#TedxWindyCity – Glenn Kelman


glenn kelman

Glenn Kelman is the CEO of Seattle-based Redfin, an online real estate brokerage. He was raised in Seattle and graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1997, Kelman helped co-found Plumtree Software.





  • Take the Red Pill
  • I wan to start with, where I got the courage to pursue my own ideas, because I fell in love with one strange conviction accidentally, and then I couldn’t let it go.
  • My story starts with my mother. My childhood seemed like a big scientific experiment to prove that a child could not die of shame.
  • This gave me the courage of my convictions.
  • When I became the CEO of Redfin, we had the technology that no one else had. Put listings on a map. We had to make a decision. We could become real estate agents. We each could become real estate agents.
  • It change dthe nature of the business. We were no longer a software company. We needed many many real estate agents. We had to slog through markets and build this business.
  • What was really hard for me was that I had to change the conception of myself. I had always thought of myself as a software developer, but now I was a real estate agent.
  • “I have to change to stay the same.”
  • My mission had to stay the same.
  • The real world made the virtual world better. Our website had information that no one else had.
  • The combination of real world and virtual world was the best combination ever!
  • If you aren’t doing something real, then it’s hard to ask people to pay you for something real.
  • Software is the most powerful lever for changing the world than anything else in history.
  • Software isn’t eating the world. The world is eating software.
  • “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”
  • The virtual company is trying to become a real company faster than a real company is trying to become a virtual company.
  • 20 years from now will a company like Google be a better car manufacturer than GM?
  • Almost every company is becoming a software company, and every software company is becoming a real company.
  • Any business could be started by a software entrepreneur, partnering with other folks in other industries.
  • The only challenge you have is getting an idea like this funded.
  • Google and Facebook have a billion users, but Amazon has less users with double the revenue. Amazon thinks about scaling differently. They think about it in the real world.
  • What could you do with software if you worked with people in the real world, to solve real problems?
  • The change that I didn’t anticipate in starting out at Redfin is that I became a more social person. It made me happier. It changed who I am.

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