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Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and GeekWire co-founder John Cook.
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff (left) and GeekWire co-founder John Cook (right).

Zillow has plenty of competitors fighting for their slice of the online real estate services business, but CEO Spencer Rascoff told the GeekWire Summit audience on Thursday he tries not to make that the focus of his company.

He has worked to create a softer, more collaborative and embracing workplace culture — something that puts his company at odds with others around the tech industry.

Rascoff even said he got himself in trouble for taking to Twitter immediately after the New York Times published its now famous scathing article that portrayed Amazon as a “bruising” workplace.

“I thought it was pretty clever,” he joked.

Rascoff said that he understands the appeal of working in an intense, Amazon-like environment from his days as an investment banker, but that’s just not what he wants for his employees right now.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff

“I left investment banking after a few years because it was an awful lifestyle, but I also wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” he said. “So I think if you go in with eyes wide open and that’s what you want at that point in your life, great. Zillow is very different.”

He takes the same approach to the way he approaches the other companies Zillow is fighting for marketshare in the real estate services industry. Ever since it acquired its largest competitor, Trulia, in February, things just haven’t been as intense.

“The rivalries are fun and interesting for media and occasionally for employees, but it’s just really not a focus,” Rascoff said. “Zillow and Trulia were sort of neck-and-neck. We’re now so much bigger than the next guy it’s more like Coke-RC Cola type rivalry. It’s real, but it’s not something I focus on. … Frankly, I much prefer to work for a company like that. It is not inspiring to work for a company that is laser focused on a competitor.”

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