Nov. 2, 2022

Business driven by strong values and leadership lessons

Business driven by strong values and leadership lessons

In this episode we steer towards mission driven and values- based business. Recognised for its innovative transperant business offer and doing good, Nobul is a disruptor in the real-estate business.

Surbhi chats with the founder, Regan McGee on 

How is Nobul bringing the difference in the real-estate business.
How Nobul is thriving on strong values system
Why do they turn down business even it means better revenue streams?
Drawing the bridge between employees goals and brand's mission
Embracing change - going fully remote right at the start of the pandemic
Sustaining the change and brining the global team together.
Convergence of industries  and how real-estate tech works
Innovating in a rigid industry rules and much more.

The candid conversation elucidates lessons in leadership, building a business on values, pivoting and embracing change.

Find out more about Nobul -

Connect with Regan McGee -

[00:00:00] Surbhi Dedhia: Hello Regan. Welcome to the making of a Thought Leader podcast. It is absolutely my pleasure to have you on board.

[00:00:07] Regan McGee: Thanks, Surbhi it's great to be here. 

[00:00:09] Surbhi Dedhia: So, we were talking about Nobul and the business around real estate. So, let's start at that point and let us get talking about how did Nobul come around, what does Nobul do? Audience can then understand the background for our conversation.

[00:00:25] Regan McGee: Sounds great. So Nobul came about from the desire to help people. We are a company that is mission driven. We have a purpose and our purpose isn't just to kind of solve a problem, although we are solving a problem, but it's to genuinely help people. So, I created the company six years. And it was as a result of a clear need in the, in the business.

[00:00:46] Regan McGee: So, people buying and selling real estate a lot of the time they don't really know what they're doing. The people that are in the industry, the brokers and agents and agencies, they have. They have a lot more knowledge than the people that are actually buying and selling the properties. And that knowledge gap creates a So, relationship that's asymmetrical in terms of power.

[00:01:06] Regan McGee: So, the agents have all the power and the consumers don't really have anything. And the agents are bringing some something to the table. They're bringing knowledge and expertise. But the consumer's the only one that's actually showing up with money. So, you know, there, there should be something there for the consumer.

[00:01:21] Regan McGee: The vast majority of people, their biggest single asset is their home. And it's, it's something that people pay a lot of fees when they're buying and selling. On. And so, so I just saw an opportunity to actually create something to really help people in that process and allow the good service providers, so good brokers to do well and the and the consumers to actually see whether or not they're getting a good, a good service provider.

[00:01:45] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. Yeah, it has a very interesting problem-solving capability. I. And it's almost like disrupting the real estate industry as such. Does it right now, cater to the North American audience?

[00:01:57] Regan McGee: It does. But I mean, there's no reason why we can't expand this outside of North America, and we do intend to at some point. But yeah, you're right in your assessment. This is the only one that's really serving the consumer. Everybody else seems to be trying to, they're serving the same need and that's getting agents more deal flow.

[00:02:13] Regan McGee: We're solving the need of getting the consumer the best possible value on transactions. So, the way that our product actually works is it's a marketplace where real estate agents essentially compete for deal flow, and so they add services. Undercut each other on commission and they run in their track record.

[00:02:31] Regan McGee: And from the agent's perspective, there's no front cost, there's no subscription fees, there's no risk to them. So, if you're a good agent, you'll do great on our platform. If you're not a good agent, you're not gonna do very well because our platform will show you for exactly how bad you are. And for the consumers, they never pay us anything.

[00:02:45] Regan McGee: They never see an ad. So, it's totally consumer centric and totally transparent. And I mean, we spend, millions of dollars a month getting agents high quality deal flow, providing the technology, and we only ask for success fees if there's transactions that close. So, it's a win-win.

[00:02:59] Regan McGee: Both sides win. And like I said, we're a, we're a mission driven company. Our mission is to help people in the biggest transactions of their lives. And you know, we wake up every morning with that as our mission for our company. 

[00:03:10] Surbhi Dedhia: That's so wonderful. And you, you were saying that you founded this company about six years ago.

[00:03:15] Surbhi Dedhia: How large is your team and how did you grow? Like what has the journey been so far? 

[00:03:20] Regan McGee: So, we have just over 40 people now. We're doing just over 40 million US dollars of net revenue a year on several billion dollars of transactions. The journey over the last six years has been extremely difficult that anybody who has founded a company, I think knows that nobody shows up with a dump truck full of money,

[00:03:38] Regan McGee: So yeah, you have to basically constantly be, proving the validity of the company from a financial standpoint. In order to get funding to continue to advance the business and grow the company. And I mean, that is something where there are some people that sort of leave their values, at the door and they don't, they don't continue to act ethically because they're just worrying about, you know, raising the next round of funding and, growing the company in that respect.

[00:04:02] Regan McGee: But, that's not something that we've ever done. We've stayed completely true to our mission. In spite of some pressure from some potential strategic investors to, you know, to taint the integrity of our marketplace we haven't done that. We've stayed completely agnostic in terms of brokerages, agents, every, everything on our platform.

[00:04:18] Regan McGee: So, it's been yeah, it's been six years. Extraordinarily difficult, hard work, and crowns it's funny, I was actually thinking about this interview and just earlier today and I was, I was talking to somebody about it and crowns I said to her, I said, the hardest question that I often get asked in interviews is, tell me about yourself outside of work.

[00:04:35] Regan McGee: Tell me what you like to do outside of work. And the reality is like it doesn't exist. I'm still in the phase where my life is work all the time. And I mean, I do have dogs and I, I have a wife who's wonderful and but she and I worked together and. And so, yeah, I mean, it's, it's all consuming.

[00:04:52] Regan McGee: So, it's been, yeah, it's been extraordinarily difficult, but we're you know, we're well on our way to being a very successful company. 

[00:04:59] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. So, what I understand from this conversation so far is that very early in the, in the story of Nobul you had these foundational pieces which are cast of stone, your kind of cannot get away from it.

[00:05:12] Surbhi Dedhia: Foundational areas like you are mission driven, you are here to help ethically and to grow the company you're not going to change these criterias. So, while you were building this, was this written somewhere on the walls of the office or somewhere that everybody coming into the office knows this as a purpose of the company?

[00:05:34] Regan McGee: So, it is something we talk about in all of our all-hands meeting. Whenever we get face to face the company is a fully distributed workforce, so we have employees all over the world. And we don't have any full-time kind of permanent office space. So, we have one office in the United States.

[00:05:51] Regan McGee: We have one in Canada. But they're both essentially virtual offices. And then the whole company gets together once a quarter in person and then leadership team once every six weeks. And it is, but, but yeah, like our mission statement, I mean, it's in our employee handbook, it's in, it's in everything and it's in, it's in our DNA.

[00:06:05] Regan McGee: And it shaped us into, into who we are. Four years ago, for instance, when I met with the owner of a very, very large brokerage, sort of franchising company. And it would be one that pretty much everybody in the world would be aware of that, like the brands in this company and the ask for me was to rank their agents ahead of everyone else on a platform.

[00:06:27] Regan McGee: In exchange for that they were gonna invest a significant amount of money in the company. And I, I explained to him, I said, if we do that, we no longer have any integrity in our marketplace. So, there's no value to our company. Because the reason why people come to our company is to get honest unbiased data points and advice on the biggest asset that they have. And as soon as we corrupt that and we start taking money into the company and ranking the agents that are your brokerages above everyone else, I mean, the company's, there's no point in, in even having the business anymore. Like, it's just useless.

[00:07:01] Regan McGee: We could try to pretend like it, you know, make it look like it was, brokerage agnostic, agent agnostic. Once that's gone, I mean, it's gone. So yeah, that was, it was a very conscious decision.

[00:07:12] Regan McGee: It is on all of our stuff, and it's something that everyone in the company talks about. The last time we got together as a company, I, and I don't do this every time, but the last time we all got together I literally went around the whole company and I asked every single person in the company, what is your mission in the company?

[00:07:27] Regan McGee: Why do you work here? And how does this company's mission align with your personal values? And I don't know a lot of other CEOs that do that. But I can tell you without fail, every single person in the company had a good answer. And they were touching. They were heartfelt. They were sincere. And you know, when you have a company built on that sort of integrity, something really special comes out of it and that's, you know, that's where we.

[00:07:56] Regan McGee: And that is very interesting to note because, you know, while a lot of companies say we are a mission driven organization and we are delivering value on purpose and, you know, all that in, in today's digital landscape, it probably kind of comes from a PR front. Yeah.

[00:08:14] Regan McGee: But it's very difficult to identify and filter out who is really doing it and who is not. And I think that's where employee branding and voices from the employees can really be a differentiator and cut the noise in this situation.

[00:08:28] Surbhi Dedhia:  When we met last, we were talking about value driven over solutions driven. And I think you did touch earlier about how, you are aligning individual missions to your company mission, and it's like a bridge really, where people are saying, these are my values and I align myself with the company's mission.

[00:08:49] Surbhi Dedhia:  So, this is from internal and when it comes to external you will say that we are a value- driven company. But what is your take on value versus solutions driven company? 

[00:09:01] Regan McGee:  So, values drive solutions. Solutions don't drive values. If you have values that you are striving to stick to then that you will create these solutions to align with those values.

[00:09:14] Regan McGee: If you have a solution that you're trying to solve. There is no value that comes from that other than trying to solve that. So, I and think, it's definitely shaped who we are and if you're focused on truly helping people, I mean, the money is there.

[00:09:31] Regan McGee: It's not like you have to make a decision between do I want. Values and integrity, or do I want money? Because the reality is if you're a company that provides that's based on values, you will provide the best solutions because you're mission driven and you're basing on values.

[00:09:47] Regan McGee: So, the solutions will come from those and you'll end up being more successful than the companies that are, you know, putting solutions first. It's not a question of, either or. Its values lead to success. And we're evidence of that. 

[00:10:02] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah, sure. And you know, I wanna understand where does these values come from?

[00:10:07] Surbhi Dedhia: It is from the leadership team. Is it like the top bottom approach? Where does it really come from? 

[00:10:13] Regan McGee: It was right in the company's DNA from the founding of the company. And it's something that we are very careful with our hiring. We've made a lot; we've made a lot of spectacular mistakes. And if we hadn't been, that would mean that we weren't pushing hard enough. We weren't growing hard enough. You know, the people who say they make mistakes, they're just trying to cover them up. One of the places where we had made mistakes in the past was around hiring. And we have hired people in the past that didn't share these values. So that was very difficult. When you have a group of people that are all working towards the same goal with the same kind of value driven mindset.

[00:10:48] Regan McGee: And then you have people that are completely not remotely aligned with those values, and they're there basically just to kind of get a pay check. And, they might not even really think much of the values. They might think that they're kind of silly,

[00:11:00] Regan McGee: And so those people, they haven't survived in the company. When we let them go, obviously they're angry. They're very angry, and they go and they're bitter when they're, when they're, when they're fired. We don't like firing people.

[00:11:10] Regan McGee: And we're much slower to hire than we used to be. So, it's not a top down, it's not a bottom up. It is ingrained in all of our DNA and as part of our hiring process, we look at whether or not the people we're hiring have those values, and if they don't, we don't hire 'em anymore. It's, it's that simple.

[00:11:30] Regan McGee: I don't know of another way to achieve that because you can't make someone start to have the values of the company. Like they're either going to be the kind of person that wants to help people or they're not, and they're not gonna change. 

[00:11:42] Surbhi Dedhia: I get your point. Yes, absolutely. I think it is ingrained. It is very individual and since all of us are pretty unique in how we are depending on, the kind of environment we come from, the conditioning that we have had as, as growing up, it, it kind of comes naturally. And I relate to that because when you say that you cannot teach at that point when they're coming for a job in a company to now have this additional value. It is, it is impossible when you're hiring like that. Yeah. 

[00:12:11] Regan McGee: Yeah. And we've tried that and not only does it not work, it actually creates enormous problems because they value. vehemently reject that and they almost feel like they're being personally persecuted or insulted because they can see that they're not aligned with the other people in the organization or the organization as a whole.

[00:12:29] Regan McGee: And then it kind of grows like a cancer. They'll find other people in the organization that maybe don't have such strong morals and they will then align with that person and then they will grow and they will try to attract more people into their little group. And like I said, I mean it grows like a cancer and you just have to remove the cancer, and that's sometimes very painful. Then you kind of regrow and rebuild and when you have some of those wrong hires in, in an organization, I mean, it creates a massively toxic environment. 

[00:13:02] Regan McGee: And like I said, if I was sitting here saying that we hadn't made that mistake, I'd be lying. 

[00:13:06] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. And makes me think about the leadership decisions, in this situation because now you've invested in a person, you've gone through the process brought them in the company, inducted them. From your viewpoint as a leader, you are seeing that they are aligning with the values and at some point, it kind of snaps so you feel like, it's such a waste of time, energy, resource. But more than that, you have to rebuild everything around them as well, like the touchpoints that they have had internally as well as externally. And then correct it

[00:13:39] Surbhi Dedhia: Am I right to think this way? 

[00:13:41] Regan McGee: Absolutely. And actually, it's funny, I just read something a couple weeks ago from a major publication that was talking about how the average tenure now at a company for the last. I don’t know, a few years is, is 12 to 18 months. 

[00:13:54] Regan McGee: We have a great core group of people that have been with the company for, four or five years and that core group is kind of what we're building on and growing. And we can usually tell sometimes some people that are really misaligned, we can tell pretty quickly the ones that are kind of borderline.

[00:14:11] Regan McGee: Those are the ones. It, we're not as good as we should be about firing them as fast as we should be. We can usually tell it about six months, whether or not they're the right fit, and, it's challenging. So, yeah, I, I a hundred percent agree with what you, and plus say your team is virtual, so it's very, even more difficult then to kinda.

[00:14:30] Regan McGee: Yeah, if you're sitting next to each other every day, I mean, you, it's a lot easier if you're only seeing someone in a Zoom meeting for, an hour a day or in person once every six weeks. It definitely takes longer. I mean, there are pros and cons to being virtual. One of the pros that a lot of people think exists where I'm being virtual is cost savings, but it's actually not.

[00:14:49] Regan McGee: There is no cost savings because we spend money and effort on team building and bringing, everyone together like that, that costs money and it costs about the same as our office lease did. What it does do though that's very positive is it makes our talent pool global so we can get the best people in the world for the jobs that we're looking for.

[00:15:09] Regan McGee: And that, I mean, that's a huge advantage that we didn't have. And, it's not something we could do before. I think most cities in the world have things that they're known for being good at and certain things where they're not maybe as strong.

[00:15:21] Regan McGee: And so, no matter where the company is, you will have some, some weak spots. Like where, where I'm based right now in, in Toronto, in Canada we have strong engineering. We have really weak marketing. We have really weak pr. But we have great people that work for us in Los Angeles that are really strong at marketing and pr.

[00:15:39] Regan McGee: And by the way, I don't think Los Angeles, I'm not gonna say anything disparaging about Los Angeles, but I don't know that they have as strong engineering talent as we have in Toronto. So, like, you kind of have to, have trade offs if you're, if you're a traditional, bricks and mortar company being virtual, you can get the best people from anywhere.

[00:15:53] Regan McGee: And I mean, we've seen a paradigm shift over the last. Few years, and it's kind of amazing to me that a lot of CEOs are just so tone deaf and they're saying we're forcing everyone back to work. And, and I mean, everyone's just saying, you know, Goodbye like this. And it's, like they think it's like 1965 or something. 

[00:16:11] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah, true. And so, you know, as you were saying this, I was thinking wasn't Nobul always built to be virtual? Like that was the idea, right? 

[00:16:19] Regan McGee: It wasn't actually. So, we had an office and we encountered a lot of challenges.

[00:16:24] Regan McGee: Toronto, depending on how you look at it, is the biggest or second biggest tech hub in the world. A lot of, a lot of people are unaware of that, but there are more engineers, developers’ software development here than any, than anywhere in the world. It and a lot of that's because we have immigration policies here that are very pro engineers and so on. Because of that, we have a lot of very strong engineer. We don't have a lot of you know, global tech brands that have come out of, out of the Toronto area. There are maybe a dozen companies that people would know about, and that's it.

[00:16:52] Regan McGee: So, when you're looking for people that have actually scaled businesses, not a lot of talent, when you're looking at, as I said, marketing, Product pr, that there's not a lot of talent here. And so, when the pandemic first hit in you know, March of 2020 we made a conscious decision to look at the roles that we had been struggling to fill with high quality talent for literally for years, for some of the roles.

[00:17:17] Regan McGee: And we said, you know what? We know there's, there are great people in this area for this. Let's hire them. The whole world's gone virtual and I mean, we tried to break our office lease basically, as soon as the pandemic started, we saw, we were talking about the world as it is today in April of 2020. This was a, this was pretty clear to us that this is how it was gonna go. And so that was when we made the pivot. 

[00:17:37] Surbhi Dedhia: Right? Yeah. Oh, that's a phenomenal pivot and I think very foresighted. 

[00:17:42] Regan McGee: Thank you, I think in hindsight it's obvious, but for us at the time it was obvious. It just, it's, it seems so logical.

[00:17:49] Regan McGee: Exactly where we are was where we were going. And you, it's funny, I remember talking to our landlord about it and he was like, no, everyone's gonna be back in the office in June of 2020. It's gonna be exactly how it was. And we said great let us break our office lease. You can lease it to someone else in June. it's funny though, just how, how many people then, and even still today talk about this as if it's like temporary.

[00:18:10] Regan McGee: I mean, this is the new normal. This is the new world. You know, all these empty office tower. I don't see who's filling them anytime soon. And I mean, this, this has been a a paradigm shift and it's, it's incredible to me that you know, more people haven't figured this out. You know, when I look at some of the infectious, some of the investment companies that own, you know, major real estate portfolios, and, I look at the, the statements being made by their CEOs and I'm, I'm sitting there going like, is, you know, what's this guy thinking like you know, and then the, and then the investors are investing in these companies and, you know, like I'm scratching my head thinking like, Does, you know, how do people believe this?

[00:18:46] Regan McGee: But I guess until people have it kind of sink in that the world has changed, they won't, they won't realize that it has. 

[00:18:54] Surbhi Dedhia: I think, some, some industries need that face-to-face interaction a little bit more than the others. Not every, industry has roles that are more individual contributors.

[00:19:04] Surbhi Dedhia: They're more like having to work with teams. And I think those are okay to go on hybrid mode. But yeah, I, I agree absolutely with you that people who don't pivot to the new normal, they're not going to retain that talent. 

[00:19:18] Regan McGee: Yeah. And then that's great cause we can pick them up. Yeah, all that. So, I, it's actually made it really relatively easy for us to hire over the last two and a half years because we are hiring full virtual.

[00:19:30] Regan McGee: So, you know, moms that have kids and they want to more time at home. And it's not like they're not working. I mean, they're, they're working, they're productive employees. you think about like the two to three hours a day that a lot of people were commuting. I mean, I'm talking round trip, you know, an hour to an hour and a half each way that they're now spending with their families- that's huge. And I do, appreciate what you, said, Surbhi, like some companies, it's easier than others. And as a tech company it was easier for us because we had a bunch of, engineers and, geeks like myself. You know, like I build my own computers. I'm not struggling with Zoom. I understand some companies like that, that is a challenge, but I, I think the vast, vast majority are set up or, or can easily be set up to be more successful remote. And that will actually give the quality of life to the employees. Which, I mean, again, if we're talking about mission driven, I mean, this is part of the mission, right?

[00:20:17] Regan McGee: You don't wanna be horrible to your own people. You want to like, that's part of the mission is doing, is doing good. You know, like, I, I think it's obvious. I mean, our platform shows it the trends of what's happening with real estate. Like, you know, some, there's some people that have gone back into, into the offices and the downtown course, but there has been a fundamental shift in demographics and in terms of what the meaning of a city is and what you know, how people live their lives and where they live.

[00:20:41] Regan McGee: And I mean, it's, it's not going back. It's not like this is a one-way street. 

[00:20:48] Surbhi Dedhia: You were just talking about how for certain companies it is easier than others. And I was thinking, going back to our previous conversation of mission, mission driven companies. Nobul as a company underwent this from physical to completely virtual thanks to the pandemic and you are mission driven.

[00:21:06] Surbhi Dedhia: So, what does it do to the culture? You know, people relate to this kind of a culture. Like some, some cultures are very open, there is very lean hierarchy. There are no issues in terms of communicating between, otherwise. There are certain company cultures, the way they're built, been built.

[00:21:21] Surbhi Dedhia: Like you've got to go through the hierarchy to get decisions made and things like that. Of course, yours is a tech company. Probably this is not really been the kind of culture. But yeah, just very curious to know like what happens to the culture. 

[00:21:34] Regan McGee: So, there is a difference. There's no question. The people that were with the company before the pandemic when we were all working in an office, you can still see a difference between them two and a half years later.

[00:21:45] Regan McGee: Versus people that joined after we were fully remote. The biggest difference is, it takes longer to sort of onboard and for people to become a part of the company. It you know, when you're all working together, you're going, for lunch together and stuff and grabbing coffees like it's, it's it happens a lot faster.

[00:22:02] Regan McGee: You form the friendships the camaraderie. Full remote, it takes longer. We do use a lot of tools to help with that, like Slack and teams and so on. But it does noticeably still take longer? If I were to sort of estimate it, I think after probably three months of in person is probably equivalent to almost nine months to a year of virtual in terms of that person kind of joining the company culture.

[00:22:25] Regan McGee: And that's including us getting together regularly in person as well. The companies that don't do that at all, I don't know, they're, I don't know how they do it. We have a phenomenal board member, a guy named Mike, Michael Beck. He's a an extremely successful person in the mortgage space.

[00:22:39] Regan McGee: He founded an extremely successful company and he has, I think it's 11,000 people that work for him across Canada. Canada's a very big country, and so we relied a lot on him at the start of the pandemic for how do we create that culture. So, you, he's done it amazingly well in his company, and so.

[00:22:55] Regan McGee: We were able to kind of leverage a lot of that, and that's why we have the in-person meetings and all that like so frequently. And you know, at the end of our weeks together as I said, once every six weeks for leadership team, once every quarter for, for the whole company at the end of that week.

[00:23:08] Regan McGee: There's a noticeable difference in terms of you know, ideas being exchanged and comfort and speaking up and weeks so it does build the culture. The people that join the company that you know, depending on how long they're with the company before one of those weeks, so if they're, it could be essentially three months that they're with the company before one of those weeks where we're all together.

[00:23:25] Regan McGee: They're almost like an outsider until they actually come to that week to meet with everyone. So yeah, huge impact on culture. I think anyone who's, you know, who's saying that it doesn't impact culture, it's wishful thinking. Yeah. . 

[00:23:37] Surbhi Dedhia: True, true. I think I, I never got to go to an office you know, in, in, in, before or after Covid, so I can't really relate to it.

[00:23:47] Surbhi Dedhia: But from my previous experience, I feel that what you just said, like doing lunches together or just that water tank conversation. Or grabbing coffees together. You get that a little extra to connect with that person, which is not work. Yeah. So, and, and for me it even meant that elevator ride because, you know, I was on a high rise and then just, just taking that, that elevator took like two minutes.

[00:24:14] Surbhi Dedhia: That itself got conversations sparking like, you know, anything. It could be just the weather, it could be the color of the shirt, it could be, the latest device you're carrying, anything. So, I know what you mean with that- getting completely cut off. Now you're not in front of the person. You are only seeing like your face literally.

[00:24:32] Surbhi Dedhia: So, there is not much to get the conversation starting. And some of the companies also do not emphasize on videos, so it makes it even more harder to kind of relate to just the voice. 

[00:24:46] Regan McGee: I totally agree. I like to know personal details about everyone in the company.

[00:24:51] Regan McGee: Mm-hmm. And it's a tricky balance. Cause I don't want people to think I'm like, prying into their personal lives, but at the same time, like, I like to know, if somebody's married, like how they met I like to know if they have kids, how old their kids are, how they're doing, if they've got, you know, dogs like. I like to know the person and but I like to really kind of connect with, everyone in the company.

[00:25:11] Regan McGee: And it is a lot harder virtually as you said, like there's no elevator conversation, there's no, you gotta step up. 

[00:25:16] Surbhi Dedhia: As a leader I can hear that. Like you really have to step up as a leader. Yes. Cause probably you would distance yourself in terms of Okay. You know, if it was a normal time, normal meaning the previous, before Covid time, you would just meet every dean office, have a leadership meeting.

[00:25:31] Surbhi Dedhia: Talk about where the company's progressing, motivate them to work better, show them big aspirational goals, and then move on, right? Like you wouldn't spend that time one to one. But now you kind of go an extra mile. That's phenomenal. And that actually brings me to this topic about thought leadership because the making of a thought leader, we talk about thought leadership and I'm curious to know.

[00:25:52] Surbhi Dedhia: Besides the internal thought leadership, because you touched upon this when you said that you go an extra mile to build that relationship with your employees. What else? If you're, if you are looking at a thought leadership balance between what you do internally with your employees and employee branding plus what you do externally, the brand Nobul takes off.

[00:26:13] Surbhi Dedhia: And you as a leader have, you're holding that flag to, you know take the company forward. So how, how, how are you looking at it right now? 

[00:26:24] Regan McGee: I think there's consistency and I think that's, it's something that's really important. And I think that companies that have different internal branding and external branding, they're always sort of misaligned.

[00:26:33] Regan McGee: We have clear alignment between what we tell people we do and what we actually and that might sound obvious, but I, I can tell you like just even in the space that we're in real estate technology I feel like we're in a minority in that respect. There, there are a lot of companies that say, oh, we're here to help.

[00:26:48] Regan McGee: And it's like, be careful they're not there to help. We tell people externally, how we're built as a company, and that's how we live every day. So, I think it's, actually really helpful for us because there's, there are no real surprises.

[00:27:01] Regan McGee: It's not like people come into the company and they go, wow, I didn't know this is what it was gonna be like. Actually, there is one thing that does sometimes happen, and that's just with how hard everybody works. We have an extremely hard-working group of people and that's something that some people are surprised by especially depending on.

[00:27:19] Regan McGee: You know, different parts of the world that they come from. I'll pick on Silicon Valley a little bit. You know, they, they have very high salaries. There's a huge funding for the companies there. They don't necessarily have to be as scrappy as some of the people that come from other areas.

[00:27:35] Regan McGee: We have to be scrappy. We don't have 500 million Series A rounds here, like does not exist. We don't have a hundred million series A rounds. And hard-working so it yeah. I mean one of that is one thing that people sometimes are surprised by. They think it's a very kind of chill and, and sort of lovey environment and we are very supportive of each other, but it's not chill.

[00:27:55] Regan McGee: Like it's, it's, we all work really hard. Yeah. And that surprises people. 

[00:28:00] Regan McGee: Mm. And then it also makes sense to have like the expectations set up straight, right? Like when you're hiring. And I think, yeah, we spoke about that earlier. Are you applying for any of these rounds for investment? Are you at that stage yet?

[00:28:16] Regan McGee: Yeah, we, we already had several, we basically right now need one sort of big capital injection, and that should get us to the point where we can go public. Mm-hmm. We're in, you know the fall of 2022. Right now, it's not at this point it's not a good time to take your company public, especially a tech company.

[00:28:34] Regan McGee: Yeah. But that, I mean that obviously it always changes. The I p O window will open. We are in a position where if that was open today, we could go public today. But it's not, it's not open. And yeah, we, we really need one sort of big capital injection to get us to the point where we can kind of where we're able to go public.

[00:28:51] Regan McGee: And that's not something that's easy today, but it's not something that is not achievable. 

[00:28:56] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. And with that happening on, on the front of, you know, preparing the business forward I just wanna shift gears here and talk a little bit more marketing, you as a leader taking the company ahead and as, as a thought leader, building that extensive community that loves Nobul as a brand. What do you think about that? 

[00:29:16] Regan McGee: I think it's amazing. We have very, very happy customers and they love raving about, about Nobul We have very happy agents that love raving about Nobul.

[00:29:26] Regan McGee: I mean, good agents. They, love it. I mean, there's no upfront cost, there's no subscriptions, there's no hidden agenda. As long as they're providing really good value and service to consumers, we're gonna keep giving them, deal flow. They can, they can keep bidding on as much as much business as they want.

[00:29:40] Regan McGee: So good quality agents absolutely love us. The ones don't provide those things obviously don't like this cause we're exposing that. So, we've got, we've got wonderful communities on both sides of our marketplace. The supply side being agents and the demand side being buyers and sellers. And it's all on that, 

[00:29:55] Surbhi Dedhia: to clarify, it's all on the app. That is the conversations and it's all on the app, right? It's not on any social media. This community. 

[00:30:05] Regan McGee: Yeah, it's all on our platform. Yeah. On platform. And we have people that rave about us, that love us, and I mean, it's wonderful. And you know, we do try to encourage that as much as we can.

[00:30:14] Regan McGee: We try to grow it; we try to nurture it. We're in a regulated industry, highly regulated industry. Big, real estate trading and because of that, we are very restricted in terms of our marketing and how we have to present things and, how things have to be presented in, in a way that is legal according to like the local real estate trading laws and, and so on.

[00:30:35] Regan McGee: And so that does make it a lot more difficult than it would be for a company in an unregulated industry. There, there are companies that famously give, you know rebates to people for referring friends.

[00:30:46] Regan McGee: I mean, this is happened for decades, right. You know, PayPal, Uber, like it's, you know, this has been done. Refer a friend, get 10 bucks off your next ride. And I mean we can't do that cause it's illegal in real estate. So there that, there are challenges in that respect. But yeah, I mean, building the, building the community and the people.

[00:31:03] Regan McGee: Supportive of ours is it's, it's definitely been a, it's been a journey over the last six years. It's gone really well. We have we have thousands and thousands of agents on our platform. We have thousands of brokerages that those agents work at. We have you know, many thousands of, of consumers.

[00:31:19] Regan McGee: And so, we, we do have, it's, it's amazing just how many lives we've touched. Right. 

[00:31:24] Surbhi Dedhia: And on the PR front, right, like you so, know, as I said, you are owning the flag of taking noble forward in terms of how it is perceived in the marketplace. So, what do you do around that? Like, some people build it on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.

[00:31:40] Surbhi Dedhia: Is there any go to platform for you which has worked for you from your previous? Not only Nobul but from your previous times, like you as an individual. 

[00:31:49] Regan McGee: I, I guess LinkedIn is the one I'm the most active on. And then, I'm in a lot of WhatsApp groups with people. are kind, I mean, those are sort of social media I guess, but yeah, LinkedIn for sure is the, is the, is the biggest one.

[00:32:01] Regan McGee: What I like about it is that there is no hidden agenda. It runs there for the same reason. That's business. It's a well-built platform. I think Reid Hoffman is, a legend for building it. But yeah, I think, I think that's probably our most powerful one.

[00:32:16] Regan McGee: As we grow, we do have a well-built social strategy that we will execute on. And that's actually happening in the next few months. So, we we're gonna be much more active on social media than we have. 

[00:32:25] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah, that makes sense because as I said earlier as well you as a leader have So, to juggle so many balls in terms of, taking the company forward through business and also impacting many lives as you said, like externally as well as internally.

[00:32:40] Surbhi Dedhia: So how do you bring it all in a loop and circle it back, But I think, if you have all ducks in a row as such, right? Like your PR strategy and plus the thinking. It, it, it is really important to have these days. I think what fascinates me when I, from the conversations that we've been having is that how.

[00:33:00] Surbhi Dedhia: You've been able to merge both real estate as well as tech, the convergence of these two industries and, you know, taking the best of the two and also facing the worst of the two. Right? Like you were saying that real estate has these laws that you can't flex, whereas any normal tech company could do all these things right, like the rebates or refer fees and discounts and stuff.

[00:33:23] Surbhi Dedhia: As well as in the tech industry, there are certain things that you can and cannot flex, which probably in real estate is so physical, like really all so bricks and mortar really. And then this is all. So that I think is a very fascinating story for me to you know, kind of look through and as a, as, as, as a, as a product that's coming up in, in, in the 

[00:33:45] Regan McGee: marketplace.

[00:33:45] Regan McGee: Yeah. Yeah. The challenge with real estate, it's still being done essentially the same way as it's been done for over a hundred years. It's unbelievably archaic. It's very paper intensive you know, physical checks. It's built to basically resist change the whole industry is built like that.

[00:34:05] Regan McGee: And so, as a real estate technology company, we are We're often facing challenges where things that would normally be a very easy automated process are not so like an eCommerce platform, for instance. I mean, they can produce financial statements at the push of a button. Everything's, it's all just, if you load it all properly, it's, it's there.

[00:34:26] Regan McGee: If you're doing thousands of transactions a quarter and they're all, you know they all have physical checks you know, and everyone's slightly different. I like there, there, there it makes it, it's a lot of heavy lifting for a finance team. Mean they can do it and they're, they are doing it, but it's much more difficult than what, than a lot of people would.

[00:34:45] Regan McGee: So yeah, being kind of dragging real estate into you know, the year 2022 or even the year, like, you know, 2002 for that matter is taking a lot of work. It's you know, the, like some of these systems that are being used are, you know, 19 hundreds, technology early 19 hundreds and back, so it's challenging to interface with that.

[00:35:02] Regan McGee: Right. We figured it out. 

[00:35:05] Surbhi Dedhia: Right. And as we look into the future, what do you think? What should we expect next? You know, in terms of this convergence of industries and what do we, what do you think from your standpoint, because you say you are from very tech, very geeky, mindset. So, what do you think should be or will be happening?

[00:35:26] Regan McGee: I think in all industry there are a lot of companies that have been pretending to be tech companies for a long time, and they've been pretending to be tech companies because of how tech companies tend to be valued as multiple of revenue instead of multiple earnings.

[00:35:39] Regan McGee: And they as soon as you peel away the surface, you realize they're not a tech company. But And I think that sort of the day of reckoning is, is sort of coming for that. I think Nasdaq being down, you know, 30% so far this year more than 30% is, is somewhat reflective of that. I think coming out the other side there will be.

[00:35:57] Regan McGee: Focus on companies that have real profitability as opposed to some of these tech companies that are, that have no path to profitability, and you're looking at them and you're going, How is this a, you know, $75 billion company and there's no path to profitability? Like, what's there?

[00:36:12] Regan McGee: There's no value. And so, I, I think in real estate and just across every industry as every other industry as well, I think that shift is happening. It's, it's already happening and people are going to start to realize, who are actual tech companies and who are the pretenders essentially.

[00:36:27] Regan McGee: Yeah. 

[00:36:28] Regan McGee: So, I think I, I can go with your point in terms of you know, more transparency, more clarity on what your product is and how is it really helping. Is something which everybody is looking out for. In fact, you know, we went literally from before Covid Organic to is this really organic product on the shelf?

[00:36:47] Regan McGee: Like, you know, there's just so much awareness and people are like, really, I mean, this is a consumer example, but I think it, it, it is, it comes to. Just having a very transparent and honest product on the shelf rather than you know, having something just labelled namesake organic. 

[00:37:04] Regan McGee: I, and I feel Yeah, I agree with you completely.

[00:37:07] Regan McGee: And I feel like right now we're sort of at the pinnacle. I hope it's the pinnacle cause I hope it gets better after this, but I feel like we're at the pinnacle of kind of false honesty where companies pretend to be doing the kind of the right thing or, you know, and labelled they're, I mean, they're not at all.

[00:37:22] Regan McGee: I, I hope that people are, I, I, and I hope, and I think people are starting to realize that, you know, all these companies that are, you know, that have all that are buying, you know, fake reviews and, you know, they've got fake testimonials and they've got, like you said, fake, you know, branding and claiming things are organic when they're, then they're, when they're not.

[00:37:40] Regan McGee: And you know, like I, I, I hope that we're kind of at the worst point of that. And that will start to get better. People, you know, have more kind of clarity into, into what's really going on in inside of companies. I, I hope that's the. Yeah, 

[00:37:56] Surbhi Dedhia: true. Even I hope that, and Regan, this has been so remarkable.

[00:37:59] Surbhi Dedhia: Like, I think the conversation went very organically from one point to the other, and I think we covered a lot of ground today. Before I say bye to you, I wanna know where people can get in touch with you and you know how can they hear all about Noble as the future unfold? 

[00:38:18] Regan McGee: Thank you very much for, for having me here today.

[00:38:20] Regan McGee: I agree. This was a fascinating conversation. I didn't think we were gonna talk about half the stuff we talked about, but I love talking about it. If yeah, people want to find out more about me or the company, it's N-o-b-u-l. .com and yeah, I mean obviously we'd love to have, you know, we'd love to have some of your, your listeners you know on our platform.

[00:38:38] Surbhi Dedhia: Yeah, that'll be wonderful. 

[00:38:39] Regan McGee: Thank you very much. I really appreciate this.