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Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication

PrəˈvinCHəˌlizəm

noun

1. The way of life or mode of thought characteristic of the regions outside the capital city of a country, esp. when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded.

2. Narrow-mindedness, insularity, or lack of sophistication.

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There’s a lot of provincialism in Hawaii, especially in the real estate industry. I travel all over the State. We have offices on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii, and Kauai. I see everything from the “Drawbridge Mentality”, where people behave as if now that they’ve started their career or moved into a particular market, they think it should be closed to everyone else; to classic “NIMBYism” (Not-In-My-Back-Yard); to just a plain avoidance of anything new at all, especially “technology.”

I was hazed like a college freshman trying to get into a fraternity when I started selling real estate in Hawaii in 1998. Other agents would shame me for calling them on the weekends. One woman loved to condescendingly refer to me as “Junior.” I actually had another broker say to me, “If you keep holding Open Houses that means we all have to hold Open Houses.”

I went to a housewarming party recently for one of our employees who just bought his first house. The broker who represented the seller was there. He proceeded to tell me that the “honeymoon” of my company (Hawaii Life) would soon end, and that “all this technology stuff is just like a flash in the pan.” Really? We did more transactions than any major brand last year. Must be a long honeymoon.

The “Drawbridge Mentality” shows up a lot in Hawaii, too. We had quite an interesting dialog on this blog about Realtors sharing listing data with each other. Its amazing how protective agents can be of a market that they’ve only worked in for a few years. I actually hear other brokers and agents say things like “I don’t want you coming into my market from some other island and selling my listings.Really? You don’t want your listings to sell? How do you think your client who hired you to sell their house would feel about that?

NIMBYism shows up, too. I hear some pretty funny comments about “interlopers from the mainland” about everything from a new company, to an MLS organization, to new “technologies.” Interlopers from the mainland? Where are we? Oh, yeah… we’re on an island. What’s so ironic is that a lot of these same Realtors work for a huge national “brand” that siphons their money away to New Jersey. Classic.

I have to keep putting “technology” in quotes because people make it out to be this thing that’s out there, as if somehow technology doesn’t permeate virtually everything we do in real estate. I hear Realtors say, “The internet-buyers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”

“Internet-buyers”? What does that even mean? I’ve got news for you, they’re just buyers, and they’re ALL ON THE INTERNET. Don’t kid yourself.

The truth is that the ocean between these islands isn’t as divisive as people make it out to be. Hawaii is not a big State (it’s actually the 7th smallest). The “technology” that serves our clients on the Kohala Coast is the same technology that serves our clients in Hanalei, and it produces the same results: successfully connecting buyers and sellers.

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Beth Robinson R(B)

February 16, 2011

Matt, sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry at these reactions. I think you really hit the nail on the head when you asked the question (even if to yourself) “How would the client that hired you feel about that?” My job isn’t to keep other agents in their comfort zone, it is to represent my clients and customers to the very best of my ability. I am clear about that. Luckily here on the Big Island, for the most part, I find other agents are gracious about our success, even while continuing to believe that some of what we do just isn’t the way the real estate business model works…

Beth Robinson R(B)

February 16, 2011

Matt, sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry at these reactions. I think you really hit the nail on the head when you asked the question (even if to yourself) “How would the client that hired you feel about that?” My job isn’t to keep other agents in their comfort zone, it is to represent my clients and customers to the very best of my ability. I am clear about that. Luckily here on the Big Island, for the most part, I find other agents are gracious about our success, even while continuing to believe that some of what we do just isn’t the way the real estate business model works…

Margaret J Norrie Retired R(PB)Owner

February 16, 2011

I worked in the County of Maui (including Molokai and Lanai) for 28 years–4 yrs as an agent in another office and 24 yrs as PB of my own office–and found by far the majority of agents happy to show and have their listings shown. Unfortunately, this changed somewhat with the advent of more national and inter-national companies with an “in-house” attitude, encouraged by an “in-house” reward system, rather than a “client’s needs first”
attitude. My philosophy was always: “One day this buyer will be a seller;” or “Maybe this seller will refer me to another seller.” The majority of my clients remained my friends–which comes in handy now I’m retired–and a published Author with my books to sell! It’s opportune to remember life does not stand still.

Margaret J Norrie Retired R(PB)Owner

February 16, 2011

I worked in the County of Maui (including Molokai and Lanai) for 28 years–4 yrs as an agent in another office and 24 yrs as PB of my own office–and found by far the majority of agents happy to show and have their listings shown. Unfortunately, this changed somewhat with the advent of more national and inter-national companies with an “in-house” attitude, encouraged by an “in-house” reward system, rather than a “client’s needs first”
attitude. My philosophy was always: “One day this buyer will be a seller;” or “Maybe this seller will refer me to another seller.” The majority of my clients remained my friends–which comes in handy now I’m retired–and a published Author with my books to sell! It’s opportune to remember life does not stand still.

Katie Minkus, R(B)

February 16, 2011

Aloha Matt. I’m sure that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were told that this “technology stuff is just a flash in the pan” by jealous competitors too. They’ve had a pretty long flash in an extremely large pan, if you ask me. (And so will we, mark my words.)

Beth is exactly right in her assessment of our job, and the overall attitude of Big Island agents and brokers toward our success. We are fortunate to have a fairly cooperative overall industry on the BIg Island, for which I am grateful, and as President of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors, proud.

That being said, I’ve also been the target of many provincially-inspired remarks, including being called “the Enemy” which cracks me up… really, I’m your enemy? Why, because I’m committed to using every tool at my disposal to do my job to the best of my ability to the benefit of our clients and customers? Or because I’m willing to embrace a global view of real estate that goes beyond the boundaries of our island home? Or is it simply that I know how to text on my iphone and use my ipad to work “in the clouds?” Oh, right, it’s none of those things – it’s because agents and Brokers continue to leave their “old” companies and join Hawaii Life. Funny, that.

Katie Minkus, R(B)

February 16, 2011

Aloha Matt. I’m sure that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were told that this “technology stuff is just a flash in the pan” by jealous competitors too. They’ve had a pretty long flash in an extremely large pan, if you ask me. (And so will we, mark my words.)

Beth is exactly right in her assessment of our job, and the overall attitude of Big Island agents and brokers toward our success. We are fortunate to have a fairly cooperative overall industry on the BIg Island, for which I am grateful, and as President of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors, proud.

That being said, I’ve also been the target of many provincially-inspired remarks, including being called “the Enemy” which cracks me up… really, I’m your enemy? Why, because I’m committed to using every tool at my disposal to do my job to the best of my ability to the benefit of our clients and customers? Or because I’m willing to embrace a global view of real estate that goes beyond the boundaries of our island home? Or is it simply that I know how to text on my iphone and use my ipad to work “in the clouds?” Oh, right, it’s none of those things – it’s because agents and Brokers continue to leave their “old” companies and join Hawaii Life. Funny, that.

Claire K. Bajo RS

February 16, 2011

To me, Hawaii Life is an Industry Leader because of their far-forward “Outside the Box” thinking and paradigm shifts in what a top notch Realtor really is in this day & age.. and just like Gates & Jobs, you’ve broken the box.. others only wish they knew your secrets.. the Power to Transcend Relationships into Successful Real Estate Sales, the Amazing Company Features which have taken business to a whole new level of Success unimaginable to the typical Realtor, and your ability to Attract the support & optimism of an Awesome Team of agents and staff make you the best Matt.. happy clients & a healthy bottom line is all the proof you need.. everything else is filtered leverage.. when your colleagues consider you a threat is when they stand in awe of you.. blessings to you always!

Claire K. Bajo RS

February 16, 2011

To me, Hawaii Life is an Industry Leader because of their far-forward “Outside the Box” thinking and paradigm shifts in what a top notch Realtor really is in this day & age.. and just like Gates & Jobs, you’ve broken the box.. others only wish they knew your secrets.. the Power to Transcend Relationships into Successful Real Estate Sales, the Amazing Company Features which have taken business to a whole new level of Success unimaginable to the typical Realtor, and your ability to Attract the support & optimism of an Awesome Team of agents and staff make you the best Matt.. happy clients & a healthy bottom line is all the proof you need.. everything else is filtered leverage.. when your colleagues consider you a threat is when they stand in awe of you.. blessings to you always!

Krisha Augerot

February 17, 2011

Keep it LOCAL! I love the idea that your company is truly fueling our local economy. From the realtors, IT guys, accountants, and owners the money we make goes right back into our community by way of the neccesities of life. On that note, I encourage all of you to buy local as much as possible. ALOHA!

Krisha Augerot

February 17, 2011

Keep it LOCAL! I love the idea that your company is truly fueling our local economy. From the realtors, IT guys, accountants, and owners the money we make goes right back into our community by way of the neccesities of life. On that note, I encourage all of you to buy local as much as possible. ALOHA!

Winston Welborn

February 17, 2011

Good to know that your perspectives are aligned with mine brother Matt. It’s particularly interesting that “local” has both positive and negative associations. For Hawaii Life, being locally involved, locally created and locally owned is a very good thing. On the other hand, local-ism in the sense that you are closed to new ideas and people is something to be avoided. Let’s stay true to our local roots and steer clear of localism.

Winston Welborn

February 17, 2011

Good to know that your perspectives are aligned with mine brother Matt. It’s particularly interesting that “local” has both positive and negative associations. For Hawaii Life, being locally involved, locally created and locally owned is a very good thing. On the other hand, local-ism in the sense that you are closed to new ideas and people is something to be avoided. Let’s stay true to our local roots and steer clear of localism.

Kathy Awai, R(S); ABR

February 17, 2011

The enemy Katie? Wow! I don’t underdtand why many in this industry are so afraid of competition. There is room for everyone to make money and that all depends on the individual. As far as listings go, I want to share my listings with all the islands, with mainland too and I am intersted to know what other islands are selling. You never know when one of your clients needs to relocate and guiding them and referring them to a good competant agent is just another part of the service we provide. Hawaii Life is here to stay; a wonderful company that thinks outside the Real Estate box and provides it’s agents with amazing tools.

Kathy Awai, R(S); ABR

February 17, 2011

The enemy Katie? Wow! I don’t underdtand why many in this industry are so afraid of competition. There is room for everyone to make money and that all depends on the individual. As far as listings go, I want to share my listings with all the islands, with mainland too and I am intersted to know what other islands are selling. You never know when one of your clients needs to relocate and guiding them and referring them to a good competant agent is just another part of the service we provide. Hawaii Life is here to stay; a wonderful company that thinks outside the Real Estate box and provides it’s agents with amazing tools.

Charlie Parry

February 17, 2011

Your article makes some great points Matt! Those of us that have already joined you in Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, and the new agents and brokers that are joining us everyday, understand and embrace your system of client services and communications. There are millions of different ways of doing things in the Real Estate industry and every company has its own philosophy on how it should conduct its affairs. The only way to tell which philosophy is the right one is to look at your results. That is where we shine. I have this crazy image in my head of a huge unlit room where all the great real estate ideas are stored, and all of these brokers and agents are stumbling around in the dark with their company flashlights looking for the way to success. Then, you open the door to the room and turn on the overhead lights! Those agents reacting badly to the success of our company still do not understand that the light you turned on was the light of client satisfaction.

Charlie Parry

February 17, 2011

Your article makes some great points Matt! Those of us that have already joined you in Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, and the new agents and brokers that are joining us everyday, understand and embrace your system of client services and communications. There are millions of different ways of doing things in the Real Estate industry and every company has its own philosophy on how it should conduct its affairs. The only way to tell which philosophy is the right one is to look at your results. That is where we shine. I have this crazy image in my head of a huge unlit room where all the great real estate ideas are stored, and all of these brokers and agents are stumbling around in the dark with their company flashlights looking for the way to success. Then, you open the door to the room and turn on the overhead lights! Those agents reacting badly to the success of our company still do not understand that the light you turned on was the light of client satisfaction.

Matt

February 17, 2011

Thanks for the kind words everybody. I think the references to Gates and Jobs are a little much, but I get the point(s). We’re not immune to our own expressions of provincialism. We get caught up in gossip and righteousness with some of the best of them, but at least we’re not out there slandering other companies (in writing, to their clients!)

I didn’t mean for this post to be self-congratulatory… but rather just to name some of the absurd (and sometimes self-destructive) behavior that goes on.

I’m not even sure I’d say that Hawaii Life is “outside the box”. I think its more accurate to say that we ARE the box. Instead of focusing on “new” niches and abstract ideas about business, we’re focusing on doing the basic things RIGHT: Good photography. Good content. Real relationships.

Bells and whistles and features and chotskies and real estate agents all blinged out with life-size images of themselves is all just a bunch of crap that’s worthless to our customers and clients.

Matt

February 17, 2011

Thanks for the kind words everybody. I think the references to Gates and Jobs are a little much, but I get the point(s). We’re not immune to our own expressions of provincialism. We get caught up in gossip and righteousness with some of the best of them, but at least we’re not out there slandering other companies (in writing, to their clients!)

I didn’t mean for this post to be self-congratulatory… but rather just to name some of the absurd (and sometimes self-destructive) behavior that goes on.

I’m not even sure I’d say that Hawaii Life is “outside the box”. I think its more accurate to say that we ARE the box. Instead of focusing on “new” niches and abstract ideas about business, we’re focusing on doing the basic things RIGHT: Good photography. Good content. Real relationships.

Bells and whistles and features and chotskies and real estate agents all blinged out with life-size images of themselves is all just a bunch of crap that’s worthless to our customers and clients.

Lucy

February 17, 2011

Matt, loved your insight–so very true. Not sure where that idea ever came from, you know the one “now that I’ve moved to Hawaii I wish they would stop all this housing development”.

Hawaii Life is making history in the Hawaii Real Estate market…keep up the good work.

Lucy

February 17, 2011

Matt, loved your insight–so very true. Not sure where that idea ever came from, you know the one “now that I’ve moved to Hawaii I wish they would stop all this housing development”.

Hawaii Life is making history in the Hawaii Real Estate market…keep up the good work.

Gary Bland, RS

February 17, 2011

Aloha to Everyone, This article is something to learn from! It is something to look at and see who or what you are in terms of success. We all need each other to make things happen and it will start with you as an individual. The article written clearly reminds us to put both shoes on before walking and set a great path to destiny. The term “Technology” in regards to internet has proven to be great resource for information and a way into the future. Please remind yourself that information via internet has proven beyond all means as “Green” and saves paper, along with saves time. Hawaii Life represents great information and services all in one shot! The website clearly defines how we live in Hawaii and who we are in the terms of life styles. I really liked the Conversation- Add Your Thoughts Here statement by Margaret Norrie “The majority of my clients remained my friends.” In my service to clients, this will be part of my business model!

Gary Bland, RS

February 17, 2011

Aloha to Everyone, This article is something to learn from! It is something to look at and see who or what you are in terms of success. We all need each other to make things happen and it will start with you as an individual. The article written clearly reminds us to put both shoes on before walking and set a great path to destiny. The term “Technology” in regards to internet has proven to be great resource for information and a way into the future. Please remind yourself that information via internet has proven beyond all means as “Green” and saves paper, along with saves time. Hawaii Life represents great information and services all in one shot! The website clearly defines how we live in Hawaii and who we are in the terms of life styles. I really liked the Conversation- Add Your Thoughts Here statement by Margaret Norrie “The majority of my clients remained my friends.” In my service to clients, this will be part of my business model!

Tweets that mention Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication | Hawaii Life -- Topsy.com

February 17, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maui Real Estate, Matt Beall. Matt Beall said: OK, so it's not (too) blingy, but there is some controversy: Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication http://bit.ly/hii8O1 […]

Tweets that mention Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication | Hawaii Life -- Topsy.com

February 17, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maui Real Estate, Matt Beall. Matt Beall said: OK, so it's not (too) blingy, but there is some controversy: Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication http://bit.ly/hii8O1 […]

Brad Haeger, R(S)

February 17, 2011

To help you sum it up, your firm and it’s hui of brokers/agents and staff “get it.” They work for their clients. They put their clients needs, interests, and priorities first, and they use the latest “technology” to assist in achieving these goals. To sum it up further; It’s integrity, devotion and foresight hard at work.

Mahalo Hawaii Life

Brad Haeger, R(S)

February 17, 2011

To help you sum it up, your firm and it’s hui of brokers/agents and staff “get it.” They work for their clients. They put their clients needs, interests, and priorities first, and they use the latest “technology” to assist in achieving these goals. To sum it up further; It’s integrity, devotion and foresight hard at work.

Mahalo Hawaii Life

The Finest Luxury Home Listings In Hawaii | Hawaii Life

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[…] can be a remarkably provincial place, and that provincialism is definitely expressed in its real estate industry. While it’s true that “real estate is local”, the buyers (and sellers) in the market for […]

The Finest Luxury Home Listings In Hawaii | Hawaii Life

January 21, 2012

[…] can be a remarkably provincial place, and that provincialism is definitely expressed in its real estate industry. While it’s true that “real estate is local”, the buyers (and sellers) in the market for […]

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