“Early Adopter.” Mainly used within the technology realm (or Apple fan die-hard), it’s a phrase we hear it a lot, but what does it truly mean?
To us, “early adopter” means someone who’s eager to discover the best tools and technology available to better their business or lifestyle; it defines the person who is willing to take a risk, on something that might be a true game-changer…or otherwise persevere through the fallout of a risky “failure.” We say “failure” lightly because every outcome is an opportunity to learn. Early adopters define that willingness to learn, create, innovate, and be open-minded to something that ultimately may or may not work for them. They are driven by passion and the desire to fulfill true potential.
At KoaWare, we’ve relied heavily on early adopters through our first year. We take pride in our platform, and are appreciative of every user willing to take that leap. This translates into our customer support – we read and respond to it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful! Through this, we’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of our users to continually innovate and create a supportive environment.
Ryan Coyne, Founder of Explorify 3D, is a true early adopter, not simply with KoaWare, but his approach to business, and the world he seeks to create. We’ve followed his KoaWare journey from his first website, to his subscription plan, and had conversations with questions or feedback throughout it all. We are excited to share his journey with tech and the real estate marketing world, and the insights he’s gathered along the way.
As you navigate through this interview with Ryan, one truth stands out for certain, is that passion, and the willingness to learn, is the basis of what fuels him; with that as the foundation, the ability to grow as a person and business proves to be inevitable, in whatever path that follows.
Nerdy serial entrepreneur technology speaker.
A broadcaster, and right before that, an architect. I majored in communications for a semester in college and abruptly switched to computer engineering once I was told enough times that I had a face for radio.
At age 30 with a 6 year-old son I feel pretty darn grown up and love everything about what I do, but when I ‘grow up’ I’d love to be a National speaker that talks to middle school kids about the importance of STEM.
Explorify3D is a technology company that enables businesses and realtors to give the public the best views and experiences of locations possible, and to bring a sense of familiarity to those locations. We’ve 3D scanned buildings as large as 40K square feet, and objects as small as a car, and have been trying to test the limits of the 3D mapping tech while experimenting with the final product by strapping VR headsets onto strangers at shows and in public at random. The result has been nothing short of spectacular!
Yeah, the IT chops certainly help a lot day-to-day and had a tremendous influence on why E3D came to be. I do the IT work for a bunch of top producing agents across the country in a concierge capacity and my team handles the IT work for several large brokerages here in New York in a complete capacity, so we spent years accidentally learning so much about the industry, its agents, their needs, and our competitors’ pitfalls. When you’ve got the ability to set up your own site, email, financial software and everything else technological that goes along with starting a business there weren’t many barriers to entry. Oh, and we’re all obsessed with gadgets and it gave us a great excuse to buy up a bunch of VR headsets, drones, 360° cameras and more. Needless to say the office is a pretty fun place and we love the work.
The biggest factor in our success by a large margin is our team of talent. I am beyond grateful for the group we’ve put together, some of us in more interesting and/or coincidental ways than might sound believable. As far as growth is concerned, there are several main factors in my mind. We’ve been covered/featured in Matterport’s gallery, newsletter, blog etc. which helped us become ‘internally famous’ over there which has been wonderful and we enjoy a great professional relationship with them, but also because of the noise Ryan Serhant made when he made a social media blitz about our work that we satisfied him with back in April of this year. We got calls and emails from around the world that culminated in meetings at Goldman Sachs, Foursquare, The Wall Street Journal and more. We naturally took advantage of the exposure and credibility wherever possible and those names do certainly lend a hand when someone is vetting to use your service that’s for sure.
We’ve always offered some kind of single property website solution for our clients, and yes, on every single location we scan, unless it’s specifically not needed or it’s a special kind of project that requires more than what a single property site can offer. For example, we’ve done large housing projects with multiple scans and addresses, and we’ve even done a medical RV with three exam rooms in it; both projects required a complete WordPress or Weebly site constructed to properly show them off.
When we first came across KoaWare I remember my jaw being agape, and realizing that this was truly game-changing for us. There was a major productivity gain, in knowing that something so attractive is so simple to get up and running. With all of our assets and links prepared beforehand, we’ve currently got the process of getting a Koa skin up and running in less than 3 minutes, which includes waiting for the still photos to finish uploading. This is insanely awesome for our post-production team, who used to spend 20+ minutes on just one section with our old solution, which we have since moved away from.
You could call it a mistake to not charge extra, but we call it a loss-leader that we include the cost of the KoaWare + domain even in our base package. The reception is overwhelmingly positive and it makes our work look like a million bucks, especially on mobile where our competitors’ virtual tour solutions don’t even load.
I recommend upselling for at least the cost, but be careful not to price gauge either. People are smart, people shop around, & people can smell a deal. If anything, you could offer an upgrade to the KoaWare site, where you’ll swap in their logo at the bottom instead of your own, such as the way several web editor platforms are free until you try to remove the “Made with Wix” at the bottom etc.
93% of home searches in 2016 begin online, and 58% of all internet traffic (as of August 16’) is mobile. I give our leads these statistics and tell them to visit a competitor on their phone during the sales process, and then to visit one of our sites- that right there has resulted in several dozen bookings. When KoaWare added the custom branded footer at the bottom, we began showcasing our logo and link to our website; Referral leads started calling just to ask where they could get the same thing for their listing, which was a really cool call the first time someone buzzed in about that.
Great question, and if you think of any suggestions please let us know! Instilling passion in the workplace is easy. You want someone to work harder? Give them a piece of the pie. All of our team members are part of our profit-sharing model that is tied to an excel spreadsheet of monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals and actuals and that spreadsheet is tied to our key performance indicator spreadsheet. Set goals, encourage achieving them with bonuses, people are in charge of their own destiny. Feel free to set goals so high that if they are achieved then stock in the company is earned, that works really well, because it’s the only way to get most people to care after 5pm the way that I do, and the ones that care after 5pm without incentive, someone might take them from you for more money and you won’t have a chance to keep them.
Managing shoots and logistics is the hardest part. We use a combination of Google Calendar, Email, Trello, Slack, and Wave Apps. So the way we have it designed is, if you sat down and read the Operations Manual (the most important document in your business, as it’s both your business’ vision down on paper and also a training guide for new bodies) and then open up the Google Calendar appointment, then follow the post production process from left-to-right in Trello, you can’t mess it up, and there are even content deliverable customer thank-you email templates right inside Trello that get filled in and customized for each client. Aside from retouching still photos or sifting through drone footage for the good bits, the entire post-production process should be able to be knocked out by a single individual in less than 40 minutes when done properly and following the flow.
In my opinion the future is in better software. Look what disrupters like Zillow (now also owning Trulia and StreetEasy) have accomplished when throwing well-designed software chum to a sea full of hungry realtors. Give people a more attractive, effortless way to manage their listings and business and it just works. The same goes for giving buyers and sellers the tools they need to find/deliver the perfect listing. We discuss this internally all the time because as much as we love the 3D and VR stuff, we know it’s just functional enough to not be labeled as gimmicky, but buyers and sellers love gimmicky!
In 5 years, I will still be an ambassador for technology, perhaps doing more public speaking, and continuing my passion for technological business development. I do suppose that the direction will shift as I narrow down my focus, but that’s again where the team comes in. As for Explorify3D, we’re already operating semi-nationally thanks to strategic partnerships with wonderful partnered vendors, but I’d love to see us really scale up into a franchise model with a marketing department worthy of that. I’d also love to see us doing important 3D scan work like museums (and allowing them to charge digital admission), and even places that direly need public attention like dilapidated public facilities or schools in need. Being able to afford to ‘donate’ scans on a regular basis is something I aspire to, as we did when we donated the scans of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House for the Boys & Girls Clubs back in June.
Wow. Well, I’d definitely say do your grassroots research in your area. Talk to the realtors, go to their events, maybe even sponsor a continued education event to attract a bunch of them all at once. Ask them what’s important to them, and their buyers/sellers in terms of marketing. Ask them what really works as opposed to what the buyers/sellers ask for. Ask them what prices are fair, and make sure you’re least somewhat in-line with the competition. Offer specials, offer packages, offer freebie add-ons but never something completely free without a paying portion of the job. The younger realtors will also appreciate what you’re trying to do a little more than the seasoned ones, and might be more talkative if you drag them to a Starbucks.
Lastly, don’t expect to sway realtors away from their loyalty toward current vendors easily. You’ll need to differentiate yourself and in more ways than just the promise of outstanding customer service, which needs to be a must regardless. Show them data that supports the fact your services will attract more potential buyers, and that they will have greater success during listing presentations because of it. Ensure that a relationship with you means always having the latest and greatest technologies readily available to them without seeking new vendors.
This one’s easy! I’d bring a machete, a solar-powered radio, and Ryan Serhant from Million Dollar Listing. The machete is endlessly versatile, the radio will help pass the time and keep me sane, and working with Serhant for the last year has given me the insight to know that he’d at least be entertaining and witty the entire time, and laughter is hard to come by on desert islands after all.
Ryan Coyne is a serial technology entrepreneur, speaker, and father. A New Yorker all of his 30 years, Ryan is a proud member of Summit Series as well as several boards that all focus on making the world a better place for all through innovation and technology. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook. www.explorify3d.com
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