The writing on the wall and the end of an era for Rocky Mountain News


After 150 years, the Rocky Mountain News published its last edition on Friday.  Unless you have been sequestered from life for the past several days, this is not news to you. And if you are reading this, you are probably like me and get your news from a little box with a power cord attached, so failure of an organization focused on delivery of the news on tree stock will not seem all that surprising.

But it’s sad. It’s sad because a little piece of all of us died along with that Colorado paper.

My daughter, the journalist-in-training, posted an obituary on her own blog, and the video she features, while long, is worth the time investment.  She recognized some irony in the Twitter stream that ensued on the paper’s final day, while I find my own irony in the fact that I am linking to her blog. These forms of new media, concepts unfathomable back in the Slide Rule Era, define our world today. It’s how we roll.  Like it or not, but if you are running a business – any business — fight it, and the story of this newspaper will be your own.

The Rocky Mountain News, like so many other newspapers, was trying. They had an online presence, but it proved too little, too late. When organizations become too established and mired in tradition, change becomes an agonizingly slow process. The problem is that our world does not move slowly. Playing catch-up can prove an insurmountable undertaking.

This is a real estate blog, so here is the segue. It’s a message for real estate agents and brokers. Stop reacting and start being proactive. Just because you have always done business “that way” doesn’t mean your way can’t and won’t be supplanted by Tuesday. Take risks, try new things, and listen to the small murmurs before they become deafening and drown out your relevance and your bottom line.

When the rules are changing, staying the same cannot possibly have a good ending.

We made the decision to seek emancipation and open our own independent brokerage last October. It was a decision which was met with raised eyebrows and looks of befuddlement by many of the agents in our market. The prevailing notion was that our move was based on commission splits, yet this notion couldn’t be more wrong.  It had nothing to do with money and everything to do with freedom – freedom to be bold, freedom to make changes quickly, and freedom to deliver our service in the ways in which our customers wanted it, not in the ways in which a corporate policy manual prescribed.

Innovation and flexibility are not options today. They are essential. Unless you want to be yesterday’s newspaper, you need to stop reacting to the coverage. If you are simply reacting, it is probably too late.

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