to joining again.

We’re not for everyone. We’re for operators, by operators. Small is the new big. If you measure up and are interested in a better future, we’d love for you to join us. You can apply or ask a current member for a referral.

Do you know what you want? What do you need to achieve it? What do you need to say no to? What do you say yes to? What could get in the way? How do you hold yourself accountable?

Identify your truth. Stop walking on eggshells. Own your aspirations and stop letting others dictate your ambitions. Know that the business and growth model of past endeavours is only one of many possibilities.

Zillow buys houses. Keller Williams is a tech company. Redfin and eXp are public companies. Opendoor and Compass have billions in their coffers to deploy.

The world is not changing—it’s already changed. The only path to success is by charting your own course, following it, and being comfortable in your own skin. I realized that. Do you?