Captain’s Blog 12.31.10. Here’s to the Tiger

Hawaii Life had quite the year in 2010. If you read the Chinese horoscope for the “Year of the Tiger”, it’s a fairly accurate description of our past year…the Year of the Tiger is often characterized as a courageous and fiery fighter who wards off tragedy. Tigers are gracious, independent, active and self-assured. Sounds like Hawaii Life to me. (It couldn’t hurt that I was born in a Tiger year, too.)

Reflecting on 2010, I read through my calendar, looking at all the appointments and commitments I made. I looked at my previous blog posts, my Facebook account and other social media. It was quite the exercise. It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished this year…

In 2010, Hawaii Life more than tripled in size. Our sales went from $58M in 2009 to $155M in 2010, we did 84 transactions in 2009 compared to 311 in 2010. We brought on 58 new brokers and agents around the State, and we converted 4 of our sales associates into licensed Brokers. Incredible.

At the beginning of the year, we hired Tracy Stice R(B) to be our Broker-In-Charge of Maui. Even while he was acting as the President of the Hawaii Association of Realtors for 2010 (a very demanding position), Tracy managed to open our Kahului office and bring on board the 22 associates we currently have on Maui. Big kudos are also due to Tobi Fisher R(S), our Director of Sales on Maui, for her continued support in that process.

To say that Tracy brought Leadership to Hawaii Life would be a gross understatement. One of his first acts of business was to (basically) mandate that we hire Beth Holiday of Inner Dynamics as our business coach. Working with Beth continues to be one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made. Working with Tracy and Beth led to both Katie Minkus, R(B) and I applying to the Hawaii Association of Realtors Leadership Academy. It was an absolutely transforming curriculum (four intensive 3-day sessions over the course of 8 months).

On the technology front, 2010 brought a few major milestones (I can share most of them ;-)):

  • We were able to get our entire company onto the same CRM (Client Relationship Manager) platform. Now, we all use the same software to keep track of our clients, customers, and prospects. Getting our custom-made software to work with this new platform, and getting almost 100 agents to use it, was an incredible accomplishment. We now have a reliable way to keep track of the 9600 user accounts on our website, and the ability to interact with them in a way that’s meaningful and effective.
  • Our Creative Director, Winston Welborn, and his team built our Direct Marketing System from scratch. Synced with all three of Hawaii’s MLS providers, the system allows agents to Gather, Create, and Send quality print and e-mail marketing materials easily and for free. Agents can spend more time with their clients and less time formatting brochures, printing labels or (god forbid) sending out irrelevant spam.


  • We turned on the RETS feeds for the islands of Maui and Oahu. RETS allows our clients and customers to have the most current information possible about the real estate market, since we can update the market information regularly throughout the day. Having market information first has proven hugely valuable for home buyers, especially if they’re interested in REOs or particularly good values. We’re hoping that Kauai and the Big Island’s MLS offers RETs in the near future.
  • Our Brokers-In-Charge have taken the initiative and continue to host regular webinars for our entire staff, offering training on everything from technology to transactions. It’s been a brilliant resource for Hawaii Life agents and brokers.

In June, we were nominated by Inman News as one of the country’s most Innovative Brokerages which, especially considering the other nominees, was an incredible honor.

On the “brick & mortar” front, we opened five new offices in 2010. The first was in Kahului, Maui, in the former corporate headquarters of Maui Land & Pineapple. It’s quite the setting. I can’t say that we’ll be there forever, but the central location in Kahului was a great jumping off spot for us to get started on Maui. Next up was our (anti)corporate headquarters in Princeville here on Kauai.


Hawaii Life's Headquarters, North Shore Kauai

Just a month later, in July, we formed a business relationship with Hawaii Vacation Rentals and remodeled and opened our first office on the Big Island, in Puako. By the fall, we were back to Maui to open our second office in Wailea, shortly after Dano Sayles R(B) and his team joined Hawaii Life. Then, in October, we hired Charlie Parry R(B) as our second Broker-In-Charge in Kona on the Big Island, and opened his office in Kona as a Hawaii Life office. Then, after all that, we seriously upgraded our presence in Kapaa on Kauai by opening a new office downtown. Wow… that’s a lot of “brick & mortar” for a “boutique internet company.” ;-)

A few big events from 2010 also warrant mention… our commitment to Leadership has led to a lot of volunteer work for our local and State Realtor Associations. The Kona Board of Realtors nominated three Hawaii Life agents for various awards, and Erik Hinshaw R(S) won ‘Rookie of the Year’. Our management team includes an HAR President in Tracy Stice, a (2011) President of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors in Katie Minkus, a (2010) of the Kona Board of Realtors in Charlie Parry, and just a few weeks ago, I became the President-Elect of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Getting our management team together for Hawaii Life’s annual broker summit in October was quite the experience. We set the pace for quite a year in 2011…

  • We’ll open an office in one of Oahu’s finest neighborhoods, Kahala! We’ve just signed our lease, and David Buck, our Broker-In-Charge on Oahu is spearheading that operation.
  • We plan to take our Property Management Services statewide. We’re changing the game in property management, vacation rentals, and guest services in Hawaii. We’re using Kauai as a model, and then we plan to offer our services to homeowner’s and guests throughout the State.
  • We’re changing our name to Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a name that we feel more accurately reflects who we are, our commitment to teamwork, and service to our clients.
  • We’re looking to improve our “brick & mortar” presence on Maui & the Big Island… negotiations for new offices are in the works.

I’m sure I’ve left things out, feel free to add them.

Big Mahalos to everyone who contributed to such a fantastic year. To all of our clients, customers, friends and family… MAHALO! See you next year…

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20 Responses to “Captain’s Blog 12.31.10. Here’s to the Tiger”

  1. Erik Hinshaw
    December 31, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Matt, This Tiger of a year is indeed humbling. Last January things took off and and all I could do is “hold that tiger by the tail.” Hawaii Life has introduced 1129 clients to me this year. I think that number is astounding. And I’m just one agent. As we enter the Year of the Rabbit the word multiply comes to mind.

  2. Charlie Parry
    December 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    Aloha Matt, These are truly impressive accomplishments. I am so proud to be a part of your growth and future success. Thank you.

  3. IIlona Coffey
    December 31, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Thank you for the contribution Hawaii Life and it’s magnificent People
    have made to my personal growth. In this environment of leadership and
    support all we can do is grow and get better. Thanks for allowing me to be
    a part of this Dream Team on Kauai!

  4. Martha Tumbleson
    December 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Wow… No moss is growing under the feet of Hawaii Life! The energy is infective. Looking forward to the coming year and the opportunity to embrace all the latest trends to serve our clients to the utmost.

  5. Lucy
    December 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I can attest to the fact that I have never been around such open and creative real estate people. Hawaii Life isn’t on the cutting edge, it is creating the Cutting Edge!

    It has been an amazing journey so far and I look forward to helping Hawaii Life have their most successful year in 2011! Thanks Matt and Anthea and the entire Kauai team for making this all possible for us Kauai agents!

    Lucy Adams

  6. David Buck
    December 31, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Didn’t realize you were a Tiger year too Matt… I’m not surprised at the company’s success considering the people and technology behind the scenes. Looking forward to an even better 2011. Happy New Year!

  7. Tracy Stice
    December 31, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Yesterday was a milestone day for me. 12 months ago I took a leap of faith and followed my son Jeremy in joining Hawaii Life and leaving a great company and great partners at Century 21 All Islands. I sold my stock back yesterday to All Islands. 12/30/2010 was my final exit with only my future to look forward to with Hawaii Life.

    Look at the incredible minds and leadership we have at Hawaii Life. David Buck, coach at Outrigger Canoe Club and BIC on Oahu. Katie Minkus raising the bar every day for the rest of the Hawaii Life Crew as President of West Hawaii Realtors and BIC for Puako. Charlie Parry as President for West Hawaii Realtors for 2010 and our recent addition as BIC in Kona. Anthea Adair, the rock of Kauai and the person that we all look to when we want to know the correct way to do things. Matt, you just have to step a little higher to try to stay ahead of us and we wish you well because we will be pushing you every day.

    I am very proud to be part of Hawaii Life ! Next year, Maui will be 66 strong , not 22. Best of all, we will be truly a family working together at the very highest standard in the industry.

    Mahalo Matt, Winston, Justin and all the Hawaii Life family for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of this exciting adventure !

  8. Heidi White
    January 1, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Yes, Mahalo Matt for your guidance and allowing us the opportunity to go as high as each individual Agent takes themselves in Hawaii Life! I love all these comments and I too feel the pull on this New Years day of the tiger’s tail. I feel my self being yanked forward so I grab tight for a wild ride into the year of the Rabbit. January 1st is the beginning of a prosperous year 2011. Hang on! It all starts today, 1/1/2011 & my hair is flying out behind me already has I hang on tight having a blast on this wonderful Real Estate Ride to prosperity, camaraderie and just plain fun in our industry. Mahalo everyone, especially to Matt, Winston, Justin, Anthea and Katie! You all add up to our success! I am grateful to you and all HL agents who team together whenever possible for our sucesses.

  9. Ron Margolis
    January 1, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    In what will generally be considered a BAD year for the real estate industry in the United States, Hawaii Life has made incredible progress in every area as evidenced by your post Matt.

    Congratulations to you and your partners on a wonderfully successful year. It’s a pleasure to be with a company that provides the broad spectrum of contemporary resources that help to make a Realtor successful in today’s ever-changing industry. I wish you Matt, your partners, and all of our agents an inspired, successful, profitable and fun year of expansion and learning in 2011. Mahalo Matt, for your hard work and committment to growth on every level.

  10. Matt Beall, PB
    January 1, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    @ Tracy, don’t worry, it’s very evident that you (all) will push me. I’m pushed every day, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
    @ everyone, thanks for the kind words. Its definitely a co-created experience… that’s part of the beauty of it. Imua.

  11. Jeanne E. Buboltz, RB CRS GRI
    January 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Matt, I am awed by this whole company and what has been done in such a short time. It is an honor to be a part of the Oahu Team. My thoughts reflect all that has been written by the others. Mahalo for everyone’s exciting but hard work involved. Now it is up to me to add a very small part to the whole and hang on tightly to the Tiger’s tail in 2011. JeanneEB

  12. Beth Robinson R(B)
    January 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Hawaii Life is truly a remarkable creation. I read your blog post and feel so honored to be a part of this. The commitment to excellence, not only in service to the customers and clients, but also in the leadership and tools provided to those of us who sign on for the ride, inspires and motivates me daily. I look forward to all the great and pono things we will accomplish together in 2011.

  13. Alexandra Bernstein
    January 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    It is so gratifying to work for a company of high integrity and dedication to service. You guys have shown me that buying or selling a house does not have to be the nerve-wracking undertaking that many people, before Hawaii Life, have experienced! And it’s been exciting to learn new skills every month and know that my contributions are useful.
    Yay team!

  14. Pam Deery R(B) Big Island
    January 2, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    HL Leaders; Thank you yet again for the opportunity to work with the most advanced and professional real estate company in my 28 year real estate career. I too am proud to be “connected” to such an amazing and inspiring group/company. It is an ESTEEM BATH!

    Mahalo! Let’s keep doing what we do best…living the life we love and sell.

  15. Karen Ono
    January 3, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments. It is a pleasure working with all the licensed agents in Hawaii Life.

  16. Diane Chavez
    January 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    It is an amazing amount of teamwork to accomplish all that you managed to get done in a year. Congratulations on your leadership and vision. Aloha

  17. kathyawai
    January 4, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Congratulations Matt,

    The company has not only accomplished what your vision was but maybe even surpassed it; what a huge achievement. It is absolutely thrilling to be a part of a company that is so creative and the interaction between agents and everyone willing to help is wonderful. It’s truly been exciting to be a part of this excellent team of people. I look forward to a lot of success this coming year and now the bar has been set even higher…Ready for 2011!!

    Much Aloha!

  18. Gary Bland R S
    April 10, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    Aloha Matt, I again after reading this Blog feel that joining Hawaii Life will make my steps to sucess a great one.


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