Glenn Kelman (Randy Stewart photo)

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman has never been afraid to speak his mind. But sometimes his statements get him in hot water, as was the case a few years ago when he famously declared on 60 Minutes the real estate is the “most screwed up industry in America.”

More recently, Kelman noted in a chat on ActiveRain with real estate agents that money-hungry “media sites will enslave us.” And then there was the panel last month in Seattle where he got into a tangle with a real estate agent in the audience.

Now, here comes more from Kelman, courtesy of a fascinating interview in the Los Angeles Times in which he talks about lessons learned from his early job as a dish washer; why he’s tougher because he didn’t attend a private school and more.

The entire interview is classic Kelman, but I was most struck by the comments in which the Internet executive admitted he wasn’t ready for the Redfin job.

“I was unprepared for the Redfin job. I came to a conference and then made what I thought were the most anodyne statements in the world. I said Redfin is a new company and our goal is to make real estate a bit better and a bit more efficient. There was a strong reaction to that that I was unprepared for. Making those statements — and those sometimes more swashbuckling statements — was a mistake on my part. It doesn’t mean I have sold out or gone soft. Redfin is on a mission, or I wouldn’t be there. The mission is to make real estate better, to make it more efficient, to make it more customer-focused.”

And here’s how the interview ended:

“You have to be sort of an emotional steward to really get a business to do something hard — to take people up the hill, to conquer the mountain, to sack the city. You have got to be a maniac. But to also be a consistently constructive force, that means you have to exercise every day or that energy will pour out in other ways that aren’t as productive.”

Full piece here.


  • Guest

    Good interview. LA Times need better editors though: “The Seattle native wrecked the family car at age 151/2″. Is that like 75.5? Is he aging backwards? ;-)

  • Carter Bailey

    Classic Kelman.  Not sure if private school students are more “coddled” than public.  Cal is probably more like a private school environment than public.

    • Stephen Burger

      “Cal is probably more like a private school environment than public.”–Definitely not the case.

  • Lyn

    Swashbuckler my arse!

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