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"Roald Marth Interview 1997"

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Roald Marth Photo
8/22/97 Interview with Roald Marth
7695 Anagram Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

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Meeting Realtors' Needs for Hardware

  1. A portable notebook computer is preferable to a desktop; Pentiums have become standard as central processing units; most notebook computers have 2GB+ hard disk capacity; RAM now is extremely inexpensive.
  2. Don't keep postponing the acquisition of equipment in order to get more power at a cheaper price later; there is no end in sight to the cycle of improvement - capacities are doubling every 12 - 18 months.
  3. Cost for an adequate notebook system ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 - the best value in computer equipment is middle-technology; six months is a good time to wait before purchasing hardware new to the market.
Software for Real Estate Professionals

  1. The objective of obtaining software is to enable you to do your job as a real estate professional better and faster.
  2. Most software for both the commercial and residential areas is based on the Windows platform; Windows 95 has standardized the user interface so that learning new software is easier.
  3. The trend that will be replacing periodic software upgrades within 12 months is continuous upgrading via subscription; Internet connections allow software to be kept current.
The Shift from Atoms to Bits

  1. The world is shifting from paying for atoms to paying for bits - computer technology is based on the handling of bits.
  2. Transmission of bits today is done efficiently by ISDN [Integrated Service Digital Network] lines; however, bits can be received 14 times faster via satellite than by a 28.8 Kbps modem.
  3. DirecPC allows individuals to connect to a satellite and receive information via digital package delivery (push technology).
  4. The three basic choices in software for Residential Realtors are Prep, Top Producer and generic types; for Commercial Realtors, choices include ACT! and GoldMine.
  5. Having a notebook computer and a software package will become as ubiquitous for Realtors as having a cellular phone and a car; the excitement comes from using them to connect to the rest of the world.
Taking Advantage of the Age of Connectivity

  1. Many consumers are further ahead on information technology than the average Realtor; almost every listing is currently on the Internet where it can be directly accessed by consumers, yet many Realtors still depend on an MLS book.
  2. Once you have a computer, you need a good browser such as Internet Explorer, free from Microsoft, or Netscape to surf the Internet, to send and receive email, to go to news groups and to connect to others.
  3. Marth uses three Internet service providers (ISPs) - Earthlink, Netcom and Microsoft Network - to avoid clogged pathways, but a single provider for about $20/month should be sufficient.
  4. Many people are converting from 28.8 Kbps modems to ISDN - and many more, to direct PC satellite to receive data at 400 Kbps (3.5 times the speed of ISDN) for just $40/month.
  5. The company At Home will create a cable modem revolution, allowing the broadband cable in 65% of American households to carry Internet traffic at speeds thousands of times faster than before.
  6. Companies with 20 to 30 Realtors in an office can access this kind of speed now through a satellite dish connection for agents to share through a LAN; such Cyber Offices are aggressively recruiting Cyber Realtors and giving clients better and faster service.
The Impact of Technology

  1. Over the next three to five years, instant information at people's fingertips will transform the industry; areas of available information include loans, taxes, MLS listings, satellite photos, geographical information, etc.
  2. Every year the Real Estate industry gets further behind the technological curve relative to the consuming public and professionals in other fields; Realtors who are connected with technology stand to gain increased business over the less foresighted Realtors.
  3. The average person buying a home in America is 32 years old - the same age as the average Internet user; the average Realtor, age 48, represents a totally different mindset.
  4. Even non-computer users, however, will be influenced by the Internet as it becomes readily accessible through conventional television sets.
Preparing for the Digital Economy

  1. Real Estate pros who embrace the evolving technology need to become "technological activists" in local, regional and national Real Estate groups to prevent a widening of the gap between the "digital haves and have-nots."
  2. SuperStar Computing last year trained 6,500 Agents, but 200,000 Agents are new every year; the educational mission is staggering.
  3. The Society program called "Association Link" establishes a cooperative effort between the Society and state and local RE organizations to educate their members and keep them up-to-date.
Utilizing the Worldwide Web

  1. Viewership is critical: compared to television (100 million viewers to 3 major networks), the Internet (40 million users for 1.2 million sites) sets up intense competition.
  2. Traditional mass media (TV, radio, direct mail, interviews, seminars, etc.) must be used to drive traffic to your Web site; getting on the Internet is inexpensive, but being found on the Internet is costly and difficult.
  3. One strategy is to do a listing presentation directly on the Internet and give the seller one of those free, 30-day disks to use in keeping track of the listing personally; keep in touch with the new client via email.
  4. When talking with people in person or by phone, walk them through your Internet site if they have Internet access.
  5. The fear factor keeps many from trying computers, yet the simple steps of pointing, clicking, dragging, dropping and typing are fun.
  6. Within 12 months live video conferencing will be common via ISDN.
Making the Transition to Technology

  1. Carry and show your notebook computer; being perceived as technologically proficient will be increasingly important to business success - make use of the Society aids to help create that image.
  2. Get connected through an Internet service provider; establish and publicize your email address and your Web page on your business card - soon business cards will carry data in digital form to be easily scanned into a computer using a standard interface.
  3. Real Estate professionals need to solidify efforts to get everyone involved with technology; overlook minor differences about preferences to focus on the main goal of connectivity for the world.
Contact Information for Roald Marth:

(v) 800-709-2878
(f) 800-709-2880

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing: