Rebekah Bastian, the Zillow product teams group manager, answers some questions about her favorite music, how she got into real estate and what she’d change about technology if she could.
Job title: Group manager of product teams at Zillow
Time at Zillow: More than 9 years
What she does: I help drive the strategy and execution of the product teams that focus on Premier Agent advertising, financial and sales integrations, and tools for sellers and their agents.
Degree: Master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley
Location: Seattle, Washington (Ballard neighborhood)
I love my job. I get to combine my analytical, creative, strategic and geeky sides to help envision and create cutting-edge products to connect real estate consumers and agents. My “what I want to be when I grow up” job was an inventor (well, that or a ballerina, which I’m also sort of living out by moonlighting as an aerial acrobat). And, like most people I know, I spend a borderline-unhealthy amount of time fantasizing about homes. So it’s no wonder I’ve been enjoying working here for over nine years.
When I first left my job at Microsoft to start at Zillow, I knew technology but didn’t know real estate, other than the purchase of my house a year prior. Now, nine-plus years later, with many industry relationships formed and countless product launches under my belt — I’ve worked on most areas of Zillow at one point or another — I not only have a love of real estate eye candy … I have a deep appreciation for the whole industry. The tools and professionals that a real estate consumer has access to makes such a huge difference in one of the most important, emotional purchases they’ll ever make. I’m proud to help make those connections.
When I’m not creating world-class real estate products or spinning in the air, I’m usually at home (in my midcentury rambler) with my husband and two boys, ages 1 and 3 — oftentimes dragging them to open houses that I found on Zillow!
What’s your favorite Twitter account that you follow?
What is your favorite food?
Does wine count? If not, then ice cream!
What is your favorite video game?
“Tetris” — I’m old-school. :)
What is your favorite city?
Hanalei, Kauai. More of a tiny beach town than a city, but it’s my happy place.
Who’s your favorite band or singer?
I have to pick one? I tend to bounce around a lot: hippy rock to hair metal, twangy to apocalyptic circus. I’m always a sucker for a few classics, though … David Bowie, Prince, the Pixies.
What do you hate about technology?
I hate seeing people increasingly using technology as a substitute for reality. I love using technology to solve problems, but when I see everyone walking around with their faces in their phones, it makes me sad.
What is one thing you would like to fix about the real estate industry?
I see agents who are amazing; they empower their clients to make good decisions and get great results. The thing that I want to fix is making sure those great agents are getting all the business. And the agents who never respond to consumers, who aren’t transparent, who don’t have their clients’ best interests in mind … I still have hope for them!
Do you think technology can change the industry?
For sure; it already is. Agents are becoming more productive, consumers are becoming more informed, and collaboration between the two is becoming more efficient.
In or out of real estate, is there one problem, large or small, that you would like to solve?
There are so many problems I wish I could solve in the world, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the local homeless population. I’m helping with some small efforts there, and I have some ideas that I’d like to pursue further. Seems like a good place to start.
What motivates you?
I’m pretty competitive, mostly with myself. I’m always striving to do things better, to be excellent. I haven’t found anything yet that is impossible when I set my mind to it.
Would you like to participate in our real estate hackers profile series? Email email@example.com!