A close friend of ours was the Chief Product Officer at a prominent fintech mortgage lender in Silicon Valley.

    The firm was very impressive, consisting of about 70 people, 28 full-time engineers and a war-chest full of VC money (about $70 million).

    They used all that money and all those engineers to build an amazing technology platform…that did nothing to actually attract customers.

    I know this b/c the gentleman used to come to our office to ask us about our systems and how we attract so much business.

    Despite all their money, technology and talent, they were closing only fifteen to twenty loans per month, and almost all were refi’s.

    As a result, the company burned through all of its VC money and went belly up.

    I thought of this story recently when I read Seth Godin’s blog: Is there a marketing person leading the IT team?

    The fintech company I describe above had only engineers on its tech team; it had no marketing people and no loan officers who were actually in the trenches.

    As a result, the company built awesome technology that impressed other engineers and ops people everywhere, but it did nothing to attract customers.

    I see this issue all the time in both the real estate and mortgage industries, as companies pursue and offer technology solutions as panaceas without ever considering whether or not they will improve their business.

    We have a “Tech Committee” at JVM that consists entirely of people who are in the trenches at JVM. We have this committee for two reasons: (1) we want to make sure every tech solution we offer actually makes things better for our clients – both agents and borrowers; and (2) we have been burned all too often by companies offering tech solutions that are actually only solutions for the sales reps selling them.

    This is just another reminder to beware of too much reliance on technology panaceas.

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