Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Game changes

Anyone who has shopped for a house knows about MLS. MLS stands for multiple listing service. They have a monopoly with Real Estate brokers. it serves as an index of all houses on the market. Like eBay, MLS is the market.

Until now.

There are tons of web sites that now offer a competition to MLS.

Zillow.com is the best site I've seen. I use it daily. Google is rolling out their Real Estate listing. They have the distribution channel to compete with MLS.

MLS should be freaking out....or adapting. Which one do you think they are doing?

Real Estate agents too have a new game to play. Now buyers search. Before Real Estate agents made their commission by finding the homes for the buyers. The sellers agent would sit back and wait for the sale. Not anymore. I have had 4 different real estate agents....and most recently I have bought a house without an agent.

Should an agent make 6% commission for taking an order? Absolutely not. I have had some poor agents. I now have a great agent....(I dont mean me!). I will give her 10% commissions, because I know she will get things done, can find me houses, and can negotiate for me. She is who will last. All other agents will be replaced by the internet.

Good customer service is priceless. But I am not going to pay a price for bad customer service. Most Real Estate agents are so spoiled by a great market that they lose site of customer service.

This is an interesting way to change the game. Unfortunately I didnt have a good segway for that article.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Government's job, is not to raise revenue!

The following was an email I received from a distribution list I am on:

New Tax for Florissant Residents

At the last Council meeting March 27, the City agenda had bill e8203 on it for the first reading, but it received all 3 readings and became a law effective 4/1/2006.

It allows Florissant to collect 5% sales tax on all Florissant residents Cell phone bills.

The state passed a bill late last year that allowed the local government bodies to collect the Utility tax on cell bills as a way of making up for the taxes listed due to residents moving from a land line to cell. The state wanted the results to be revenue neutral for the Citizens and local governments. As of now, no rate adjustments on the land lines have been ordered by the state.

The City not wanting to miss out on this money took the approach that they would pass a bill that would allow them to collect the tax on cell phone at the same rate as the land lines (5%). There was no provision in the bill requiring the City to adjust the rate or issue refunds when the state comes out with guidelines.

I ask, what is the City doing for the citizens? These are the people you have looking out for your interest? Why couldn't your elected official insist that your interest and rights be protected? Why couldn’t they enact a law that was in line with the State's action?

How hard would it be for the Director of Finance for the City to figure out what revenue neutral would be? Maybe we are over paying the staff?

This is just another example of why we cannot miss the council meetings.

*********to be added to this distribution list email:

Friday, April 21, 2006

The sleeping Giant.

Microsoft just announced that they signed a deal to sell $1.2 BILLION dollars worth of Windows to one of the world's largest PC makers over only 2 years. Article.

Yet, their stock price doesnt move.

Google just announced that they made that same amount last Quarter, and I cant wait to see how much the market loves them today.

MSFT's stock has hardly moved in the last several years. I think of it like a lemonade stand. If you have a lemonade stand with $1 in cash, and can generate $1 a day than you are worth a couple dollars. Let's say a few years later you have $100 in cash, and are not generate $100 a day. Are you still worth only a few dollars? The market thinks so.

Be smarter than the market (and thus the masses).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bush and I finally agree on something

It turns out that Bush and I finally agree on something.

Click here

Sunday, April 16, 2006

auto industry vs. software industry.

A few days a go a friend sent me the below email:

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industrywith the auto industry and stated,

"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, wewould all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issueda press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent ofthe roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed an Illegal Operation" warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

**********here's my reply:

my rebuttal to the GM cat:

why then do so many people feel the need to buy Microsoft products and not their competitors?

why then do so many people feel the need to buy Toyota and Honda instead of GM and Ford.

Microsoft products have their problems, but they listen to their customers and release updates accordingly. Each update is an evolution....not merely a new year's model.

GM and Ford release new updates once a year (instead of as needed), without focusing on the user's needs.

Instead of the guy defending himself against the man who became the wealthiest man in the world because his product is so good, the GM guy should be taking a page out of microsoft's book and evolving.

bottomline is who is more credible:

the guy who founded the company that changed the world more than any other company in the last 100 years, or a guy who assumed role of a company who can't sell their only product, and who's company is facing bankruptcy.

I'll go with Gates.

if the question is who drives a nicer car....I'd bet its the GM guy. If the question is who changes the world....its Gates.

Friday, April 07, 2006

It's People!

I bought a few hundred pounds of beef from a friend at work. This is the most delicious beef I have ever eaten. It is lean. She raised the cattle as if they were her pets and fed the cattle right. This beef has no preservatives. Its litterally higher quality meat than you'd find at Whole Foods. Its wonderful.

I have shared my beef. Everyone who tries it says they love my beef and want more. (this is not an inuendo...I am really talking about cow).

Last weekend I was sitting around a campfire eating dinner with friends/family. I made 8 burgers and made sure that at least 8 people tried it. There were many professions about how wonderful it was.

Then I said a joke I was proud of, but not one person got.

I said "It's peeeeeople! It........ is........ people."

Does anyone get that reference?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Math always wins.

Well it turns out that google is getting closer to answering the problem I posed (click) here.

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