Episode 65 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with David Anderson

Brian Charlesworth
April 13, 2021

David Anderson was born into a family of entrepreneurs. He first worked for their family-owned online travel business but after 13 years, he felt that he needed to do something different. That’s when he decided to start his own company.  He went to an INMAN event which sparked his interest in the real estate industry.  Then he went to different brokerages to see how they managed the business and found that the CRM they used at that time could use a lot of improvement. And being the entrepreneur that he is, he knew he could make it better.  

Today, David is the Founder and CEO of LionDesk, a CRM designed for ease of use and systems integration that allows just one log-in for all business tools. It has been the CRM 

platform of choice for over 165,000 real estate and mortgage professionals.

Recently, David was also included in the 2021 Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) report for the third consecutive year and continues to be part of an elite group of industry professionals who are recognized for their influence and leadership.   


In this episode, we talked about:

06:44  The difference of LionDesk from the other CRM platforms in the industry

10:43  The importance of video texting

12:40  Who will benefit the most from LionDesk’s products

14:14  What a Good CRM should do

14:55  Which tech companies are integrated into LionDesk’s platform

17:02  What drove David to leave a place of security and venture into building his own business

20:20  What failure truly means

21:40 The challenges that Liondesk faces today

22:40 Why you need to hire the best person possible who could fire you from your own job

25:30 What excites David the most about real estate

28:41 What David sees as the biggest change in the industry for the next couple of years

34:26 Things you can do to keep waking up happy/motivated

39:05  David’s advice to those who are planning to build a business

Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:34  

Alright, Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu, and your host of the show. And for those of you who don't know what Sisu is we're focused on streamlining the real estate, Home Buying and home selling process. And we start by doing that with really real estate teams and companies. And then we extend that out to their vendors to collaborate people like the mortgage and title companies. So today, I'm here with a special guest, David Anderson. David is the founder and CEO of LionDesk. And for those of you who don't know, most of you probably do know who LionDesk is if you're in the real estate industry, but for those of you who are not LionDesk is a CRM in the real estate space. And I'm really excited to learn more about LionDesk today, David and learn more about you. So maybe we could start by just having you give us a little bit of your background. And I'd love to hear how was LionDesk born.

David Anderson  1:36  

Yeah, that's a good question. Great to be here, by the way. So thanks for having me, man. I, you know, I was in the online travel business for about 13 years had a had an online travel company, technology we did. You know, we worked on the leisure side cruises and vacation packages. And we had our own front-end portal, you could say, where we were doing lead generation, and we would distribute those leads out to our network of agents. And it grew from a just a brick-and-mortar agency into the number one or two seller cruises in the world. And so, after about 13 years of doing that, I decided it was time for change. Right? It was a family business. I was had other family members, we had about 100 employees, I think we had about 500 or so agents, three, maybe 350-400 agents. And so I don't know, man, I got like a hair and my grandpa was a big entrepreneur and my dad is and I think it was just one of the things was like, Oh, I don't want to sit here for the next 20 years doing the same thing. So I left and all my friends thought I was crazy and decided to start a company. And so, you know, I kind of went through the process. My sister's a real,

Brian Charlesworth  2:48  

It's like in your blood man

David Anderson  2:50  

I mean, yeah. You know, I, I really loved that part of when I was building that company, you know, when it was just like, you know, no pun intended, just gritty, right? I mean, just getting to work every single day and trying to figure out the problem. And so, with LionDesk, my sister was an agent, my stepdad used to be or he was a mortgage broker. My dad used to be a broker. I mean, he was 18, he got his birth license, and he had a bunch of multifamily stuff as well throughout the years. So it's kind of been around the industry. And I went to Inman 2014, right? So Seven, six and a half years ago, didn't have a product, didn't know what the hell I was doing. And I remember walking into this thing, and I was like, man, they got a band on stage. And there's 1000s of people. This is great. What a great industry, right? And so, just started talking to people came back, I live in San Diego, went to some brokers knocked on doors, literally walked in said, Hey, you know, can I see how you manage your business? Can I see what you're doing? At the time, top producer was number one. And I was like, you know, I think I could do this better. Like all entrepreneurs think they can do things better, right. And so over the course of the years, I mean, the goal was always really to be, you know, kind of the CRM in the industry, we still have a ways to go, although we've made a hell of a lot of progress. And I am, more importantly, having a hell of a lot of fun. And so, agents, brokers, teams, you mentioned mortgage, we got a lot of ellos in the system as well. And so that's, that's how we got to where we are today.

Brian Charlesworth  4:25  

I didn't know this. Yeah. How did you end up getting a loan system?

David Anderson  4:29  

So it was just naturally, you know, I mean, we had agents, they work with their loan officer, and so they're like, Hey, Is there a way I can connect my elbow to this? I said, Sure, why not? Next thing, you know, we've made a couple of deals with some associations in the mortgage industry. And you know, that business you know, the TAM is much smaller right in terms of malabrigo in there, but they are paying, you know, higher price points, the churn is lower. And so, you know, for us it was always for me, like, I want to figure out like these, you know, ceilings, right? In terms of like how far you can grow? And we know, yeah, there's a million and a half agents, but having them how much of them actually produce? And what are they doing and that number just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. And our price points low, you know, 25-49.99 bucks a month. And I mean, this is 1000 bucks a month. So we had to get a lot of scale in order to continue to grow. And so we just kind of went to mortgage, you know, and then, I mean, we've got at this point, just random companies, I mean, auto dealers, they use the product we are, it's a very small percentage, our focus is still real estate, but it was designed for pretty much anybody we use it. I mean, we use it to help run our business, we get our leads that we manage.

Brian Charlesworth  5:42  

Okay, cool. There's real estate pay less than every other industry.

David Anderson  5:46  

Um, you talked about the agents?

Brian Charlesworth  5:49  

Yeah, I mean, like you said, the mortgage is paying higher than real estate, like, let's talk about the pricing. How does mortgage pay? And how does real estate?

David Anderson  5:58  

I asked. Yeah, the same price plans are offered?

Brian Charlesworth  6:01  

Yeah. Okay. I've talked to a few different companies that their model was the mortgage company, for some reason would pay way more than the real estate company. And I've always thought it would be interesting, it'd be hard to market it that way. For us. We priced them over this game. But I know of others who have done different so I just wanted to know, if you were doing different,

David Anderson  6:24  

We price it the same. They just had to go for the higher-end products, which is really what it comes down to.

Brian Charlesworth  6:29  


David Anderson  6:30  

It's too hard to say like, Oh, well, I'll get my lenders paying, you know, 300 bucks a month, and they got the same product as the agent that's paying 50. Right? You just can't do that with our with our model.

Brian Charlesworth  6:40  

Yep. Yeah. Right. Okay. So let's talk about like, what's the biggest difference between your platform and others in the industry? And my recollection of this is, like, I think, as far as I know, you guys are the only ones that really started like with a fully open API. But tell me, is that true? Is that not true?

David Anderson  7:05  

Well, so we actually had the first version that I built with another guy, and we hadn't, you know, we grew dramatically, that's where our business grew. And then I redesigned it. We started actually version two, about three years ago or so. And it is an open API, I think that, you know, the differentiation, originally, was that we got into the texting game before anybody else, right. I mean, I think we had that texting technology. We also created our own, like video, so you can record the video inside of LionDesk, you don't have to pay for a separate product. And then we also did on all the texting as well. The ease of use was there, I gave it away for a year for free man to try to just get ideas back from our users. Right, literally. And so, you know, I would talk to people constantly and I think, you know, technology, as we know, right is pretty easily replicatable, unless you have, you know, big patents, and you're using, like, just gigantic things, you know, in terms of like machine learning or AI. But in terms of the competitiveness right now, I mean, communication, email, texting video, that's all saying the same. And so what we always have to do is, as business owners is like, okay, where do we need to be in six months in a year? And that's always what I've been thinking about. And that's what I spend a lot of my time thinking about, is making the core product better and better and better. Right? Yeah. How can you save time? How can you save costs? How can you accelerate things? How can you give suggestions instead of being reactive? And I think that's the big problem with CRM today, is that there's always like this rearview mirror, you know, focus, like what happened with that client? Yeah, where am I with that client? What am I doing with that client when reality where we need to be? You know, and I just me like, the industry for CRM, in general, is much more proactive. And I think that's the fun part that's going to become an out, leveraging the data and the machine learning to actually look into insights in terms of like how frequent you should be caught talking to people, how recent like, what's the sentiment analysis of this stuff? And so like, you know, although we were ahead on texting, others have caught up, now we're pushing the envelope to try to figure out like, what is really going to be, you know, what does it mean to be a CRM and how do we grow beyond that?

Brian Charlesworth  9:27  

So let's talk about texting. So when I first got into the industry, my wife used one of your competitors, and I've used one platform right away for a little bit before I started Sisu, but there wasn't any kind of video texting. So you're saying you guys can you can record a video and you could, could you text that out to like your entire list that one video if you want it or is it just Yep, individual, little one client.

David Anderson  9:55  

No you can do the whole thing and I think that's one that is today still a competitive advantage that we have right? So you can record a video and I recommend our clients do a video for every lead source that you can like, Hey, this is David, I just got your request on Zillow. And that's your request off of my website, Facebook, right? And then you can automate that. And the video is not a link, right? So when you get that text message when your client gets a text message, it's actually like when you send it from your iPhone, you just push play. And then it plays the video and that this to this day, we're still the only ones that have I guess, figured out how to do that. So it's just an embedded video. And it's not a link because people hate clicking on links on their phone, like spammy. Link. I'm gonna get a virus.

Brian Charlesworth  10:35  

Yeah, I don't trust links.

David Anderson  10:38  

Me either. And that's why we put so much time into that.

Brian Charlesworth  10:41  

Yeah. And I think you know, anybody that listens to let's just take Tom Ferry, I would say he's the largest coach in real estate, and the most probably widely respected. He, you know, he talks about video all the time. How important video is if you talk to somebody like Gary Vee, Gary Vee talks about how important video is all the time, so it's obviously I mean, the world has gotten more and more to video, I mean, things like you. and I both know, when Facebook started, it was around putting some text in there, then it became pictures, and then it became video, right, as every other social platform has. So video is definitely the most effective form of communication I think people have now. Like, that's the most widely accepted. And as far as being a client goes, you're gonna probably trust that message coming across way more if it's in video, than if it's just a voicemail. So I think it's great, correct?

David Anderson  11:38  

Yeah. And the cool thing is, is that even if they don't watch it, or hear what you're saying, it's still a differentiator, right? Because that client is submitting leads to a few different agents. And so maybe they're going to get an email, maybe they're gonna get a text. But if you're the only one that says that video, that's a differentiator, and in fact, every person that signs up for LionDesk gets a text video of me welcoming them to why. So they can actually see how the whole thing works.

Brian Charlesworth  12:03  

Yeah. Okay. So how many users are you guys that now? Is that something you're willing to talk about?

David Anderson  12:10  

Let's say it's 10s of 1000s? How about that?

Brian Charlesworth  12:14  

Okay. That's great.

David Anderson  12:16  

We dropped from 32 in 2016, with 32 in January of 2016, which I was really excited about 30-32 users.

Brian Charlesworth  12:23  

And now you're at 10s. of 1000s.

David Anderson  12:26  

Yeah, yeah. The first. Yeah. The first year, we went from 32 to 3000. And it was quite an operational challenge. Let's say that and technical as well. Right. But that's the fun part about it.

Brian Charlesworth  12:38  

Right. Okay. So for those listening today, like, Who is your target customer? Like? Who do you think you can benefit the most in the industry?

David Anderson  12:47  

Yeah, so the product is made for the seller, that practitioner, right, we talked about the agent or the loan officer. And that's going to be the majority of our focus, like, how do we make you as the seller of a product, which is homes, right? close more deals. And I think that's where all of our focus is. We have layers on top, for example, for Team admins, right, the distribution of the automation is all there and then reporting. And so, you know, we have clients, individual agents, small teams, and then brokerages up to I think 1200 agents underneath the brokerage, but again, the product is literally made for that agent, right to keep track of their database to get better at what they're doing to communicate with them. And that's our whole focus.

Brian Charlesworth  13:40  

Yeah, okay. So you're solving a problem for teams and brokerages. But really, you're looking really to solve a problem for the agents. Right?

David Anderson  13:50  

Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, let's, you know, my sister is has been an agent, like I said, For I said, 14 years, it's probably the longer than that. And, you know, she is still, you know, over for the first 10 years or something. I don't think she ever used it in a manager database, right? I think she, I think she actually used that MLS system to keep just her transactions in there. And so CRM is one of these things where everybody knows they need it, right? They don't want to use it, right? It's kind of a pain, like, Oh, I gotta look at my notes. And that's really where we're getting trying to get better at. But from an agent perspective, we want you to spend less time on the computer and more time talking to your clients. And that's really what we're trying to focus on with that automation, because you're not going to sell any deals by adding notes, right, or by setting tasks like let us help automate that whole process. So that you can just talk to the client, what who do I need to talk to? And when do I need to talk to them without trying to figure out like, what the variables are, and that's really what a good CRM should do.

Brian Charlesworth  14:49  

Okay, so you brought up AI and machine learning a few times. So, like, are you guys doing anything with structurally are you doing anything with Ylopo, or some of those types of companies? Are they integrated into your platform? Yep,

David Anderson  15:03  

Both of them are for sure. So we get Ylopo we've got integration with them where you get not just the leads, but also the website traffic, right, who's looking at what and that's really, really what I wanted to build, like, I did not want to build an all in one at all right, I wanted to build a product that was really good for what it did. And be that central point, that hub, if you will, of the communication that happens between the client and the seller. And so we also have a partnership with structurally, we've kind of white-labeled it, it's called lead assist inside of LionDesk. So you can actually have a follow-up, it follows up, I think, 36 times in 12 months with text messages, they get about a word getting about a 65 or 70% conversion rate on those, as with either yes, no, or maybe. Right. So you're actually getting the conversation with that client. Yeah. And the way that we did that is that it's, you know, when we do an integration like that, we don't, again, we don't want to have that agent have to have another app on their phone or log into another system. Right? That's like the depth of your time management. Right. So what we did with LionDesk, and let's say structurally, for example, with AI, the same number that they're going to manually text that video out, right, is going to be the same number that the AI goes from, so they can actually see those conversations happen in real-time from the lion desk app, and then jump in anytime you want. And so it works really well. And it's just one of those things where it's like another arrow in the quiver to try to get a hold of that client.

Brian Charlesworth  16:29  

Yeah, awesome. Okay, I think there's a big advantage for those CRMs that, that have that kind of stuff built-in. So I think it's great, which you have an event, having just having an open API to be able to do that kind of stuff. So let's talk about you for a minute. So you're an entrepreneur, you come from a family of entrepreneurs, but it hasn't like, it didn't use to be cool to be an entrepreneur, I think now, like kids grow up thinking, hey, I want to be an entrepreneur. Right. But it used to be the case. So like, you were at the solid business for 12 years, I think you said, and 

David Anderson  17:07  

Yup 15 

Brian Charlesworth  17:09  

15 years and all of a sudden you decide to leave, like, what made you make that decision? You know, what is it because a lot of people like there are two types of people. One is I want to work for somebody and I want security. And the other is, hey, I want to go build something. Right. So yeah, what drove you to leave that secure business and go for a year for free and go knock on doors of brokerages

David Anderson  17:41  

And then go into real estate, Right? I mean, it's just a series of missteps, right? That actually turned out pretty well. So I always like kind of pushing the envelope. I'm not a gambler, right? Like when I go to Vegas, like I'll just walk by all the tables and say, I'm not doing that, you know, I look at you know, being an entrepreneur is if you're going to do this, it's it's you want to look at it as an investment. The other thing is, is that I've never had a fear of failure, even though I have several times, right. I mean, we all fail. But I don't have a problem with that. I think that with failure, actually, you figure out what you don't need to do or what you shouldn't do. And then you can turn around and fix that. So when I was at the travel company, making 10 times more than I am now, literally, you know, it was still a lot of fun meetings were on six-star cruise ships have an expensive wine with the captain now meetings are in Scottsdale, you know, the little motel, right? So big differences between the industry. So all my friends thought I was crazy. And it was just one of those things where it's like, you know, I feel like that although the company is successful, and we're doing really well. I feel like I could just you know, I just need to do something else. Right. And so I like I said I had a little bug. And I mean, to be honest, I was it wasn't even lined as the first thing that I was going to do. I liked a lot of different things. I mean, Hell, I was gonna I looked into being like a Dunkin Donuts franchise owner for crying out loud, Brian, right. It was just like, what else is out there that I could do and, and then just landed on the real estate side. And you know, you get punched in the face all the time. There's a tremendous amount of like pressure and stress. I mean, we've got 60-70 something like that staff right now. Right? So there's a lot of people, a lot of families, we just went through. I mean, last year at this time, we had no idea what the hell was going to happen is everything in a crumble, right? We didn't let a single person go and so you know, but to me, it's just that's what just drives me forward and people ask like, hey, what happens if like, you ever get out of the business? What are you gonna do? Are you gonna stop and I'm like, No, I'll figure something else to do. Right? Like I can't just sit on a golf course or just go to Best Buy on a Wednesday and just shop around. without actually having something motivate me to just do better and help other people.

Brian Charlesworth  20:05  

Yeah. So the name of our podcast is grit, right? So this is why I wanted to dive into this. I don't care if you're a real estate agent, I don't care if you're an entrepreneur, I don't I don't even care if you're an employee, but you need to differentiate yourself. Right? So, you know, two of my favorite books, one is grit. And another is growth mindset. And they both really talk about what you just said, right? I mean, if I fail, it's not a failure, it's, it's an opportunity to learn and grow from that, and then move forward. So I just want everyone to think about that. And if you haven't read those books, I would recommend you go read those, those books. But I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. Because, like, you've been there, I know, I've been there. And, you know, a lot of times people think, Okay, he's the CEO of LionDesk, you know, he's got an easy now they've got 10s of 1000s of users and, you know, 70 employees. And, you know, he's just crushing it. And so they probably think that everyday is easy for you. So, like, I know, what your challenges were when you were giving away your product for the first year. And one of those challenges was definitely money, but what kind of challenges do you have in your business today, like on a daily basis, that you have to steal, like, think about this, and pivot and make changes and grow and that kind of stuff.

David Anderson  21:41  

You know, things do not get easier, right? I think we just have to get better. And so you know, I look it, I wake up in the morning, mostly five, sometimes before, right? grab a cup of coffee, and then you know, it's a, there's a different challenge every day. I mean, one of the things that are changing the industry very quickly, is going to be wrapped around these texting regulations. And so a lot of the stuff is coming up, we've got to deal with that. I mean, with, we were sending out millions of text messages a month out of LionDesk, right. So we have the legal perspective, we have the operational perspective. And then we also have the whole rest of the business that we're running. And, you know, it was, it was actually a hell of a lot easier when there was three of us, right, and then when you go from three to 10, that's a whole nother set of problems, then when you go from 10 to 50. And then from 50, to 100. I mean, you have all these different levels, and you think yourself, man, if I only had 10, people helping me things would be easier. Like now it gets, it actually gets more complicated. And one of the things that I've always tried to do, Brian, in both, in both my businesses, was trying to hire the best person possible, that could fire me from the job that I was currently doing. Right. And so let me when I was programming, and I'm not a great programmer, but I was able to just kind of get through it. I was like, I gotta hire better people. So that I hired someone who now runs our entire product team. I used to be involved day to day on like, these meetings in terms of like, the bugs and the issues and stuff. Not anymore. So then the next step after that was operations, and then sales, and then customer service. And so now, I'm able to spend more of my time making deals, putting things together, think about things. And it's not like it gets easier, right? Because I still have the entire organization to think about on a daily basis. But that's kind of the I mean, that's what drives me, right? Like, the more complicated the problem, the more excited I get about it. And stress is every day, but you know, that's one of those things that I've learned, you know, I think how to handle hopefully, I don't have a stroke, you know, and then like, oh, he was too stressed out, right. But I think that for the most part, it's, you know, it to me, it's fun. I mean, when I, you know, in a competitive environment, like I just want to win, you know, and I know that I'm not always going to, and we're self-funded, right? I mean, I don't have, you know, 30 million bucks behind me. And so I'm looking at bank balances everyday man, you know, and there's just like, all these little things that we're doing, and it's always pushing forward, doing the best we can, and just incrementally just get, you know, 10% better every month in every department, and by the end of the year, you're gonna be twice as good.

Brian Charlesworth  24:18  

So is your goal to not raise venture money to stay self-funded?

David Anderson  24:24  

That's the goal. At this point, you know, things are changing so quickly in the industry, right? I mean, just look what's happened in the last Well, today, Compass went public today, right? eXp is public. Is KW gonna go public. You've got huge companies. Yeah. Right. I mean, you've got billion dollar enterprises coming into this industry. And as we started off, right, technology is easily replicable. Unless you have a big moat. Like for us. We're doing things to kind of create this moat around us. And so that there's not one event that can Really crush us. And that's another thing that an entrepreneur forgets that like, how are you going to get destroyed? Right? But, with things changing so quickly, you never know. Right? I mean, I would rather not take any money from anybody. If someone says like, Hey, here are the terms of the deal. We're going to grow you guys 10 acts. You know, sure it's worth conversations. You know, I never say no to anything. But at this point, we're just going to keep running as hard as we can with the team that we got, because I feel like we have a really, really good team. Okay,

Brian Charlesworth  25:32  

So what are you most passionate about as far as the industry right now? Like, what excites you? As far as the real estate?

David Anderson  25:40  

I think it's, it's, although it's a little bit tech, right. I think it's the stuff that's outside of the tech that's actually happening. I mean, look at the deals that are being put together with Zillow, you know, becoming a brokerage, right? Like, how is that going to change things? So imagine this for a second, I've kind of gone through this path in my mind. Everybody hates Zillow. Right? I mean, there's like a universal disdain for them.

Brian Charlesworth  26:01  

You hate them or love them, right

David Anderson  26:04  

Yeah, right. And then but then, on the other hand, everybody still pays them a lot of money for leads. And so if you think about this for a second, let's assume Zillow says, Okay, we're now broker, we have all the consumers coming to our website, we're gonna copy the eXps model, although our stock is Zillow stock. And we're gonna go ahead and give the same model and the compensation to everybody that joins Zillow. And maybe there's a kicker, you know, coming from other companies. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Mrs. Agent, you're going to get all the leads that we are being generated, and we're going to work them for you on the front end with our concierge service. And we're going to give you all the technology for free like 

Brian Charlesworth  26:42  

All you need to do is show up to an appointment and meet the buyer at the door because we've let the buyer schedule their own appointment.

David Anderson  26:48  

Exactly right. It sounds like there's that mentality of like Zillow, like thinking years ahead. That's what interests me. The next thing is, Will agents be licensed to refer loans over? Right? So Rocket Mortgage is starting a program or has started a program called rocket Pro, an agent can actually get paid on every loan that by Quicken Loans us like a half a point, so they can make another 1000 or $2,000 per transaction. So what so then the agent, right starts becoming, you know, this advisor oriel, which is really what they should be right, like, let me guide you through this process. And I'm going to help you through this thing. And then that's why the technology wraps it all together, which is you got to think of this whole thing from a consumer focus first, right? Like, are what we doing? Or is what we're doing going to benefit the consumer. Because if we can make that consumer experience really great, then the agent is going to stay relevant for a long time. And trust me, everybody thought Expedia was going across the travel industry, right, our business and by the way, that family business, it's still going, they're doing about a half a billion dollars. Well, except for last year, about $500 million dollars in annual revenue. Right? So travel agencies didn't die, it just those that didn't adjust died, right? And so you always have to be thinking of these different models, as a broker-owner, like, Where do I need to go in order to continue thriving and growing my business?

Brian Charlesworth  28:15  

So that's a good point. So you've seen that in the travel industry, and obviously COVID hit harder than technology did. And it's coming back now are filling up airplanes again, they have every other seat. Now they're billing every seat again. So that industry is coming back? Where do you see things changing for the real estate agent slash team brokerage, like what are going to be some of the biggest changes for them here in the next couple years.

David Anderson  28:48  

While the single biggest change that could occur is if the Congress passes the proact, which requires agents to become employees. If that happens, NAR will lose a large portion of the membership, which means that the NDR budget goes down, right, because they get paid on a per member basis. brokers are going to have to then decide which employees they're going to keep on board. If you're selling one home a year, you're not going to be a real estate agent anymore. So those that are left that are producing, are going to make a lot more money. Let's be honest, right? Because if you take the supply down, and we all know demand is high, and by supply, I mean agents, there's gonna be more people using the same number of agents or half the agents. And so that, to me, is the biggest unknown in the next year or two, depending on what happens on that standpoint, which could dramatically change things I mean, even on the broker side, right now, they're giving these agents are telling them what to do. They're telling you how to talk to tie dials, right? That they're telling them like, here's the signs that you have to have. And in any other business, that's not even a contractor that's an employee. I don't think that they should be employees by the way. I think they should all Be independent contractors. But if the broker has that choice, next thing you know, they got to pay health care they got for one case like that the margins are getting thinner and thinner. And so that's why what I would do is do today with my company, but as a broker, figure out how you're going to save, where you can write and get really efficient. And Marcus Lemonis says this all the time, people product and process, if you don't have one of those three things really fine-tune the whole triangle. It's like putting the piece of real fire together and you got three pieces of wood, one of them burns more quickly than the other boom, the whole thing falls down. And so, you know, the only thing that I can do from our perspective is to help on that process part, right to help get brokers and admins and agents really good on that process. because change is coming. It's accelerating more quickly than it's ever accelerated before. And if you can, if you can figure out just little fine-tunes that you're gonna make it and you're gonna thrive. And that That to me is really like the next big thing that could come down the pipeline.

Brian Charlesworth  31:02  

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I think you're right on. I'll take it even to the next level. Whether that law passes or not, right. People are going to start having agents as employees. In fact, Zillow already, right. Redfin already does, okay. You know, people already have them as employees, and honestly, the Zillow agents, the Redfin agents, the, you know, in Utah, there's a company called homie agents. They don't make as much as your, you know, team producers today, who were making millions, they make, you know, a small salary with a small amount on each transaction. So the pay is definitely going to be impacted. And I agree with you, the number of agents is going to be reduced dramatically. 

David Anderson  31:59  

Oh, yeah, it's gone that way. I mean, it's, it's gone that way, right? So something to keep an eye on, like, if you're a broker, your agent and right start thinking about what if that happens, because we always have to gameplan for scenarios as business owners, if this happens, what do we do? If that happens? What do we do? Like always have a plan?

Brian Charlesworth  32:15  

Yes. Okay. So as far as moving over, more personal things, as far as like, just a few more questions I have for you, like, what's your favorite source of learning? Is it is it books? If so, what are some books? Is it podcasts? Is it you know, this changed so much in today's world? So most people listen to audio, actually, now.

David Anderson  32:40  

You know, I actually prefer reading over audio, you know, because I get up in the morning. And then at in during the evenings is when I get my reading time in, you know, I'll read a lot of strategy books. I'll read small little articles, like Harvard Business Review has, like these small little articles that you can really sign up for little short articles, few pages long, but it's really good on the strategy side, right, just to kind of help expand. You know, your mindset on things. You know, my favorite book that I read, once a year is called atlas shrugged. Have you ever read that or not? But it's, it was written by? Yeah, I think it's like the second or third most read book ever. I mean, Harry Potter, obviously, you know, like, number one. But it was written by a lady ein ran a YN Ra, nd, who grew up in kind of the Soviet bloc era. And it's about capitalism. And I reread it every year, because it's a reminder that socialism sucks. And we don't want to go there. And, you know, it's one of those things to where I think I first read about 13. My grandpa was like, here, read this or 14. And it's just a reminder to me of like, work really hard, have that grit, have that determination, right. My grandpa gave me a card and keeping my wallet that says your education. You know, there's a lot of educated derelicts, right. You have a higher education, you don't do anything with it, but persistence, and determination are omnipotent. And I've kept that with me for a very long time. And I wake up every morning, happy, man. I mean, you got to keep optimistic, you know, I mean, every morning I'll wake up and be like, Oh, thank God, I'm breathing again. Let's get to work. Yeah,

Brian Charlesworth  34:23  

Well, that's not as easy as you make it sound. So what is it you do that allows you to wake up? Like, that's if there's a key to life? That's it right there. Right?

David Anderson  34:34  

I don't know, man. You know, I mean, I've learned over the years to, you know, things bother all of us, right? I mean, they let you know, things get to us, we get stressed out. But when I go to bed at night, you know, I'll think about what I have to do. The next morning when I wake up. I'm like, I literally man, I enjoy the sunrise. take a couple minutes to myself. I know that I got a ton to do. But I've always just innately had a more of an optimistic outlook on things even when, like, when things are crumbling, right. I've always tried to take the perspective of, I'm lucky. I've got my family got my health. And you know, I mean, Gary Vee says all the time, while he just imagines everybody around your dad and like, I don't do that, like, I'm not like that right to where it's like I have to picture my family dead. But I do, I am grateful. I mean, I think this year has actually 2020 was fun because I got to stay home. I didn't have to drive to the office, and I miss my friends and my colleagues go to conferences, but it see my kids every day, right? And like that, to me is exciting, and keeps me happy, motivated, right? Like, what really matters in life,

Brian Charlesworth  35:38  

Positive outlook, and I think gratitude, you brought up gratitude. That's, that's definitely the key to being a key to being happy, as well as growing, which you're constantly doing. So what's your favorite thing to do in your personal time?

David Anderson  35:52  

Good question, man. Spend time with the family. But, you know, after I got out of the travel company, I went to go get my pilot's license. And I'll tell you what, if there's anything that you're going to focus on 100% is going to be that takeoff and landing when you're flying a little plane by yourself, and you're thinking of nothing else besides that. And when you're in a single-engine plane, you kind of look around, like if the engine goes off, where am I gonna land? Right? That, to me is awesome. I mean, just the feeling of flying is fun. I love it. And so I try to do that. I don't get to do it as much as I want to. But that's one of those things that I love doing. And then I started getting the Formula One watching races on Sunday, Sunday morning at 4 am that are over in Europe. And I'd love to go to a race this year. So if anybody out there has any tickets to Austin, let me know, because I want it.

Brian Charlesworth  36:40  

Oh, that's awesome. So I actually started driving with a bunch of supercars A few years ago, and like that's very similar to buying an airplane and that when you're driving around corners at those speeds, like your focus is 100%. On what you're doing right? And where you're going not. Yep, not on anything else. So what's your favorite place to visit? Like, vacations that kind of place?

David Anderson  37:10  

Oh, man, well, being in the travel industry for over a decade, I got to go to some pretty neat places I live I actually lived in China for a short period of time lived in both Beijing and Shanghai, I can tell you that my favorite vacation of all time, I always with my once on my with my dad, and once with my grandpa and we chartered a little sailboat around the British Virgin Islands. And man, there's nothing better than having just anchored out. You wake up in the morning, you jump in the water, it's 85 degrees. And then you get out and then you're done with life for the rest of the day if you want to be. And that's it. I mean, you know, you don't even have to move anywhere. In fact, if you want to go from one island to the next you don't have to raise the sail man like you can see us motor on over. And so to me, best vacation ever. And I have not been back in years and years, but it's definitely on my list very shortly.

Brian Charlesworth  38:01  

That's crazy. And I'll tell you why. It was my wife's 40th birthday a week ago. And we sailed the Virgin Islands for a week in a 50-foot catamaran exactly what you're talking about, except for our motor did go out for the last two days. So we had to sell.

David Anderson  38:22  

Man, it's great, isn't it? I mean, by far and away the coolest thing ever. Did you guys get to like Marina, I think was called Marina key that is that little teeny Island that's owned by poseurs Raman, Jose Clairvaux. So it's just one little bar in the middle of a teeny little island. And the only way to get up is Dini on up and you have the drink is called a painkiller and a Bushwacker. And that's all you're doing all day long. And it's an incredible trip. Yeah, you know, I'm glad you got

Brian Charlesworth  38:47  

Bushwacker everybody there that's, you hear that? constantly, no matter where you go. You're there. Right. So, yeah, awesome. It's just so funny that that's what you talked about which we were just there, we could go. So the last thing I wanted to ask you is just like what other advice do you have for somebody? Somebody wants to build a business, somebody wanting to build a real estate business, somebody's wanting to build a software business anything like what's the most important thing that you could tell them?

David Anderson  39:20  

You know, I mean, for me, and again, I've like I've read a lot of strategy books, but in the end, it just kind of comes back to you know, are you willing to get back up after you get knocked down? Right, because you're gonna get knocked down. And I've been in LionDesk and we've been knocked down a lot. In the travel business. I was there for 911, right? I mean, people are flying planes in the buildings and you're wondering what the hell's gonna happen? No, he's gonna travel again and they had to live through it again this year. And like I said earlier, things don't get easier, you just get better and so you have to be constantly improving yourself every single day and surrounding yourself. As the team gets better that first two or three hires set the tone For the rest of the company, and so, if you can find the right person that fits the culture that you want to build fits your core values, and you start putting your processes together, then you're gonna have a hell of a lot more fun. And it may take time, you know, this stuff doesn't come easy. You know, I mean, there's no shortcut to success, especially in real estate, where, in all honesty, you know, I've seen like, real estate tech is where a lot of dreams have gone to die. You know, I mean, we've seen this, I mean, you and you've seen this too. So you just got to keep working. And if the first thing doesn't work, try the next product, and then try the next product. And, you know, keep going. It's all about, you know, just busting your ass and working hard. And like, my grandpa always told me, determination and hard work and effort is omnipotent.

Brian Charlesworth  40:43  

Yeah. Great advice. How do people best get a hold of you?

David Anderson  40:47  

I'm sure a lot of people are David@liondesk.com. Yeah. If you go to LionDesk.com, right for the product, you know, and then if you want to get a hold of me, shoot me an email or just request me on Facebook. It's pretty, pretty straightforward is David@liondesk.com and I don't have the Twitter. You know, I wish I had time for all that stuff. But I read more than I talk and the more than I type in, and I listen more than I talk, so I like it that way.

Brian Charlesworth  41:18  

All right, Dave. Well, again, I think you've given a lot of great advice. I really appreciate you joining me today. And I'm looking forward to Sisu and LionDesk working closer together in the years to come.

David Anderson  41:29  

Absolutely. Me too, Brian, appreciate it. And thanks a lot, man. Yeah. Good times.

About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.