I Am The CEO of Co-Star.

So I sit here on the beach with a little something cool to drink and think to myself what if I were the Ceo of Co-Star?(In case you are wondering? I am not the Ceo of Co-Star.) If I sat in the big boy chair what might go thru my mind? I have a big company that just made an offer for another big company.Will we merge and create that wonderful business synergy that will make us all billions? The sun is getting a little low in the sky so let’s take a fictional ride down the commercial real estate data super highway.

Turn Loopnet off.  The 20 page dissertations about why are irrelevant. Simple, it’s makes us the only player.

Encourage aggregators. The cost time and effort it takes to launch grow and maintain will discourage the major players and they will turn to us.

Back off the” brokers are our competition” statement and fire the PR idiot who told me to say that on TV. If they do decide to get together…?

Raise prices quietly.

Limit access to data, specifically access to data outside a clients “home” market.

Limit access to data outside the clients own office. Wait we already do that. Charge more.

We are going to lower fees, we are going to add more users,we are going to increase more information,we will make more money and then they we will hire more people which will provide a better service. Raising fees,will make everone quit the service. We won’t do that.. Make sure we tell everyone that,especially the brokers!

The question is…Who is our customer? The millions of internet users that want to buy, sell, and lease commercial real estate, some of them need help understanding the market and some don’t, and until recently this information was not easily accessible on a national level. Now we have it all. So yes, now we have millions of potential customers. The consumer.

The incentives for brokers to keep giving us their data and listings will be? It’s what keeps us in business.

Shhhhh, the contracts we have in place now. Let them wind down and then negotiate better terms for us. That’s technically not raising prices.

The Loopnet Comps History we just bought. Remember to thank the “little” brokers for giving us the stuff they thought we could never get…and use against them.

Make sure that everyone knows that everyone else (competitors) are all signed up with us. They are aren’t they?

How do we keep the costs of data and the transaction high? Simple and cheap kills our business model.

If we turn the data and transaction into a commodity we are doomed. Shhh don’t let that one out.

If we create a set of secondary data can we create a new class of commercial real estate based just on performance of that data?

We are really only 30% of the market. Wait is it a real market if we are only 30% of it? Our investors and stockholders need to think so. We need to grow the “market.”

The commercial real estate industry would operate much better and be more efficient if all brokers pledged to cooperate with information and to serve clients by sharing market information. They can’t won’t or don’t therefore we serve that market and make MILLIONS.

Transparency. Embrace that word embrace that concept. Yes it will change the commercial real estate market for the better. It will create a better system a better market and a better economy. The data and access to that data for commercial real estate market transparency can be and will be available to everyone for a price from us.

Google.(Is Google just a canvas?) Google has no interest in the commercial data space…surely they have more monster data markets that they can dominate. What’s a few billion to Google? Are they not more worried about Facebook, Microsoft ,Amazon, Cisco? Why worry about little old commercial real estate? Sure they have all the same data sources and research. But that “we are a canvas for the world” strategy does not relate the commercial real estate….or does it? The mapping, the geo-location, the 3-D, the algorithms, just to name a few are just simple toys for geeky programmers. That means nothing to our clients. We hope!

Debt.How about a little debt? Is the war chest looking a little worse for wear? What debt is “good” debt? Raising the prices and eliminating what services? We have to get rid of something to shave the fat right? How much will that turn those “ clients’ or “client relationships” to ZERO…. along with the revenue. Customer service. Yes, let’s go ahead and hang our hat on that!

Well it is getting late. The beach attendant is starting to collapse the chairs and umbrellas. Time to think about dinner… fresh fish of course. I may have few more ideas or thoughts but we have a little more time before the” big deal” itself is actually official. Lot’s of speculation and talk have taken place already.  If you were the real Ceo of Co-Star why not lay low and plan the transition and strategy.I would….all the way to the bank? Thoughts?


Photo Credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/merfam/










Duke Long