Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Never Forget About Fun

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I just read a blog post from Robert Scoble about Zillow, the super-hot real estate start-up based here in Seattle. Robert discusses Zillow underpricing his Bothell, WA house’s value by $30,000, and why it’s best to buy a house in Half Moon Bay during the summer. Anyway, that’s really beside the point, here.

I haven’t checked out Zillow’s website since April of this year; the last time I saw it, I was impressed by the sense of fun they were trying to convey through their website and their brand, and I thought they succeeded admirably.

Too many technology companies are obsessed with themselves or their technology, and fall into a “we’re a professional, serious company with serious goals, and levity is bad” trap. Although too much of it can negate your credibility, having a sense of humor and an understanding that this stuff (i.e. technology) should be fun can take you a long way (grain of salt: the opinions expressed here are from a person who sells software through a company called Chimp Software).

Zillow conveys a great sense of fun (or at least humanity) in several ways: such as their blog, which is written entirely from the perspective of the company’s employees, their compendium of famous houses, and even an amusing little side-comment about financing a house:

To help navigate [home buying’s] complexities, we created a financing section where we start with the basics and will dig deeper into the world of interest rates, ARMs, and a Jedi-sounding thing called HELOCs (pronounced “HE-locks”).