In the summer of 2007 Frank Garay was running a net branch for a mortgage company in Vacaville CA. He had about 50 MLO’s working for him and his partner Leo Schrupp. The mortgage industry was at the beginning of its now famous collapse. As business started falling off he knew he needed a way to motivate his salespeople to get more business in the door or things were going to go very bad for his branch. He tried sales meetings only to find that the salespeople who showed up for the meetings were those that didn’t need it! The people who seemed to need it the most somehow were always “busy” and unable to attend.
Not to be discouraged he sought out another way to communicate with his struggling loan originators. One of his co-workers and friend told him to try a webinar. After Frank learned what a webinar was, he thought it might work and gave it a try. Although the attendance was better, it still lacked as it seemed some of his salespeople still couldn’t attend due to schedule conflicts. He also didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t see the attendees. When his co-worker asked how it was going he told her he wished he could see them so he could give a better presentation. She suggested getting a webcam so they could at least see him, which he did.
On his third and final webinar with attendance still lacking, under the crushing pressure of the collapsing mortgage market he was at his wits end. He felt if he communicated what they needed to do it might sink in, and there might be hope for his branch. That webinar was on July 1st 2007. After the webinar Frank sat in silence starring at his computer monitor. Then his eyes shifted to the new webcam. He remembered when he installed it that the software which came with it allowed you to record a video and email it. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. He thought if he could make a little video and email it to his salespeople they could watch it on their own time, and hopefully the message would motivate them to make some changes in their habits so they could start originating some loans.
Think Big Work Small
Two weeks later Frank decided to change the name of the show to the TBWS Daily Show. TBWS stands for Think Big Work Small which was the name of an automated open house flyer program that Frank and his partner Leo had just launched. He wasn’t sure how the show would tie into the product but he liked the name and on July 16th 2007 the TBWS Daily Show was born.
Patrick continued to do the show with Frank on a daily basis for $40 a show till mid December 2007. After that he could no longer justify the effort for the money and had to quit. Frank went to the CEO of First Priority Financial, Tim Kearns, and told him that Pat was leaving and asked him for a suggestion for a replacement co-host. Tim suggested Brian Stevens. That surprised Frank because he really didn’t care for Brain, and he knew that Brian didn’t really care for him either. But Frank didn’t have much choice so he reluctantly asked Brian if he would be the co-host of the show and Brian reluctantly agreed in December 2007. Brian’s pay was $40 a show.
Brian brought a whole new element to the show. He has a very sharp and often sarcastic whit about him, which along with is unending source of seemingly useless information proved to be very beneficial to the show. The combination of Brian’s biting sarcastic whit and Frank’s simple pragmatic personality proved to be a great combination. They found that they fed well off of each other. When Brian pulls too hard in one direction Frank is there to pull the other way and vice versa.
When Brian came on board, the show shifted from YouTube to the Think Big Work Small product. At this time FPF had taken ownership of the Think Big Work Small site that Frank had developed and the show was incorporated into it. Brian’s first videos are on that platform which has since been dissolved, but in September of 2008 the show was being syndicated on the TBWS site and on YouTube. By now Frank and Brian were becoming friends, and together they carried the show to about 300 views a day.
But it started to pay off. One day they did a story on Wells Fargo that painted their upper management in, well, not the best light. At the end of the day that show had over 1,000 views. They had never received 1,000 views so they assumed that something must be wrong. But after investigating the matter as best as they could they determined it must be real. Everyday they worked and everyday their views continued to climb. 1,000 became 2,000 became 3,000. Then HVCC came along.
The HVCC Petition
HVCC was a huge blow to the industry and it was causing major problems. Frank and Brain saw a petition floating around to have HVCC removed, and they thought that they could do a better job at getting the word out. So on June 17th, 2009 they put together an online petition to have HVCC removed, made a video for it and sent it out. That video did very well. Between the TBWS site and YouTube it got tens of thousands of views. They continued to encourage the petition to be signed and forwarded on subsequent shows for several weeks. Brian said if they got 10,000 signatures he’d shave his head. That happened in just a few days. Then he said that if they got 20,000 signatures that Frank would shave his beard. Again, this happened just a few days later. Frank wasn’t very happy about this as he really never agreed to it, yet he went through with it. The petition eventually got around 130,000 signatures.
The Indymac Video
On February 8th 2010 Frank and Brian released a video, based on a blog post they had read on Active Rain, that showed the sweetheart deal that One West Bank got from the FDIC for purchasing the assets of Indymac Bank. There was something about that video that not only resonated with industry professionals, but stirred up the emotions of the general public as well. When the video was released the views seemed to be much higher than normal early in the day. Then they just kept going and going and going. By the end of the day there were over 50,000 views on it. Needless to say there was quite a buzz going around the office about how far it could go. By the next morning there were over 150,000 views and they were climbing fast – really fast. Not only were the views climbing at an alarming rate but so where the subscribers to the show. Industry professionals and consumers alike were subscribing in droves. By February 12, 2010 the video had gotten so much attention from the media that the FDIC had to issue a press release on it that you can see HERE. It’s not surprising that they would dispel the notion of the sweetheart deal, but many other media outlets agreed with their presentation and even justified it.
With popularity comes demand. All of their hard work was starting to pay off more and more. With views and subscribers soaring, advertisers started showing up asking to be on the show and Frank and Brain were being requested to attend various events as guest speakers. This was new for both of them. Neither one of them had any experience public speaking and their first few events were clunky at best. But they pressed on and learned from each gig. As the requests came in all Frank and Brian would ask for was airfare and hotel rooms, but as it continued it started taking a toll on them and they eventually began charging a speaking fee. What’s interesting about Frank and Brian is that they simply are who they are. People are always surprised to find out that they are exactly the same in person as they are on their show. It’s pretty evident by the fact that they often do their presentations in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops! But that’s what people expect them to do so it’s all good.
One of the most memorable early speaking events that Frank and Brian promoted and presented at was the 2010 Mortgage Revolution event in Atlanta Georgia. The event was almost an anti-event in that no one was paid to speak and if you did speak you couldn’t “sell” from the stage. It was an event that helped revive the mortgage originators out there. By now the mortgage industry and it’s people had been severely beat down and there was a continual dark cloud overhead. Mortgage Revolution was a breath of fresh air. An event that had many speakers who showed up with nothing to sell, just ideas and strategies that could be implemented to help get through those tough times.
The other remarkable thing about the event is that any profits from ticket sales went to local charities. The push was not only to provide value to the mortgage originators out there that just plain needed some inspiration, but to show the country that mortgage people weren’t a pack of evil monsters. They wanted to give back and help the local community. It was a really neat event. They went on to do another one in New York and San Francisco.
The National Real Estate Post
2011 – 2012 were a blur for Frank and Brian. Show after show, speaking event after speaking event they continued to press on making daily shows, working on products finding their way from one opportunity to another. Eventually there was a parting of ways. After much haggling with the owners of FPF Frank and Brian eventually were able to gain a small ownership position of TBWS. The relationship between Frank and Brian and the other owners was always cordial but sometimes it could be tense. At this time the CFPB was getting into full swing and it was a common topic of the show. The majority owners of TBWS were also the owners of FPF and it became more and more apparent that owning the voice that kicks the CFPB around might not be the best idea for the owners of a mortgage banking company. So the decision was made to part ways. They got to keep the name Think Big Work Small and the Rate Alert product and Frank and Brian got to keep the show, their subscribers and their Real Estate Marbles product.
The deal went through in September of 2012 and Frank and Brian were allowed to keep the show name “TBWS Daily Show” through the end of the year. The show name was changed to The National Real Estate Post in January of 2013. Frank actually always wanted to change the name of the show for SEO purposes, and he always thought the name of the show should convey what it was about, so for him the name change was welcomed. Since the name change the show has continued to thrive and new partnerships have been formed with Barry Habib and the Listing Booster product. These two relationships have already proved to be very fruitful and helped to position The National Real Estate Post for great things in the near future. They are also currently working with Chad Weber and Mark Madsen, experts in the SEO and consumer marketing arena, which will greatly benefit their viewers and Featured Professionals.
Fox News & The Future
One of the immediate benefits of being connected to Barry Habib was the introduction he made for them to Liz Claman, host of the Fox News show After the Bell. After Frank and Brian’s first appearance on the show they have been invited back several times. There is even a fun relationship being formed with Liz and her team. Frank and Brain would love to have more appearances on her show and other shows. Time will tell, but the future looks promising for Frank and Brian and The National Real Estate Post.
Frank and Brian have worked tirelessly for the past 6 years to drive The National Real Estate Post up the charts. With the help of their newly formed partnerships they believe they can make The National Real Estate Post a household name with all mortgage professionals, real estate professionals and consumers alike. The bottom line is they’re determined to make it, or die trying! It’s funny to look back on how it all started and really encouraging to see such great promise going forward. The bottom line is that it may have started with a little idea and perhaps a dash of luck, but how it got here, and where it’s going, has been and will always be, the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and consistency. So stay tuned and thanks for reading Our History and as Jerry Garcia once sang – “What a long strange trip it’s been”.
The National Real Estate Post