Blogger Spotlight; Pat Kitano

One of the highlights to my trip to San Fransisco this summer was a lunch with Pat Kitano. A long time online friend, it was great to meet him in person. Pat took us to a Vietnamese kitchen that, until recently, almost any tourist would miss. It made me think about the best part of Web2.0. Just a few years ago, if a restaurant wasn’t in Frommers, it’s unlikely anyone from out of town would know to try it. Now, there’s a legion of “Pats” eager to share their own recommendations. TransparentRE‘s focus is on bringing Web2.0 to the real estate industry. I only have a dozen RE blogs in my RSS reader, Pat’s blog is one of them.

Hi Pat, What is Transparency?

I had a long stint on Wall Street during the 90’s… did you know bond traders, the multimillionaire kind, have vanished? Just disintermediated by market making quote technologies. My favorite transparency quote comes from an ex-bond trader:

“You have a market that was completely dark for 200 years and instead of letting a little bit of transparency in there, they just opened the windows completely and all the shades and everything, and it was complete sunshine,” said Jeff Stambovski, a senior high-yield bond salesman.

Your blog highlights many of the ways technology can benefit real estate consumers. Can you think of any ways it has hurt them?

To be topical, subprime loans, their packaging as securitized debt obligations and their sale to hedge funds and other institutional investors were all enabled by portfolio management analysis software. The hedge funds all program trade in similar ways because the “quants” who built these programs think similarly… when crisis happens, the consequences are magnified. This whole global credit crunch was certainly tech-enabled.

To me, the technology you’re referring to vis-a-vis the consumer is the internet… a transparency media that educates the consumer and doesn’t hurt them beyond carpal tunnel syndrome.

You live in my second favorite city, San Fransisco. I know the first mortgages originated online happened in the Bay Area and I wouldn’t be surprised if the first homes marketed on the net were there as well. Are there any local phenomena concerning real estate, or anything else, that those of us in fly-over country might look forward to?

We’ve been working on developing the next generation of broker website with several leading brokerages here. I’ve been discussing facets of this on Transparent – Broker Website of the Future. We’re preparing to launch several of these blog-enabled websites this fall and hoping to position the Bay Area as ground zero for a new real estate marketing paradigm.

Now Todd, is Denver really your favorite city? or what? San Francisco is also my second fave, NYC is #1 to me… and LA comes in at #2.1. I like cities that source trends, change fast, and are warm… (ok, NYC makes up for it with balmy summers that I miss in foggy SF) — Pat, foggy summers are my favorite part of SF, but I like snow as well.- TC

You’ve been working with Trulia to establish their new Trulia Voices service. How do you feel RE agents can benefit by contributing?

Trulia Voices and their Web 2.0 brethren facilitate the interaction between the agent and the consumer. It seems quite obvious to me that social networking sites like Linkedin and Facebook, along with dialogue facilitators like Voices, will be the way to build and extend the networks RE agents need for business development. I’ve only been blogging for a year now, and I venture I added more significant people to my network in the last year than during the 8 or so years I was an investment banker! I wish these tools were around when I was a banker… I know exactly how I would have used them to get myself planted into deals.

What are some of your favorite blogs.

My online reading is 30% technology, 30% markets and economy, 20% business news, 10% real estate, and 10% new media/music/sports. Why 10% real estate? I like reading about high level topic, strategies and where everything is headed… once I understand a concept, I’m not too interested in dissecting the intricacies of, say, divorced commission structures.

I use Google Reader about 50% of the time reading blogs. I don’t consciously track what I read so I do like to occasionally click the Reader’s TREND button to see what I’ve been clicking on – – -. Note the last few weeks, I’ve been intrigued with and focusing posts on the global credit crisis, thus the latest trend has been towards reading market oriented material.

I recently received a 9,000+ feed opml from my friend Mark Flavin at BayEast AOR that I am beginning to peruse with another feedreader. His feed choices are similar to mine, albeit two magnitudes more prolific.

Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow real estate professional that’s looking to get into blogging?

Writing articles is only 10% of what you need to know about developing a successful blog. The technologies and ways of creating traffic and lead gen opportunities is moving so fast, I think it’s critical to have some sort of guidance. I’m a good example of a B+ tech-savvy blogger who had to figure out everything on my own… and I still made loads of mistakes… my first big one is adopting the wrong blog application platform – I should have started on WordPress, but I just used the Godaddy Quickblogcast app because… I had no idea… Transparent is stuck on this platform until some tech company figures out a way to easily transfer blogs from one platform to another.

Oh, and read everything about the mechanics of sleep at Steve Pavlina’s blog – I realized that it was natural for me to sleep 5-6 hours per night and reassigned the extra hours of wakefulness to blogging… 😉

0 thoughts on “Blogger Spotlight; Pat Kitano

  1. john harper

    I read everything Pat posts. In fact, I read everything Cisco’s sidekick Pancho aka Dean posts as well. They are both great sources of info for the industry and the Bay Area.

    I do question the value of Trulia Voices though. It seems to be that it is really more of a forum for real estate agents to pose “baited questions” than for the consumer. At least that is what I see these days. It reminds me of the challenge facing the Active Rain community – how to get the consumer not the agent involved.

  2. Pat Kitano

    Hi John, I check out the HarperTeam daily too. You’re right about baiting… I posted an overview on
    Estate Q&A
    shortly after Trulia Voices launched that discussed the agent
    question volleyball game. Lately, Voices has stabilized and is getting more
    consumer questions.

    Thanks Todd for interviewing me… very appreciated!

  3. Todd Carpenter

    I haven’t involved myself in Trulia Voices or it’s competition. With the exception of the occasional post on Inman and the Weenie, I have a hard time “giving away” my words. I still think voices has a lot of potential though. I go in at look at how it’s evolving every so often.

    BTW John, Kudos for getting Joseph involved with your blog.


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