1. What interests you most about your industry?
I've been in technology for more than twenty years. After my last business was acquired, I moved from Boston to the Bay Area because I wanted to get my next business started in the heart of Silicon Valley. My wife said that if we were going to make a move like that, we needed to settle down and buy a house. As a long-time renter, first-time homeowner, I was surprised with how painful home ownership could be: too much time, too much money, and too unpredictable. I also learned more about problems with the home warranty industry and experienced them myself. That was the moment when I realized that bringing the best of Silicon Valley to home ownership and home warranty, leveraging the leading edge of advanced technology and business practices, could truly transform people's lives.
"There is a big difference between the claims and the reality in the home warranty industry, and we are here to deliver something vastly superior – standing by our word."
2. What is one piece of advice or something you wish Realtors® knew about your job?
Home warranty is the most complained about category on Angie's List for over a decade and their clients are having bad experiences. Go look on Yelp, BBB, and Twitter to see what consumers are actually experiencing long after the home is sold. Realtors® have a pain point that they either know they have and don't know the solution to, or some don't even know they have it. Many Realtors® don't think they have a problem if they don't hear from their clients. But as a new homeowner, I never notified my agent when my wife had a scary experience with the service provider sent out by my home warranty, even though the fact that she made the referral is a disincentive for me to give that agent referral business in the future.
3. What is one tip you can share about your business that outsiders would never think of?
Sellers coverage should provide more value than just protection against potential breakdowns, and Super offers this value. Sellers coverage with a traditional home warranty is something Realtors® are familiar with and intend to use to comfort prospective buyers with issues that may arise. But it's somewhat counterproductive because it signals to the buyer that there are elements concerning enough for the seller to proactively jump into providing a warranty. Our Sellers coverage is different than the other home warranty companies—it includes our concierge service for the coordination of all home services beyond breakdowns. This adds value to the home above and beyond the warranty protection.
4. What was your most impactful professional learning experience?
Earlier in my career, I worked for a manager who was being dishonest to others. I tried multiple times to diplomatically bring my concerns to his attention, which he immediately dismissed. I was in a difficult position because I disagreed with his behavior, but going over his head would have meant losing my job. At the time, I justified accepting his behavior because at least he didn't lie to me ... until he eventually did. When he was finally let go for his behavior, I inherited an honest manager and asked his advice for what I should have done with the previous manager. He said I should have gone over his head, that my professional reputation was more valuable than my job. I take that advice with me to work every day. There is a big difference between the claims and the reality in the home warranty industry, and we are here to deliver something vastly superior – standing by our word.
5. Any funny/odd stories involving Realtor® clients? (won’t use names of course)
I was speaking with an HVAC technician that my Realtor® preferred to use (when not using a home warranty). As he tuned-up my HVAC system, I peppered him with questions to better understand his business. The most important question I had was "What makes a good service provider?" Was it training? Apprenticeship? Years of experience? Part supplier relationships? Something else? He responded with one word: "integrity." He told me a story of a customer he visited where he found chicken liver in the furnace. I didn't understand. I asked how the chicken liver got in the furnace. Apparently, the previous service provider had put it in there to create a horrible smell to encourage the customer to get an unnecessary and expensive replacement. I learned that fraud is one of the most important problems of our industry to solve, so it was important for us to have unmatched fraud protections in place for our customers.
6. You are stranded on an island for 30 days and can bring three items with you, what do you bring?
Assuming I will be able to find some food, water and shelter to stay alive (I'm not a natural outdoorsman, and am unlikely to hone my skills like Tom Hanks in Castaway in just 30 days...), I would take my wife, my dogs, and my new baby girl, due to arrive on June 11th.