Game Changer? Are you Serious??

Let me start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of the work Chris Smith did at Tech Savvy Agent.

Although we didn’t see eye to eye in the beginning as you can see by the “verbal battle” in this post about outsourcing almost 1 year ago.

I’ve been a big fan of his approach to educating agents on Internet Marketing since the beginning.

Just last week Chris left his job as sales person at to take on the position of “Chief Evangelist” at Inman News.

Some people said this was a game changer?

To be honest, I didn’t get it.

Yes, I was proud of my friends well deserved new job – but how was this a game changer?

I was lucky enough to have Bejamin Bach, Jimmy Mackin, and Darin Persinger on “Web Marketing Strategies Weekly” (my latest radio show) to discuss this briefly.

Here’s the clip (it’s only 5 minutes.)

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Darin enlightened me as to Why he thought this was “So BIG.”

Here are my takeaways:

  • Most big companies are in the Red
  • These companies are doing what they’ve always done
  • Inman is NOT a Big Company (less than 50 employees)
  • This move Demonstrates Inman’s Focus on Web Marketing.

While other companies are doing the same old thing – banner ads, selling shit, and keeping the doors open.  Inman has made a move into the “new media” space by bringing on someone who has actually used the tools to create a successful brand (Tech Savvy Agent.)

Most people don’t know that Chris’ job at Move wasn’t to educate, but to sell banner ads, Top Producer, and Market Snapshot (listen to Ben’s reaction in the clip above.)

The promise of his new gig at Inman is to lead by “Education and Innovation.”

So what do you think?  Game Changer or not?  Lets discus it in the comments below.

  • At Inman New York City, Chris did a couple of phenomenal presentations.  He is so far ahead of the curve in innovation and technology which is platform of Inman.  Thus, it seems to be a great fit.  I had no idea he was with Move before, just was only aware of the “techsavvyagent” .  Congrats to Chris and congrats to Inman.  Am deciding now if my wife Stephanie and I will be going to Inman San Fran (we always to go NYC)

  •  No doubt Chris is always delivering the goods.I think you’re right, these two make a great pair and it seems that they have similar values, so I think it’ll give Chris a great platform to expand and innovate.

  • Totally agree with your assessment Jonathan about companies doing same old same old and Chris being a real innovator and inspirational force for agents to take acction – love that Inman has seen his value because in my opinion he brings value to the Inman brand. Parked to see what’s next, sure I won’t be disappointed. Congrats to Chris!!    

  •  This is an interesting event “lack of better word”…I’ve been fan of Chris since the very beginning…Inman…not so much. Game changer? What’s the game? What just happened? Inman brings on a hot young SM/Tech guy with a huge following…what’s to follow or should I say what happens next??? Inman owns Chris, stops the free webinars, starts doing as they always do and put his content behind their paid curtain. Chris doesn’t need Inman as much as Inman needs Chris and I hope this leads to bigger opportunities for Chris but what does this mean for Inman? Chris will deliver the goods for them but ultimately he needs to use this as a stepping stone. Inman should have hired Chris to train Inman. They aren’t going to be able to deliver anything for Chris that he hasn’t delivered for himself. He’s going to be bigger than Inman in the future…this in my opinion is a short-lived relationship.

  •  I’ve talked to Chris a lot about this move and I think he’s going to bring change to more than just the real estate industry – hoping they’ll bring change to the “speaking” industry as well.

  •  Interesting take – not sure if you listened to the audio clip, but Darin states why he thinks this is a big change (I may have even mentioned it in the post.)

    This is a stepping stone for one of the major players in the industry to embrace online marketing as a lead strategy rather than a complimentary strategy. —> Blazing a trail for everyone else to follow.

    Chris has said that his content will remain free (at least the daily videos.)

    As for the free webinars, I say to hell with them.  People are spoiled and expect everything for free online – if this is a move to monetizing education there’s no BIGGER fan then me.


    I was under the impression that Chris WAS TechSavvy Agent… I think a lot of people are/were. But, perhaps MOVE owns the TechSavvyAgent brand?

    If so, his move to Inman might be fine – and short-lived. Based on the smile on his face, it looks like the financial rewards are good. There is a certain smile we get when the money is good… But underneath this, I find something very scary.

    If Chris Smith can’t figure out a way to MONETIZE 17,000+ followers to make a lot of money – I am super-screwed… and so is everybody else.

    [email protected]

  • Chris Smith

    Funny Matt. What I have gotten really good at is monetizing without needing the followers to be the ones that pay! For that I will hope you are grateful and impressed 🙂

  • I think you may have missed some key facts.  Chris was selling the SHIT out of some products and no one even knew it.  That DID monetize.

  • Yo homey – Props to you for monetizing the hell out of your content.  I’m a little jealous, but more impressed – and a little happy for you too.

    PS-  You on for #RTGRadio Wednesday?

  • @Chris_Smth:twitter  I’d love your opinion on why not go out on your own ? 

  • Chris Smith

    Good question Ben. Easiest way to explain would be an analogy. Why doesn’t Anderson Cooper start his own cable news network? Why doesn’t LeBron James start his own basketball league. There are content creators, like me, and there are content distribution channels like CNN, the NBA and Inman News. Hope that helps.

  • Monetize is a dumb word, dumb concept and even more duMb when you use it to the idea of monetize followers.

    It’s upsetting to me that you would ask my opinion of this question because that means you don’t even listen to what I say, read my blogs, watch my videos.

    You can’t monetize something. Its either sit up to make money from the begining or not. If you don’t have a goal or strategy going into something you are going to fail.

    So yes, you are screwed Matt, trying to MONETIZE something and you should quit right now.

  • Rob, quick question for ya, how do you think Chris was paying his bills?

  • I think it’s a game changer, for some of the same reasons Darin cited. I’m in the process of writing a blog post to address this exact issue. More to follow… 


    I’ve since had a good discussion with Chris and others. Clearly he has monetized it into a highly visible position with Inman. At least I hope he is getting paid… LOL 

  •  Glad you put this together Jon.  I thought it was a game changer, but only for Chris.  Now I understand much better.  sounds like a great move for him, and his vast following.  I too was afraid he would disappear ‘behind the wall’ but he poo poo-ed that pretty quickly, wrt his daily vids.  

  • Anonymous

    Im glad Chris you were able to chime in since we’re all talking about you…i think my comment was misunderstood though Chris shed some light on what i was getting at. I dont think Chris needs Inman to further his career…i think its great he is so sought after but he has a huge future with or without Inman…i can appreciate the analogy with content creation vs distribution…

  • Knowing Chris as I do – it starts by being a game changer for him and Inman, but working together I think they can affect and industry shift forward by increasing awareness of “Digital.”

    Only time will tell, but I believe Chris is always gonna go big.

  • Can’t wait to read the post Mike.

  • A little harsh DP – but that’s why I like you.

    I agree, the concept of “monetizing” followers is ludicrous – but of monetizing content – not so much.  

    At the end of the day we create content to get people engaged and make a sale – so isn’t that “monetizing” content?

  • I wonder how Move feels about Chris building a successful brand on their dime?I wasn’t eager to buy products just because Chris said so. It was everything else that he delivered that really impacted me and my business.   

  • Folks need to realize that it’s very difficult to make a decent profit in this space–the real estate agent market. We are just coming off one of the worst down markets ever, and agents are understandably tight with their marketing dollars. Ever try to sell a Realtor anything these days? First thing they ask is how much and can I get it for free? I would be surprised if Inman is making even a modest profit. Kudos if they are.

    With Chris Smith, if the “best free agent” is on the market, why not snag him from the competition? He probably has the highest profile in the RE digital marketing space, and he seems like a genuine, good guy. (Never met him). Smart move. However, at the end of the day Inman (and Chris) need to give agents value and make a profit at the same time. I’m sure Chris and Brad Inman can figure that out.

    Mazel Tov Chris as we say here on the East Coast!

  • Ross Hair

    CS 360 is bringing his talents to Inman! (Nice social proof by comparing yourself to two media giants – LOL).

    I truly hope that Inman gives you the space and budget to create quality new media content. Their content product has lagged behind the curve in the past few years and, to their credit, they obviously realize they need to move with the times and rejuvenate their content production pool.

  •  I can’t wait to see what they do together too Richard.  I agree, Mazel Tov!

  •  It was a sanctioned side project – and the revenue that came with it was more than ample I’m sure.

  • Ross Hair

    Is it true that Move Inc just signed up Ashton Kutcher to replace Chris at Tech savvy Agent? #winning

  • I’m looking forward to seeing some great content on Inman starting June 1st. Inman needed fresh life, and I think it’s clear that Chris is the best person to move them in the right direction.

    I like the fact that @85eccfa10da42782bbc335b8884672ad:disqus gets conversion. He’s in sales after all, and you can’t succeed at sales without understanding conversion. This industry needs to focus on strategies that work, and get out of the stone age of web marketing; I’m confident Chris can move that conversation into the spotlight and wake up at least a few brokers who are lagging behind. 

  • blunt as usual. But i agree.

  • Scott Cleveland

    Say it ain’t so! Are they hiring? Please let me know.

  •  Clicks – Catches – Closes –that’s how I measure the success of any campaign and you’re right Drew, @85eccfa10da42782bbc335b8884672ad:disqus has got those bases covered.

    The fun part is going to be to translate that success to the regular Joe.

  • JBern

    Boom Shaka Laka!

  • Anonymous

    a little late to this party, but I have an observation to share about the guest of honor for this thread, Chris Smith. 

    I’ve known and followed Chris for some time now.  There have been some great comments here about Chris’s attributes, so far, but it seems that the the irony of his new Inman title as ‘Evangelist’ has escaped everyone but me! 

    Although you all have, collectively, assembled a laundry list of things that Chris does masterfully, the one absolutely brilliant talent that I think he should be most recognized for hasn’t been mentioned here.  Yes, Chris, you’re a force to be reckoned with as a ‘Content Creator’ that’s true!  But the one thing that I have watched you do… that has truly and completely impressed the hell out of me… is to inspire and mobilize a cult of ‘Chris Smith Evangelists’ that will follow you wherever you go and continue to enthusiastically spread the ‘Word of Chris Smith’ far and wide. 

    Inspiring people that way is more than a talent… it’s in the DNA (ha!) 
    (I guess you could also call it the ability to build a successful brand!)    😉

  • OMG Wendy, for a second there, I replaced the Word of Chris Smith with the Word of Jesus Christ! Yup, you are so right. He’s living social proof that social media marketing works! But he’s a B2B. I want to see more examples of B2C. I’d glad that his daily videos will stay on the free side of Inman for now. Free and Video, that’s the game changer for me.  

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  •  I think the b2c examples are gonna come from agents like you and others who follow the examples of the “leaders” and modify them to work in the field.