Stephen Schweickart is the founder and CEO of VScreen and an Inman contributor.
What are your top three apps on your phone?
1. I live and die by Google Calendar. It runs my life and keeps me incredibly organized, as well as efficient with my time.
2. I love to read the local news via my IndyStar app. This really helps me keep plugged into my local community (Indianapolis), especially since I’m on the road 60 percent of the time.
3. Uber. I think this is the biggest game changer ever, and I use it at least five times per week.
What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?
I just bought a TreadDesk, which enables me to walk 7 miles a day as I simultaneously work and type emails. I never have time to exercise, but now I burn 1,250 calories a day while working. I have less stress, am losing weight and sleep like a baby at night. Everyone needs to buy one.
We simply weren’t designed to sit eight hours a day and stare at a computer screen. I never sit anymore and my bad back thanks me for it.
What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?
There is nothing more relaxing to me than cooking. If I wasn’t an entrepreneur in this life, I would have ended up being a chef.
What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?
I want a robot to bring me coffee and biscuits in bed every morning.
Is your phone an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone? What model? Why?
I currently use an iPhone because I love how intuitive and thoughtful the design is. Last year I had an Android, but had continuous problems with the software being glitchy on me, and would now consider myself to be an iPhone lifer.
How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?
50/50. If I want to do serious digging, write emails or take notes, I use my desktop. If I simply want to browse and explore, I use my iPhone.
Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?
The larger VScreen becomes, the less I find myself using technology, which I know is an oxymoron. On a daily basis, the majority of my time is spent observing my team and looking for areas that need improvement. I do more “coaching” now than actual management.
As my management team grows, it has freed up my time to get back to my roots a bit more, which is networking and building relationships through actually talking to people vs. texting or using tech to do so. It has made it more personal, which is the way is always should be!
Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?
I would definitely consider myself to be a pioneer and trailblazer. That means that I unfortunately am also required to spend a lot of money making mistakes and testing ideas out in order to be the first to market. This is the downside of being the innovator within your specific niche, which enables many others to follow with much less risk/expense thereafter.
I’m a competitor by nature, though, so I’d much rather be wired this way than to be unoriginal and a perpetual follower.
What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?
Being immersed in my iPhone, when I should be putting it away and engaging with those around me instead.
What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?
Resistance to change. Technology is the reason for said resistance. People need to have an open mind in order to move the industry forward. Change, especially when it comes to technology, can be a very good thing when adopted as intended.
How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?
Technology is putting more control in the hands of the consumer. I feel that this is a great thing; however, this shouldn’t be confused with being a threat to an agent’s livelihood.
Agents will always be equally as relevant, but I believe they need to realize their role is changing to that of a local expert who is responsible for walking a homebuyer through the purchasing process after the client has already done their own research.
What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?
I really like Salesforce, mainly because it has a very high deliverability and open rate for us, with very few emails ending up in the junk mail folder.
Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?
My entire team uses Google Docs to collaborate in real time. Our main office is in Orlando, but we still have other team members scattered across the country. This cloud-based communication system enables us to all share our ideas and communicate in a much less cluttered and complicated way, which is what happens when you have a real-time platform instead of an email chain with people responding to a question that was already answered by another team member six emails ago.
Do you own a camera? What kind? What do you like about it?
My phone. It fits in my pocket.
What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?
I used to rotate through PC laptops every two to three years, as they would constantly break down on me. Then I bought a MacBook Air, which fits in my binder because it is so thin. Five years later, it is still running just as strong as it did the day I bought it. I will never own any other type of computer and swear by the MacBook Air.
Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?
Nope. I use these things called windows.
Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?
Never. Every minute I spend playing games is another wasted and nonproductive minute gifted from myself to my competition.
Which websites do you visit every day? Why?
The only non-work-related website that I visit daily is CNN.com. I like to start my day out by reading the news and catching up on what is going on around the world as I drink my coffee and fire up my brain cells prior to working.
Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?
Facebook. I just started to get into Instagram lately because I’ve come to the realization that this is where the next wave of consumers is focused. Apparently, Facebook is for old geezers (i.e., anyone over 28 years old) these days and the kiddos couldn’t care less about it.
Where do you get most of your leads: portals or other sources?
Referrals. There is nothing more important than word-of-mouth referrals and maintaining a solid reputation that others will vouch for. Ninety percent of our business comes from current clients and/or partners.
Read Stephen Schweickart’s article, “How many apps did it take to find the house for sale next door?“
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