Swashbuckling Glenn Kelman says he was ‘unprepared’ for the Redfin job

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!