• Upstream will go live and gain major traction.
  • FHFA will begin regulating MLS data.
  • MRIS will create the Super MLS.
  • A new small-brokerage-only association will launch.
  • Spencer Rascoff will be appointed secretary of HUD.
  • NAR will name female successor to Dale Stinton.
  • Realogy will acquire Homesmart.

Luxury Connect
Meet the Luxury Leaders | October 19-20 | Beverly Hills

As you can probably see, this is a special edition of my 7 predictions. I normally post those on my blog at Notorious R.O.B., but not this year!

Brad Inman asked if I wanted to share these crazy predictions with the readers of Inman, and I thought, why not? I mean, these are predictions sure to be wrong or your money back, as I say on my blog.

Editor’s note: Hahn, since we’re not on your free blog, but on Inman, which has a subscription product, please note that no one will be getting their money back if your crazy predictions do not come true.

The musical selection for this year’s predictions are inspired by nothing other than the fact that these are now oldies. My girl’s teenage children, never mind my own pre-teen kids, have no idea that these songs even exist.

Shame, I know. But I’ll say that I can’t wait to help DJ weddings of my friends’ kids when we’ll play some of these to get the old fogies out the chairs to boogie. If you’re a Gen-Xer like me, then the ’90s were your prime clubbing days, so some of these are gonna be familiar to you.

If you’re slightly older than the average Realtor of 58 years or so, some of these were the noise you were yelling at us to turn down.

Without further ado, let’s get into predictions sure to be wrong, or your money back!

Upstream goes live and gains major traction

The official schedule for Project Upstream is that it will go into alpha testing and then maybe beta testing in 2016. The world doesn’t expect to see Upstream fully live and in production until sometime in 2017.

Skeptics point out that the association world, with its committee-driven decision making and revolving door of leadership, has a poor track record with anything technology-related and think that because the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the technology partner to Upstream, we might not see anything until sometime in 2018 or beyond — if ever.

I think not.

The core technology of Upstream — the database — already exists. The data standards that Upstream wants to use have already been defined for the most part by Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO).

Sure, the MLS vendors will push back — because, well, they want to stay in business — but the names lined up demanding compliance are not ones you cross and stay in business in real estate, for long anyhow.

Plus, Marty Frame of Realtors Property Resource (RPR) is a very smart guy, as are people such as Cary Sylvester with Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI) and Gurtej Sodhi with Crye-Leike on the Upstream side.

Now they have $12 million in funding from big daddy NAR. The technology can be solved in a matter of months, if not weeks.

The technology is not, has never been and will never be the barrier to progress in real estate. Slow decision-making, political infighting and need for consensus-building are, have been and will be the problems.

Thing about Upstream, though, is that it has near-universal support from the largest companies in real estate.

Sure, said support might be somewhat lukewarm (as in the case of Realogy), but there are enough passionate supporters with very deep pockets and hundreds of thousands of Realtors as in the case of HomeServices of America, The Realty Alliance, Keller Williams, Re/Max and others who can manufacture consent if necessary.

Add to the fact that NAR has lined up behind Upstream and all of the associations get taken out of the picture in terms of rebelliousness. Some MLSs might drag their feet because they remember that the origin of Upstream was as a nuclear option to be used against recalcitrant MLSs, and they remember that the origin of RPR was as a single national MLS.

But when big brokers and NAR are calling the shots, MLSs will have little choice but to comply — at least if the MLS CEO likes having that job.

So I predict that Upstream will actually go live by the second half of 2016, propelled forward by the incredibly political will of the large brokerages and the need for NAR to showcase some sort of major success with its enormous investment into RPR.

And because Upstream has so much support from so many brokerages for so many years already, I think it will be successful, at least in terms of participation, almost from the get-go.

I think starting out with 60 percent of all listings and all agents going through Upstream is not unthinkable; by the end of 2016, we might see 80 percent.

That is my first prediction because the next few flow from this one. From a score-keeping standpoint, this means that if Upstream doesn’t launch successfully in 2016, I might be looking at a 1-for-7 type of batting average this year.

FHFA begins regulating MLS data

If Upstream launches in 2016, then I think that is also when the federal government starts to regulate the industry’s data practices. Because the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is one of the main agencies that deals with housing data, it ends up taking point on the federal takeover of real estate data.

But I’m sure the entire alphabet soup and nicknamed agencies — Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The Federal Reserve (The Fed), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Ginnie Mae and others — would be involved.

There will be two triggers. The first is the success of Project Upstream. I wrote a blog post in August of 2015 worried about government regulation:

“Now, here comes Project Upstream. As conceived of right now, it is an actual company — UpstreamRE, LLC — that will be owned and managed by a group of brokerages and national franchise companies.

“That company will enter into an agreement with RPR, a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors, to provide a national database with a single point of entry for listings and a mechanism by which the brokerage will be able to dictate where and how listings information will flow.

“That ‘where and how’ includes the MLS itself, includes other brokerages and includes the portals. Upstream is not — has sworn up and down that it will not be — an MLS.

“It is, instead, a ‘data management’ platform for brokerages to control listings. Since it is not an MLS, and the MLS still exists, the B2B function of the MLS will not be replaced or taken up by Upstream. One of the main objectives of Upstream, then, is to place brokerages at the center of the B2C — business to consumer — activity.

“So how do we avoid Upstream being classified as a public utility? Its core raison d’etre is to control consumer access to listing data. That’s right in the wheelhouse of various regulators who are charged with consumer protection. 

“As conceived of now, Upstream is a company that seeks to displace the MLS from being involved in the flow of listing information from the brokerage to consumers by creating and using a national database that sits ahead of the MLS itself.”

I’ve never received any official rebuttal from Upstream, its lawyers or its defenders about the public utility issue. I have heard through the grapevine that Upstream’s team of attorneys have put into place various rules and provisions to insulate Upstream from anti-trust claims.

But of course, anti-trust protection doesn’t address the core issue: Upstream is a data utility, unlike the MLS. Hold that thought for a minute.

The second trigger is the kerfuffle in Miami. If you haven’t heard by now, the top Coldwell Banker team in Miami, The Jills, have been accused of (and some say admitted to) massive manipulation of MLS data. The details can be found in this video by Frances Flynn Thorsen:

I touched on this issue in my “The Seven Most Interesting People in Real Estate, 2015” as well, and Thorsen touches on the most troubling part of this: that the MLS responsible hasn’t done anything about this.

The thing is, as Thorsen says, MLS data is used by a lot of people: buyers, sellers, appraisers, real estate brokers and agents. And a lot of that data flows up into places such as NAR, banks, financial analysts and government agencies that make trillion-dollar decisions based on data.

One of the causes of the financial collapse of 2007 was bad real estate data, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations called Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse:

“The absence of relevant data for use in RMBS modeling left the credit rating agencies unable to accurately predict mortgage default and loss rates when housing prices stopped climbing.”

So assuming for the moment that policymakers, including big-time federal regulators, don’t want a repeat of the 2007-2008 festival of fun, they would have a strong, strong, strong interest in ensuring that banks and RMBS modeling software have access to accurate, relevant data.

And now we find out that the MLS data itself can’t be trusted because of shenanigans by brokers and agents and the apparent unwillingness or the inability of the MLS to regulate itself.

Combine the two issues, and we have an obvious conclusion, at least if you’re a government regulator who always knows best: real estate data has to be regulated for the good of the industry, the consumers and the overall economy.

This isn’t something that is an anti-trust problem. So it doesn’t much matter whether Upstream is structured in such a fashion so as to get around anti-trust issues. This is a “big daddy coming in and telling you what to do and how to do it” issue.

No lawsuits by the Department of Justice (DOJ). No inquiries by state attorneys generals. Just a straightforward command by the FHFA that all real estate information must be entered into the National Property Registry.

And in case you think the real estate industry could fight such a thing, let’s remember that every single broker and agent make a living thanks to a license from the government.

Let’s pray this prediction is just dead wrong. But it seems perfectly logical to me.

MRIS creates the Super MLS

In 2015, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) announced that it had signed an agreement to merge with its large neighbor to the north, TREND. But that wasn’t the only piece.

The real goal of MRIS and TREND isn’t just to merge the two of them. It’s to create a whole new concept of the MLS, powered by (you guessed it) the technology that MRIS has built over the years to operate the second-largest MLS in the country.

I mentioned this in my “The Seven Most Interesting People in Real Estate” post, and wrote:

MRIS and Trend released a paper on the subject, entitled MRIS and TREND — A Shared Commitment and Vision. The subtitle to the paper is MLS Evolved, and it states, in part:

‘This consolidation will go beyond a simple joining of forces. It will create an entirely new organization that welcomes other MLSs, associations and brokers from the outset. The goal is to transform the model of MLS, recapture the faith of constituents and pioneer innovative and meaningful solutions for the brokerage firms.’

Part of said meaningful solutions for the brokerage firms is something that sounds an awful lot like Project Upstream:

The Broker is the Primary Customer

‘The brokerage owns its listing inventory, grants permission to the MLS to serve the agents, is legally responsible for its listings and agents and is the foundation for the real estate business model in America. This makes the broker the primary customer who must have control over and access to their listing content including directing its distribution.’

What I didn’t touch on in that post was that the MLS Evolved concept envisions a new kind of “Super MLS.” From the MLS Evolved paper:

It was evident that the solution needed to extend beyond the simple joining of MLSs and instead create a new organization that would introduce the evolved MLS service. The acronym MAPS (Mid-Atlantic Property Services) was created solely as a working title for discussion purposes.

And:

MRIS and TREND will contact key MLSs, associations and brokers who share this vision to invite them to participate in the formation of the new organization. This will be an opportunity for other like-minded organizations to get in at the start and help shape the future of the new organization from inception.

The underlying vision of MLS Evolved is a tiered-product offering with a core “Basic Service” and various upgrades to the Basic:

Basic Service

The basic service would incorporate the core MLS system: one front-end with supporting products and services for a flat fee. There may ultimately be fewer products in the basic package, but they would be products that are valued more highly by subscribers and contribute to the efficiency of the marketplace.

Upgraded Products and Services

The user would also have the option to subscribe to additional or enhanced products. For instance, the basic service would include a standard CMA. However, if the subscriber wants to upgrade to a more robust CMA offered through MAPS, they can do so by subscribing to that product on an on-going basis, or pay for a one-time use. Potential premium products could include:

• Statistics reports
• Virtual tours
• Cloud storage
• Mobile apps
• Document Management
• E-signatures

Localization

The proposed model would anticipate the customization needed to target local data sets, market customs and differentiating factors based on county, state or other laws. This approach provides the benefit of being part of a larger organization with the ability to serve a local marketplace.

That last part, “Localization,” is what I think forms the basis for the Super MLS. I realize that MRIS/TREND imagine creating MAPS as they merge and then inviting other MLSs and associations and so on to join in on some full-ownership basis.

But the technology framework is such that MAPS could just wholesale MLS services to customer MLSs.

If you’re a 500-person MLS in Kentucky somewhere, instead of going out and getting a MLS vendor and trying to do it yourself, why not just buy what you need from MAPS and have them provide a turnkey solution including customer support call centers and the ability to share in premium upgrades?

At the same time, there are real difficulties to MAPS governance, ownership and so on bringing such tiny entities into the corporate structure itself. The small MLS might prefer to control its own rules and governance without needing to go convince a bunch of larger MLSs as well.

Then the solution is something more like a hub-and-spoke model in which the Super MLS serves as the hub. The shareholder-owner MLSs will form the hub and leverage the common technology and services platform to wholesale MLS services to customer MLSs around the region.

The customer MLS gets the latest technology and products, but on a vendor-customer basis, which means it controls its own destiny, has its own board members it can bribe with iPads and such and makes its own rules.

Imagine, for a moment, that the Super MLS includes these following large MLSs as shareholders and owners:

  • MRIS/TREND (Mid-Atlantic)
  • MLS PIN (Massachusetts)
  • Georgia MLS
  • MyFloridaRegional MLS (Florida)
  • MRED (Chicago)
  • Heartland (Kansas City or St. Louis)
  • ARMLS (Arizona)
  • HAR (Texas/south)
  • CRMLS (California)
  • NWMLS (Seattle/Pacific Northwest)

Each of those can be hubs that can serve an entire region of smaller rural and exurban MLSs. It’s not outright consolidation because those are intensely political, but it comes close because all of the Super MLS network would be on the same platform, using the same data standards and offering the same premium products and services.

So I think MRIS/Trend creates the Super MLS in 2016. It makes too much sense not to. Of course, because it makes so much sense, it might fail utterly going forward — but that’s for future years.

New association of small brokerages launches

I might be calling this one too early (I usually do), which is why my predictions are guaranteed wrong or your money back! But there is something really funny about both Upstream and the Broker Public Portal (BPP).

Both Upstream and the BPP hold aloft the banner of brokerage community. The governance of both organizations is heavily invested in the idea of representation across the brokerage community with certain number of seats for large, medium and small brokerages.

The rallying cry, “Brokers should take back control over data” suggests that there is a us-versus-them situation here, presumably with all brokerages on one side and bad dudes such as Zillow and tech startups and such on the other side.

The thing is, we all know that brokerages compete with each other over leads, deals and, of course, over agents. And we kind of know that one of the reasons Upstream started was that big brokerages were pissed off at the MLS. Do we remember why?

One of the biggest reasons for the unhappiness was leveling the playing field. We saw this over and over again  with things including MLS public portals, various tools and services of the MLS, and so on.

The complaint from big brokers was that the MLS was making tools and technology available to everyone — including the small brokers — that they had spent big money implementing for themselves.

So Upstream and BPP are by the brokers, for the brokers and of the brokers, right? Except that, as I noted in this post, the small brokerages in BPP and Upstream aren’t really all that small:

That’s a healthy list of significant people. I mean, one of their “Small Firms” is Pacific Union, which was #9 on RealTrends 500 with $6.7 billion in sale volume last year. Mich Ribeck (Ribak?) of Tropical Realty did 301 transactions, $43 million in volume, with a team of 21.

Sure, that’s small in comparison to say “Midsized” firms like BHGRE Metro Brokers, which is the largest BHGRE franchisee in the country, who did over $1.1 billion in volume, or Howard Hanna Real Estate, but it ain’t “small” like the average Joe on the street might think of as small. So these are significant, big, BIG players.

It used to be, and it still remains to some extent, that there was a rift between the association world and the big brokerage world. The association, after all, represented every Realtor, including those belonging to tiny mom-and-pop shops.

The association provided training that small brokerages often could not, and the MLS (owned by the association) provided technology that small brokerages often could not.

But Upstream is powered by and supported by NAR, though governed by big brokers. It is as clear an instance of NAR siding with the largest companies in real estate as we have ever seen. The $12 million in funding for the project came from dues of not just large brokerages but every Realtor.

If the association is not for the small brokers, then who is? Meanwhile, some crazy percentage of brokerages in an average association or MLS is tiny — we’re talking like 70 percent of brokerages having fewer than five agents.

One might say — well, I would say — that the balance of power had swung too far in favor of the small brokerage and against the large brokerages. Upstream and NAR swings the power possibly too far the other way, and the true small brokerage that make up the vast bulk of the Realtor population might suddenly find themselves on the outside looking in.

That’s the perfect scenario for an oft-talked-about-but-never-done (how uncommon in real estate) thing: a new trade association.

Spencer Rascoff appointed secretary of HUD

In November 2016, there will be a presidential election. I know, I know — given the candidates right now, one could be forgiven for hoping that we could skip this one altogether, but it’s going to happen. There will be an election, and somebody, unfortunately, has to win.

I think Hillary Clinton wins a hotly-contested, extraordinarily controversial and incredibly divisive election. It will be a circus of hatred for months leading up to Election Day, and there will be allegations of massive voter fraud by the losing Republican and possibly even another Supreme Court lawsuit.

But at the end of the circus, Clinton will win with a razor-thin margin.

She then has to assemble a Cabinet between November and January, when she has to take office.

Now, let’s consider a few things.

  1. If Clinton does win, a huge, huge part of the victory will be because of the contribution that Silicon Valley has made to her campaign, both in terms of cash and, more importantly, in terms of technology. We already know from the Obama victories in both campaigns that he had a massive advantage over both McCain and Romney in technology. Top flight engineers, data scientists and certifiable geniuses from Google, Facebook and other powerhouse Silicon Valley companies worked on his technology platform. They will do the same for Clinton. Which means that she will owe them.
  2. Clinton is old — old. She’ll be 69 when she takes office, and the Democratic Party itself is lacking in young leaders who might be tapped for Cabinet positions. That’s not my opinion as a proven right-wing nut, but the opinion of Salon — hardly a conservative publication.
  3. One way to pay back Silicon Valley would be to nominate one of their own as a powerful Cabinet official, but there are only a few positions where the business and technology expertise of Silicon Valley make sense. Defense, State, Justice, Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security, for example, are not good fits, nor is Treasury (that’s going to be a Wall Street bankster banker, of course).
  4. The four that make sense are Commerce, Energy, Transportation and Housing.

I think the one that makes the most sense, and the one that Clinton will choose, is Housing. Why? Commerce is mostly about international trade and investment. Energy doesn’t really have a direct Silicon Valley connection yet and has to deal with nukes, coal mines and oil and gas.

Transportation is an industry that technology is busy disrupting (see Uber) with a huge constituency that might get pissed off if she puts the wrong young turk there.

Housing, on the other hand, is perfect. Mostly because Spencer Rascoff exists. Let us count the reasons:

  1. He’s young. He just turned 40.
  2. He’s successful. Zillow wasn’t his first successful startup. The man has a track record few Cabinet secretaries could bring to the table at 60.
  3. He’s not just a wild-eyed entrepreneur; he’s a proven manager.
  4. He’s a New York Times bestselling author.
  5. He’s media-savvy, having been on hundreds of business TV programs, and can handle the press and tough questions. His investor relations and public relations people have trained him already to deal with the press.
  6. He’s big on social media already.
  7. As far as we know, he has no major skeletons in his closet. If he did, it probably would have come out by now either because of how much some real estate folks hate him or because the Move-NAR-Zillow lawsuit that keeps dragging on.
  8. He’s already close to the Obama White House, as we know from the various webcasts and such.

Now, granted, Rascoff himself has never suggested anything approaching leaving Zillow. He seems excited to keep on keeping on. But if you get a phone call from the President of the frikkin’ United States asking you to serve — that’s a tough request to turn down.

And as for Clinton, having a young, proven, smart, telegenic member on her Cabinet makes her look with-it and in touch with the concerns of the younger generation. Silicon Valley would be thrilled to have one of its own be a Cabinet Secretary as well.

Sure, appointing Spencer Rascoff as Secretary of Housing is like appointing Travis Kalanick of Uber as Secretary of Transportation, but who you gonna piss off? Some Realtors?

We already know more than half of Realtors don’t care about politics. We already know that when NAR did its big ol’ shindig on Capitol Hill in 2011, they got 3 percent turnout.

Plus, Realtors don’t have the best public image in the mind of voters. So it’s minimal risk for President Hilary Clinton to piss off a few thousand politically active Realtors.

Look for the announcement at the end of the year.

NAR names female successor to Dale Stinton

It seems like the retirement of Dale Stinton is something that everyone in the real estate industry knows is coming, somewhat dreads and wonders about at the same time. Say what you will about Stinton, he’s probably the most significant leader of NAR in a couple of generations. He’s certainly been one of the most powerful.

Now, Stinton spent 33 years at NAR, in various positions and as CFO prior to ascending to the CEO job in 2005. You could say he’s a NAR lifer, having spent pretty much his whole career at NAR.

The CEO previous to Stinton, however, was not. Terry McDermott was the CEO of the American Institute of Architects prior to NAR, and he had spent 24 years in the publishing business before that.

I think the next CEO will come from outside the industry as well, which fits the pattern of insider-outsider-insider that NAR has tended to follow throughout its history. I know, that goes against the smart money who are all betting that Bob Goldberg, NAR senior vice president, is the next-in-line.

But I feel like the challenges of NAR going into 2017 — which include some of the predictions here, such as government regulation of real estate data — are going to be intensely political in nature, rather than business or technology, areas in which Goldberg excels.

Plus, real estate is possibly the least diverse industry in America today. When Stefan Swanepoel did his Power 200 list last year, we got complaints from women that not enough women were represented, forcing me to respond in a blog post:

Speaking as an Asian-American, and one that has often noted that the only American industry whiter than real estate is the NHL, let me suggest that the issue isn’t the list or Stefan’s work or our analysis.

The issue is simply the reality of the residential real estate industry as it is in 2014. If you’re outraged that more than 32 women didn’t make the Power 200 list, imagine how it might feel to be African-American or Latino or Asian-American or gay.

One assumes that NAR is aware of this. The opportunity created by Dale Stinton’s retirement will not be missed.

I think NAR and Dale Stinton name a female successor, the first woman CEO of NAR in its 100-plus year history.

They might not be able to find a minority (though if you ask really nicely, I’ll consider serving as CEO), but in an industry that is utterly dominated by women at the Realtor level, not naming a female CEO might be the most tone-deaf move I could imagine.

Now, who might that person be? Who knows? If it were up to me, I’d name Gwen Graham, congresswoman from Florida. She’s a conservative Democrat from Florida, a Republican state, who has voted against Nancy Pelosi (making no friends there) against the Iran nuclear deal (making no friends with the White House) and is likely to lose her seat in November in a district that leans Republican.

She’s also the daughter of Bob Graham, former senator and governor of Florida, with the juice that implies. Having her as NAR’s CEO as the industry looks forward into some turbulent political waters can only be an asset.

But that’s just pure guesswork. (Like the rest of this post isn’t? What?) What’s not guesswork, my lead-pipe lock of the year, is that NAR will name a woman to succeed Dale Stinton or your money back!

Realogy acquires HomeSmart

In 2014, Realogy made a major strategic move by acquiring ZipRealty for $166 million. Although Realogy’s NRT unit acquired some offices and some agents from ZipRealty’s brokerage operations, the real crown jewel was the Zap platform, which Realogy has been rolling out across its network throughout 2015.

Realogy believed that having the Zap platform gave them a huge leg up in terms of its technology offerings vis-à-vis its franchising competitors and would help make their franchisees (including the company-owned stores of the NRT) an advantage in Internet lead generation and conversion.

The thing is, while Zap has had some impact, it really hasn’t moved the needle that much in terms of franchising.

The biggest challenge that Realogy faces in the competitive environment is that its brands — Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, Better Homes and Gardens and Sotheby’s — are expensive, high-investment, high-cost franchises.

In past earnings calls Realogy singled out Keller Williams by name as a competitive threat, in part because of KW’s lower cost model (commission splits are capped).

In 2016, Realogy decides to compete head-to-head with KW by offering a low-cost franchising alternative. The best way to do that is to acquire one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in the country: HomeSmart International.

Founded by former medical technology entrepreneur Matt Widdows in 2000, HomeSmart has grown to 8,000 agents in 76 offices doing over $5 billion in sales in 2015.

And HomeSmart undercuts even KW, offering a flat-fee model based around $150 royalty fee per transaction, which allows its franchisees to offer a transaction-fee-only, 100-percent-commission model.

Part of the decision to pull the trigger on HomeSmart was Realogy coming to realize that the cannibalization rate would be low: agents who would select a 100 percent shop are not agents who would select a traditional Realogy franchise.

Furthermore, Realogy realized that bringing HomeSmart under its corporate infrastructure would allow it to cut the cost of buying into a franchise even further, from $20,000 to under $5,000, without tainting the established high-cost, high-visibility brands.

A bonus reason for the acquisition is that HomeSmart is able to operate its franchise at such low cost thanks to a proprietary technology platform that Widdows and his team have built over the years. Adding that technology capability to the Zap platform is a bonus for an increasingly tech-savvy Realogy.

Conclusion

If you’ve read this whole thing, you’ve come to some conclusions on your own.

One, you might have concluded that Brad was celebrating Oregon’s Measure 91 going into effect in 2015 when he asked if he could put this annual tradition from Notorious R.O.B. on Inman. That’s a very fair conclusion, though I have no idea whether Measure 91 had anything to do with the decision.

Two, you might have concluded that I, the writer, was celebrating Oregon’s Measure 91 when I came up with these predictions. That, too, is a fair conclusion, though as I live in Texas where pot is not legal (yet), I can’t blame cannabis. Jameson’s, yes; but cannabis, no.

Three, you might have concluded that I’m possessed of a particularly dark and scary imagination. My girlfriend certainly agrees with you, as she absolutely refuses to talk with me about anything related to American politics, ISIS, foreign affairs, survivalism or “The Walking Dead” as a result.

That is why I hope I’m wrong about most of these and why I offer a guaranteed wrong or your money back guarantee with these predictions.

Four, you might have concluded that the dance music of the ’90s was superior to the crap we have on the radio today that all these young ‘uns are gyrating to. If so, then I have succeeded in my mission. So let me leave you with a bonus track that still ranks as one of the best dance songs of all time:

Robert Hahn is the Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, a marketing, technology and strategy consultancy focusing on the real estate industry. Check out his personal blog, The Notorious R.O.B. or find him on Twitter: @robhahn.

Email Robert Hahn.