Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman has made waves in the tech community in recent weeks with a series of statements attempting to cut through contentious topics like housing and taxation.
During a call with analysts to discuss Redfin’s quarterly financials, Kelman sounded off on the nation’s housing market. Then he emerged as an alternative voice during the tense debate over a tax on Seattle big businesses, urging the business and tech community to offer solutions rather than just opposing every new policy.
Kelman’s civic streak continued during a wide-ranging talk at the Technology Alliance annual luncheon Friday, where he talked about the need to solve Seattle’s political challenges, lest the city turn into San Francisco 2.0, where no one but the highest paid techies can afford to live. He also delved into Redfin’s past, present and future.
Kelman also has a knack for the off-beat comment. During his Tech Alliance talk, moderated by Seattle tech exec Liz Pearce, chief revenue officer at Streem Inc., he discussed family life, the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, Amazon and more. Here were some of the best moments from the talk:
On Bitcoin: “I am not excited about Bitcoin. I think it’s an outrage that in an era of global warming there are racks of servers next to the Columbia River. I wish I could explain to the salmon that we’ve created a dam generating hydroelectric power so that we can generate a fake currency.”
Buying too much on Amazon: “You know how you go to the grocery store and think ‘all of this is going to become poop?’ In the same way, I see everything coming through the front door, and I try to explain that our house is of a finite size, so an equal amount has to be going through the back door. We now have a second recycling bin because of Amazon.”
Leaving your work stress at the door at the end of the day: “You come home, you’re really upset about something at work, and you’re standing there in the rain and the water is streaming off your helmet and you see this bright scene in the kitchen with you and your kids and just think ‘I can’t F with that. I got to go crazy when I get in there and say how excited I am to see my kids.’ If it was just me I’d probably go get a bag of Doritos and go down to the basement and cry myself to death.”
The misery of being driven: “Behind the driven person is just an enormous amount of misery. You have to be miserable with the status quo to want to change it.”