Industry News

ZipRealty CEO creates company from chaos

Newfangled brokerage now has 400 employee salespeople

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ZipRealty's chief executive Eric Danziger started out opening doors for people at the Fairmont Hotel in the heart of San Francisco. He's come a long way in the last 34 years, but he's essentially still doing the same task today. Only now, the doors lead not to a few nights' stay, but to homes for Zip's customers and careers for its salespeople. Danziger, 49, left his last post in the hotel industry as president of Carlson Hotels Worldwide to join ZipRealty less than three years ago. At that time, the realty brokerage was a mere baby struggling to find its way out of the surrounding dot-com bust. "We were running out of dough," Danziger said. "I certainly didn't come in and find charter jets and luxury vehicles...we had to build the company almost from scratch." Danziger's family and hotel cronies thought he was crazy to join an online startup when so many dot-coms were emptying their offices. "They said I was nuts. They said, 'What's this online game, this technology thing?' But ...