Ryan Slack is CEO of MyDealBook.com, a social networking site aimed at helping real estate professionals land clients and collaborate on deals.
The site launched today with more than 330,000 members. (See Inman News story.)
Slack previously was CEO of PropertyShark, a property information site that started in 2003 in New York City and recently expanded to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Slack left PropertyShark to run MDB LLC, which acquired MyDealBook.com in March. MDB LLC is a marketing partner of PropertyShark.
He will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008.
Slack answered a set of questions posed by Inman News:
What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2008?
Residential real estate will continue to correct itself with stagnant or lower home prices. Recovery depends upon getting to the bottom as quickly as possible. If sellers hold out, then the stagnation will last longer.
Commercial transactions will continue at lower volume compared with past years, but prices will not generally be affected (except as impacted by the supply and cost of financing).
What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?
Price realistically. Assist in the general effort to correct pricing as quickly as possible. Once prices have corrected properly, transaction volume will pick up. Do not resist the correction; you’ll only prolong the agony.
Improve your self-marketing strategies. Network among other professionals who can give you leads: attorneys, accountants, property managers, lenders, etc. Shift your marketing dollars online to lower-cost, highly targeted channels. Get out to more events and venues where you can meet potential clients and referral partners.
Do your best to speed up the transaction process. Adopt paperless transactions, e-mail, mobile messaging, Web-based software, etc. The faster deals close, the faster money will be freed up and the more deals will get done each year.
What was your first job?
Excluding paper routes? I was a sandwich maker at Togo’s in Palo Alto, Calif., at age 14.
What sparked the idea to start your company?
Real estate is all about networking. Successful real estate professionals are natural networkers. Yet, no social/professional networking site has really cracked the nut and developed a networking site that really works for real estate. As CEO of PropertyShark, I found that our users were demanding that we let them meet other users: They demanded the ability to advertise on the site and they demanded more networking functions. MyDealBook addresses these needs.
What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?
Deciding what NOT to do. There are so many applications that can run successfully on a professional networking site. The challenge has been to keep those ideas in check for later deployment and stay focused on the immediate needs of the business.
If you had one thing to do over again in your life, what would it be?
I would have changed by major in college. I majored in civil engineering, which was a cake walk academically and makes for a boring career. I had been hoping to see the world by building bridges in developing countries. It turned out to be a lot of paper pushing and hurry-up-and-wait.
Fortunately, I found myself running a business at the age of 23 and have never looked back.
What style of home do you live in and when did you buy it?
I rent a studio apartment in Manhattan. What can I say? I live lightly.
What worries keep you awake at night?
Zzzzzz. Sorry what? Worries? What keeps me up at night is more akin to impatience. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
Where do I begin? Don’t let someone else negotiate for you. You will miss creative solutions. Act while the iron is hot; don’t wait and attempt to get the very best deal, because it doesn’t exist. It’s great to be an entrepreneur and to be in charge of your career; no amount of money can compensate you for lack of freedom and independence.
What would your second career choice be?
What kind of music do you listen to?
The same stuff every guy born in Northern California in the ’70s listens to: Radiohead, U2, Coldplay …
Who is your hero?
Hear Slack speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008. The conference program and registration are available online via the Connect Web site.
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