Category Archives: Reviews

What products can you not live without?

In true Techcrunch style (see Arrington post yesterday) , tell us what sites you got the most use out of and most importantly, WHY!?

Here’s my personal list of products I use most regularly:

– Google Reader: I would be lost without it and wasting hours of my life going from site to site in an effort to stay up to date on what’s happening out there. It’s usually the first thing I open and the last thing I close.

– Hulu: I am a pretty frequent user of Hulu. I don’t have a ton of time to watch TV but there are those shows that I love catching up on.

– Blackberry: My Curve is by my side at all times. I feel insecure without it.

– Menupages: Living in NYC and being single, I rarely cook. Menupages.com gets at least three visits from me a week.

– Linkedin: Running a start-up and always looking for ways to seek guidance from experts and meet new people, Linkedin is one of those services that I truly can’t live without.

You can join the discussion here. Would love to hear what everyone thinks!

The Principles and Benefits of Mass Collaboration

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In past posts on The Qube Exchange (especially recently), we have talked about the Impact of Social Networking and Web 2.0 and how it has changed not only how we interact with each other but how it has changed fundamental tasks like applying for a job. We have also talked about why we think the innovation we have seen in the real estate industry is only just beginning and how we think PropertyQube will help make the industry take another step. So why do we think this is only the beginning for the real estate industry?

To find the answer, read “Wikinomics.” The book seeks to explain how mass collaboration changes everything. I read the book and I wanted to share some concepts right from it.

– We are all participating in the rise of a global and ubiquitous platform for computation and collaboration that is reshaping nearly every aspect of human affairs. While the old web was about web sites, clicks and eyeballs, the new web is about the communities, participation, and peering.

– The pace of change and the evolving demands of customers are such that firms can no longer depend only on tightly coupled relationships with a handful of business partners to keep up with customer desires for speed, innovation and control. Instead a firm must cocreate in a dynamic fashion with everyone – partners, competitors, educators, government and most of all consumers.

– To remain competitive, you must follow the four principles of Wikinomics: Being Open (communication of previously secret corporate information to the outside world and opening doors to the global talent pool), Peering (horizontal organizations emerging in a capacity to create information-based products), Sharing (sharing intellectual property, computing power, content, knowledge), and Acting Globally (breaking down geography barriers resulting in global workforces, doing business globally, etc).

Your Network is your Filter: People can collaboratively filter through the plethora of variety and choices on the Web in the absence of expert guidance. …the application of collective intelligence is branching out in the way we organize and classify content on the web. What is Collective Intelligence? It is the aggregated knowledge that emerges from the decentralized choices and judgments of groups of independent participants. This is also referred to as the “Wisdom of Crowds.”

After reading the above concepts and thinking about where the real estate industry is today, you can understand why we think this is just the beginning. The first step is accepting concepts like this. The next step is making them work to your advantage.

Search the Green Web with GreenMaven

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In an effort to raise awareness of green living by identifying those companies bringing the idea to reality, we want to highlight GreenMaven.

GreenMaven is a green search engine focused on “green, conscious, and sustainable websites.” Green Maven serves several needs including:

– Green Search Engine: The engine only searches Green websites and is built on Google technology. GreenMaven is not a content provider, but rather an aggregation of information from sites such as Treehugger.
– Green News Reader: GreenMaven has combined the best green blogs into one. You can read all of the different green blogs in one easy to read resource or you can read each one independently.
– Green Directory: A directory for those individuals who prefer to discover through browsing rather than search.

The site is quick to respond to user input and the layout makes it extremely easy to find and read through content (and it looks great). So go check it out at www.greenmaven.com.

States Demand MySpace Take Action Against Sex Offenders

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This week, 6 states’ Attorneys Generals released a letter to MySpace demanding the site take responsibility for sexual offenders who use the site. The AGs assert that MySpace has been working with a company called Sentinel Tech Holdings to identify known sex offenders on the social networking site, and that thousands of offenders are confirmed members. The 6 states want that list of the names.

The North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, called MySpace a “treasure trove of potential victims”. Not only do these states want names, but they’re also asking that MySpace to prove it’s taken or is taking measures to protect their members from confirmed sex offenders. Cooper continues, “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

North Carolina and a handful of other states are also pushing for MySpace to require parental permission before kids are allowed to create profiles.

Is this really a solution? MySpace should definitely make a good faith effort to remove sex offenders from their site and prevent them from creating profiles. But let’s not be foolish. Those sex offenders have found ways to break the law before. It won’t be too hard for them to create profiles with different names.

Bottom line, parents cannot expect MySpace to do their parenting. Parents, if your children are using MySpace to communicate with strangers and they are actively responding to people they do not know, then you need to take a close look at the safety lessons you’ve been teaching. You can’t expect a company to rescue kids from themselves or from bad parenting.

Single Women Make a Mark in Real Estate

Last March, CBS News featured a story titled, “Single Women Plunge into the Real Estate Market.” The article discusses how single women are becoming homeowners at faster and faster rates – and much more often than single men.

The latest NAR numbers confirm this: in 2006, 22% of home buyers were single women and only 9% were single men (61% were married couples). According to the article, Fannie Mae projects that by 2010, 28% of US households will be single female. The CBS article hypothesizes that the shift is driven by two factors: women are more financially independent and they’re more likely to “nest” than their male counterparts. But what does this mean for real estate professionals?

The article features a builder that explains that he’s responding to the trend by focusing on condo and townhouse projects (the types of housing single women are most likely to purchase). What about agents? Single women might like to work with agents who specialize in serving their needs. The key is for agents to begin developing this specialty or tailoring marketing, staging, and listings placement with Her needs in mind.

How has housing impacted other industries?

How has the housing decline impacted other industries? Check out this amusing post by Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture.

Sellsius: Real Estate Classifieds LAUNCH!

The Sellsius bloggers, Joseph Ferrara and Rudy Bachraty launched an enhanced classifieds service, Sellsiusrealestate.com . The Founders wrote this about why they decided to start the company:

1. We hated paying high per listing prices to advertise in The New York Times and other online sites
2. We wanted one website to handle all our real estate needs. We had residential, commercial (sales & rentals) and business for sale listings – we even had clients who wanted to sell their timeshares. We had to run job and other ads from time to time. It was a lot of effort and frustrating to have to use different websites to do all these things.
3. We wanted to improve real estate search.
4. We wanted to provide value to agents. Yes, there were a lot of free sites but to get the good stuff you had to pay a lot of money.
5. We wanted to create a professional community consumers could trust – a place where honest, hard working professionals could get business from consumers who didn’t fear getting ripped off. So we have a Code of Ethics and our members must submit their license number to join – we only want the good guys as Members.

The Altos Research blog did a great write up on the launch: Link.
These guys have a great blog and we look forward to watching and learning as their company flourishes!