As much as I still enjoy reading my local newspaper in print each morning, a few minutes later I'm online, reading e-mails and Web sites such as our own umbrella — www.HousingZone.com — and others giving me insight into housing industry and the world.
The pace of change in all our lives is accelerating, and there's no sign it will slow down soon. Just think about how this affects your business.
At Professional Builder's recent Benchmark management conference, I had an interesting conversation with David Barin, a division president for Mercedes Homes in Florida. I asked him how he gets information, and he replied that he does it entirely online. Barin said he doesn't read a newspaper in print. That was a surprise to Mercedes COO Scott Buescher, but not necessarily to me. There's now a similar gulf in the media preferences of senior executives and their younger managers at the divisional level. A recent Nielsen national survey found that 21 percent of Web users who read newspapers have transferred their readership primarily to the online version.
My son Rudy, 24, calls me a "digital technology immigrant," a term he uses for those of us who did not grow up in the Internet Age. I'll never be as comfortable with online technology as he is. That's unsettling for me, and it probably ought to be for any builder over the age of 50, maybe even 40. Housing is a youthful industry. My readers — and your competitors — are digital technology natives.
We're dealing with this at Housing Giants in a number of ways. Last spring, Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh launched his blog, House Beat, at www.ProBuilder.com. That was followed by introduction of blogs for a number of PB's contributing editors and columnists. This fall, I'll begin one of my own, Ear to the Ground, at www.HousingGiants.com. One of the goals of blogging is to create an information exchange that's a lot faster and far more interactive in reaching its audience than any print medium. We'll also have blogs from contributing editors such as Rick Heaston.
One of the positives of being around as long as I have is that I have a vast network of contacts across the housing industry — 30 years worth. I've spent a lot of that time with one ear to the ground and a telephone growing out of the other. I hear things, and now I'll be able to get what I hear to you faster than ever before. And you'll be able to respond.
At Housing Giants, we're going to move as fast as technology allows to bring you the information you need to operate your business more successfully. After all, with each passing day, more of your customers are technology savvy.
So look for more changes soon in how we deliver editorial content to you and the new opportunities we'll provide you to contribute to the interactive Housing Giants community we're developing.
We'll keep you ahead of the curve.