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Agent Resource Center
Agent Resource Center

Paradigm Shift: How Kodak's Digital Cameras Entered Residential Real Estate

Written by Posted On Friday, 12 July 2019 05:30

"When A Paradigm Shifts, everyone gores back to zero. Your past success guarentees nothing when a paradigm shift. In fact, your past success may block you from seeing the future."- Joel Barker

Kodak was our first big name sponsor.

Around 1997, my company, RealTown’s InternetCrusade, got a contract from Kodak to socialize the concept of digital imaging and digital cameras to a world that was accustomed to film, and waiting at least a week or so to see the results of one's photographic efforts.

In 1997, the leadership at Kodak was not convinced that digital was the future. It might have been the old "Paradigm Blindness" concept. The stronger you are in your business, the harder it is for you to see the future. It seems like that is exactly what happened to Kodak. With its marketing strength and position in the world of photography, Kodak was well placed to dominate the photography paradigm shift to the world of digital imaging. But Kodak had tons of patents around things like photographic paper, ink and color ink...and the cameras made to deploy the Kodak method or paradigm of image capture and display. Kodak was too invested in its past and present and not invested enough in its future.

Because of the resistance of management to this new type of photography, Brad Miller, the Kodak sales rep assigned to the real estate industry, had a hard time procuring the necessary budget to introduce this new concept of photography to an opportunity as large and as fractured as the real estate industry.

With Brad’s help, a meeting was set up at the Kodak Headquarters in Rochester. In addition to a few senior management people, in attendance was Brad, Mike Barnett (one of my partners) and myself. We came away with a contract that included no cash compensation to us, but lots of digital cameras, which we distributed across the US and Canada.

We were doing hundreds of technology education events across the US and Canada to real estate audiences. Kodak agreed to provide us, each month two of the latest model Kodak digital cameras, plus 1 additional camera each month, for every event we did with more than 100 people in attendance. At the time, we were doing about 150 events per year. The cameras were all used as door prizes for the drawings we held at each event, which helped us create a potential customer database.

We were also authorized to use the Kodak “Flying K” on our marketing pieces, which was very exciting for our small company. Kodak was legendary. In my family, my grand father and my father always had the latest movie cameras from Kodak.

Unfortunately, it was too little to truly have an impact…but we had fun giving those cameras away, and the recipients loved them!

But Kodak really did know what the future was going to be this video, it was a joke once, but it was amazingly precient for 1998!


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Saul Klein

In 1948, doctors told my father that his life aboard submarines on war patrol in the South Pacific and the depth charging he experienced had rendered him sterile. Although controversial and not widely applied, he was treated with an Ayurvedic therapy called “shivambu.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, I recommend you Google it because against all odds, I came to exist.

That was a loony segue into my life but is a fitting precursor to a career that would be just as incredible.

Like my father, I joined the Navy. However, due to a medical inconvenience, I was honorably discharged after 6 years of commissioned service, all on Sea Duty. This was an opportune misfortune that led me down the path to a successful career in real estate. Both my father and grandfather flirted in real estate brokering and flipping part-time, and I followed suit but making a lifelong career out of it.

With over 40 years in real estate, it is impossible to talk about my experiences in this small window. But I can proudly say that I am well-recognized as an industry pioneer, especially in real estate syndication and education, and one of the few luminaries that paved the way for real estate’s transition to the online world.

Some highlights of my life’s work:
● Co-created ePRO, technology certification course that certified 70,000 students
● Created the first online communities for real estate professionals to network, learn, and sell
● Created "Opt Out" Listing Syndication, aggregating over 1.4 Million Listings in 18 months
● Built the #2 National Listing Syndication Service, Point2 Technologies, sold to Yardi in 2010
● Founder of the California Association of Buyer’s Agents
● Member of the first Team, pre-IPO, responsible for obtaining first 500,000 listings
● Helped Zillow and Trulia build up their MLS data inventory

Today I continue to lead efforts that bring new technologies to the real estate industry. Feel free to reach out and learn more.

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