So the news breaks that Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff is stepping aside and Zillow co-founder (and former CEO) Rich Barton is coming in as CEO.
And suddenly the real estate world tilts off-axis and could be on the edge of just spinning off wildly into space.
Or, Zillow stock could take a pounding (“SEE!” proclaim the Zaters. “The end is nigh!” Yet they never seem to mention when the stock goes back up. But, whatever.)
Or, Zillow Group employees will go to work tomorrow, building products, doing the marketing, PR, sales, where ever their jobs and talents take them. My bet is the meetings continue, the core values are still displayed–and more importantly practiced–and life goes on.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring; despite the CEO news out of Seattle, I’m pretty sure the sun will still rise in the morning.
Literally within seconds of this news going out, people started asking me what I thought (short story: not sure yet), or how long I’d known (short story: for weeks. Because Zillow regularly disregards Securities and Exchange Commission laws and discusses insider information — with retirees.)
So I whipped up a little post on Facebook, then thought I’d post it here. Just makes it easier to link to, and expand upon.
On the Zillow CEO change
So for all you asking, and those wondering, of course I had no idea this was happening.
I mean, do you really think they’re sitting around saying, “Hey, let’s run this by the guy that retired from the company six months ago. Who cares about all the SEC rules and regs, and everything else that’s wrong with this idea? “
Do I have an opinion about this? Of course I do, much of which is still forming. I do know one unquestionable fact–Rich and Lloyd and Spencer are three of the brightest minds on the planet.
I also know they are good humans. That’s more important than some seem to think.
All of which means Zillow Group will be just fine.
The haters are already beginning to chime in (shocking, right?). No doubt that will ratchet up, then it’ll die off. Then spin up again, probably over something said over a decade ago. Rinse and Repeat. Over and over. Yet, somehow, the beat goes on.
Ultimately, this is a leadership change–between some of the greatest leaders I’ve ever known and had the pleasure to work with. The how’s and why’s can be speculated to death, but who really cares? I sincerely wish all involved the best, they did a lot for me and many others. I think they know that. I hope so.
Anyone that wants to armchair quarterback the situation and pontificate without knowing the facts or the players is welcome to do so–on their page, not mine.
Spencer’s note below to Zillow Group employees says a lot. Says a lot that he shared it with the world, too. But that’s Spencer.
I’d wish them all luck, but they don’t need it. They’re insanely smart, and good decent people. I’m still a raving fan, always will be.
Here’s the note from Spencer to Zillow Group employee’s that I referenced:
The most annoying thing about all this
That the haters immediately surfaced should be of no surprise. There’s talk of “firings” and asinine comments like:
Ahah hum Gary Keller Take note. They flinched
Yeah, because Zillow Group is going to “flinch” just because Keller’s brokerage is about to release the 4,732nd “Zillow Killer” app.
But, there’s AI. And everyone will adopt it. And then all the bad people will go away.
It’s this fear-mongering, ill-informed, wildly speculative drivel coming from some out there that will drive you crazy. Such an utter waste of time and energy.
That’s why I’m typing this. It clears my head, lets me “vent” and generally makes me feel better. Now I can go back in, see “professionals” making personal attacks against people they’ve never met, making wild speculations about balance sheet’s they’ve never glanced at, and the best part — when they just flat out make shit up, and I can just shake my head, wondering out loud, “And you people wonder why much of the general public rates you right down there with lawyers and Congress?”
Y’all knock yourselves out. I’ve got it out of my system now and I’ll just carry on.
If you’re smart, you’ll watch what Zillow does — it’s full of smart people listening to consumers. If you’re really smart, you won’t just watch, but you’ll learn from them too. And the best of the best? They’ll just keep plugging away, heads down, paying attention–sure, but they’re far more focused on delighting customers and zeroing in on their own business. They don’t worry obsessively over what Zillow, or anyone else, is doing to “disrupt” real estate. They just sell real estate, and a lot of it. They’ll do it tomorrow too, sure as the sun will rise over Seattle.
Friday, 2/22. 3:30am (you’d think I would have better things to do at that hour). My response there (embedded below) may be a little harsh in spots, but I’m just being real. One thing that I always struggled with in my years at Zillow were the attacks on our customers, and my fellow co-workers. Some of the comments coming out now cross the line into judging and questioning integrity. That tends to get me riled up, hence this post on Facebook: