I have written and preached and shouted to anyone who would listen that the future of media in big verticals lies with those that create their own content. Whether its a site like Honest Buildings or Fundrise, or a professional like Duke Long, those that get this now will be well ahead of the curve when it finally starts gaining real traction. Why is this happening? Simple. If you look at the consumer side of news, it's already exploding. Think of all of the custom channels on YouTube by companies, artists and media. Think about all of the consumer goods companies promoting original content EVERYWHERE. And, with the explosion of platforms out there, it's never been easier to get published. With trade media virtually nonexistent, it's only inevitable that this soon will impact all of the business verticals as well. And for me, having built a platform for self-publishing in the real estate vertical, the acceleration of this trend cannot happen soon enough!
In my next series of blog entries, I plan to profile those in the real estate vertical who are way out in front of the content creation strategy.
It's a no brainer that the first person I would choose to start this series with is none other than the ubiquitous Duke Long. Duke is regarded by many as the "Bad Boy" of the commercial real estate blogging scene, a title that is not as easy to acquire as one might think :) In all seriousness, though, when Duke writes, people in the industry listen. On top of having a one-of-a-kind writing style, he's as knowledgable and authoritative a source as you'll find on the Internet when it comes to musing about the latest developments in commercial real estate. What I respect so much about Duke is his ability to always tell it like is, whether it's a contrarian opinion or a futuristic view. It's brutal honesty like that, that to me, results in Duke having unequivocal integrity in his opinions. So, without further adieu, I introduce you to the one and only Duke Long:
- Did you enjoy writing as a kid?
Duke: Interesting question. I never really thought about writing that much. Looking back I did excel at all of my writing and English lit classes. I was also published several times in different local media. But, I just never thought of it as a “thing.” I was a jock in school (don’t knock it until you try it). I played all sports, all year round, from grade school all the way up. Were you the one who never got picked to play at recess? Sorry, I was always the one doing the picking. Deal with it.
- When did you first start writing about the CRE industry? What was your objective?
Duke: At the urging of a friend in residential. He was in the media for many years and understood it. He suggested I write the way I talk. My reaction “no, way too busy and don’t care.” He did convince me to try and when I finally did, BOOM the reaction was amazing. I had no real objective, I just wrote whatever was in my head. Yes, there are certain topics that are obvious, but those tend to bore the hell out of me, so why waste time. Everyone has their own unique voice. Hopefully, I am using mine to be just a little part of what's pushing commercial real estate forward.
- Was the tone of your writing different when you first started, as opposed to how you write today?
Duke: Oh yes, very much. I think that the general attitude is still there. I have gained because of the brilliant people I have met have given me a more well-rounded and deeper understanding of the business. I have also made every possible mistake you could make and did it raw, unedited and in public. For better or worse.
- Were you ever concerned about “saying the right thing” and being “PC”?
Duke: Fuck NO!
- Whats the most amount of F’Bombs you ever wrote in a post?
Duke: 24. I counted. Someone emailed me and said it was the most unprofessional thing they had ever witnessed in their 25+ years in the business. Someone else sent me a bottle of Scotch.
- You have one of the most distinctive writing styles of all of the CRE writers-where do you think that came from?
Duke: The Street. Bad Grammar. Bad Diction. Bad Sentence Structure. Horrible Typing Skills...and ccapitalizingwhen I should not….generally.
- What writers inspire you?
Duke: Everyone everywhere. Cormac McCarthy: “No Country for Old Men.” In a million years I will never be able to write like that. Brilliance
- What advise would you give someone who wants to write a blog?
Duke: Don’t start. Be consistent. Have balls. Have thick skin. You have a voice, use it. Be patient. Write everyday. This may be the hardest thing you do. Write two 1000 words posts a week. Post them up so that everyone in the world can see them for one year. Send them all to me and let me rip every word sentence thought adjective verb and punctuation and your family. Then if you are still willing to do it for one more year without ANY possible reward whatsoever….. you might have something.