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Real Estate Connect Keynote Speaker: Merlin Mann

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Merlin Mann recalls those days in his youth spent listening to the frenzied conversations of agents in his mom's real estate office. "They were drinking a lot of coffee and smoking a lot of Winstons," said Mann, 41, a writer and Internet personality who will deliver a keynote presentation at the Real Estate Connect conference next week in San Francisco. There were two chalkboards in the room -- one for listings and one for sales -- said Mann, who would visit his mom's office on occasion. "It was really interesting to be around -- to see how this combination of pure will and personality could get people through this incredible, strange career," Mann said. His mom worked for an office in Cincinnati in the 1970s and picked up real estate again briefly in the 1980s. He recalls agents who were "screaming into the phone," the numerous giant books in the office filled with parcel data, and the lone early-model IBM computer in the office "that nobo...