Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

Tag Archives: Zillow Launches

I’ve been excitedly anticipating the launch of Glassdoor, partly because it’s led by my old mega boss Rich and partly because I knew it was going to be very close to what EggSprout is trying to do.

It is. And they’re definitely doing some really cool stuff. In their own words,

“Glassdoor gives you an inside look at companies from those that know them best – employees. You can see company ratings, reviews, and salaries – all for free.

We built Glassdoor for a very simple reason – because we believe that work matters.

At our core, everyone craves meaningful work. We want to know that all of our blood, sweat, and tears matter. We want to know that all of those hours away from our family aren’t for nothing. We want – we need – to believe that we are serving a higher purpose, and that the world is better off because of our work.

Amen. Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Techcrunch has great coverage about what they’re about if you want to know more.

Which still begs the question – Does this kill EggSprout? Actually, no. In fact, we think we’re pretty complimentary to each other. To explain why, I’d have to reveal a whole ton of secrets about our stealth startup.  I’m not quite ready to do that yet.  Soon… soon…

If you’re really dying to know, gimme a comment below, we’re going to be inviting some VIPs in to preview our beta soon.

Dragonforce Expert

Two and a half months away from my beloved Guitar Hero III and I’ve realized after playing at a friend’s house that I can no longer beat Dragonforce on Expert. I played it everyday during lunch when I was at Zillow and it took ~2 months of practice to be able to beat it. That’s about ~40 hours. Man, GH3 is like a full time job

So, last weekend, I finally bought the game. Lets see if I can get my skills back. Dragonforce, here I come:

I got quotes!… now what?

Being a real estate agent, I’ve been around mortgages and know a little bit about how to work them.  Previously, I blogged about Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace here.  Well, I have an update.  I recently got some quotes:

So… it works.  Now what?  The monthly rates are substantially higher then what I’m paying now and so is the APR.  Didn’t the FED just cut rates by a ton?  I was expecting much lower.  At least the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is working – now I just need a lender to step up and gimme something better.  C’mon.

I guess I’ll just wait and see if I get anymore quotes.

nPost: Startup Community

Been really busy the past two days, but didn’t want to leave my dedicated readers without a blog post. :) Yesterday was CRAZY busy. A house inspection, several calls with some startup guys, the awesome npost event, and then more startup work until late into the night.

Tired? Yes. Excited? Definitely.

There’s nothing more exciting then to realize that there are so many other people trying to chase their dreams as well and the npost event last night brought that all to the forefront. I signed up without thinking much about it, but I connected and re-connected with more people there then I would’ve in an entire month. I was amazed at how many people I actually knew from random places before and enjoyed myself way more then I expected. Among the great people I chatted with:

  • COO of Home Savvi – I’ve been wanting to chat with this guy for a while. Super smart
  • Some Zillow buddies who left to start FridgeDoor Inc – no site to link to, but excited to see what they’re up to
  • Another Zillow buddy and his great gang from Giraffe Labs – great idea btw
  • Old acquiantance of mine from college from TalentSpring
  • Several analytics people from Zaaz
  • A crazy smart PR guy who did some things for TeachStreet– I was hoping to see more of my Zillow buddies there at the event from TeachStreet, but they must’ve been crazy tired after a whirlwind of success with their recent launch.
  • A ton of other random startups that will make this list too long…
  • And of course, Mr. Nate Kaiser himself and his incredible wife

Big thanks to Nate for putting the event together. Great event, great host, and great community. Excited to be working amongst such pleasant and smart people.

Best Iphone Apps: part 2

A while ago, I wrote about the Best Iphone Apps, which really… weren’t very practical even though I’d love to use that stock app. (Check it out if you haven’t)

This week, I actually got to know my iphone a little bit better and started customizing apps onto the home screen. Here’s what I have so far:

  • Facebook – Duh. Everyone needs this.
  • Dictionary – For all those times at the bar when someone says some funny word that you don’t understand. (*cough* Steve *cough*)
  • Meebo Buddy List – This is just meebo for the iphone. Didn’t make it into Apple’s web apps gallery for some reason, but super useful.
  • Pricecheckah – Comparison shopping while AT THE STORE! I’ve always wanted something like this. I remember trying to write one myself.
  • Deals – There’s two things I check on my iphone in the morning when I’m too lazy to get up from the bed to move to the computer. Deals and Stocks.
  • iGas – This one BLOWS MY MIND. Check for the cheapest gas prices near you. A must have. I’m very religious about getting to the cheapest gas station possible.
  • Zillow – Really not that impressive, but since I was the one that PM’d the Zillow API and ZMobile that made this possible, I thought I should mention it.  It basically gets the basic home facts and then links you to Zillow.
  • Guitar – Wanna know how I own Guitar Hero? This is my secret. Must have for any budding Guitar expert.

I’m sure there are lots more great apps. I’m probably just scratching the surface, but hey, I gotta spend some time getting to know my macbook too. Or else he’ll get jealous.


ZMM: Zillow Mortgage Marketplace

Three blog posts in a day – that’s a record. But definitely worth it, cause this is definitely something you want to know: Zillow Mortgage Marketplace just launched! I know it’s weird advertising for your previous employer, but this is that important. (And I’ve been waiting FOREVER to tell people about it… cause it kept of slipping… I won’t name any names *cough cough*)

Rather then me telling you about it, just read Rich’s blog post. He has a way with words.


Congrats to the team, job well done. And I hope you all enjoyed your Ezell’s chicken. (Zillow ship night tradition)

Alright, I put in my loan quote request… let’s see if I get any good quotes.

It is lonely being an Entreprenuer…

So I like to take some time everyday reading about how others have gone through it. Today, I was lucky enough to run into this great post from CuriousOffice comparing Entrepreneurs vs. arm chair quarterbacks. Here’ s a highlight: (But I encourage you to read the whole blog post, it’s concise and to the point)

But the arm chair quarterbacks will be the ones who get under your skin. They are drawing paychecks from a company somebody else started. They have never raised money against their own ideas. The have never put themselves out for others to put under the microscope. They will never be need to be judged against their true abilities because their faults are hidden within the infrastructure of something much larger than they are. So, entrepreneurs I hope you pat yourselves on the back today. You live and die on how you do. That earns you the right to say whatever the hell you want about things because now you don’t have to appear politically correct in meetings so you’ll get that holiday bonus or that promotion. You are not perfect and the armchair quarterbacks will be sure and remind you of that fact. But you have courage in spades because what you do is too scary for most people to try.

It’s been a hectic, but very fun three weeks of startup work, but oh Zillow, how I miss the ping pong, guitar hero, and super smart and great friends I have made there.

I just wish someday I’ll have earned that right to say “whatever the hell I want about things” too. But until then, gonna have to get back to work and find me some funding for my little startup.. .

“Business is easy”

“Business is easy.”

Rich Barton, the big man at Zillow, said this once at an all company meeting… And it’s haunted me ever since. I can still remember where I was, what the weather was like, what pizza I was eating, and even what shirt Rich was wearing. I can replay it over and over in my mind – and I do. Everyday.

The past few weeks of trying to throw a business plan together have been hellish. Sure, I don’t have to wake up early to commute and go to work everyday and sit in an office, but I’ve been tracking my time and my “work” has easily extended to 12+ hours a day (which doesn’t count the time in the shower, eating, turning around in bed, etc while still thinking about the startup).

When you’re passionate about something – it engulfs you. It’s a good feeling, but at the same time its freakin’ scary. There’s no motivation better than the thought of everything riding on your shoulders.  If you fail, its your fault.  At least back at Zillow, I always had someone else to blame. (read: developers :) )

So yeah… two whole weeks, many many hours, and working through weekends on the business plan and where have I gotten? Not very far. There is so much stuff to learn and so much stuff to do. But hey, it’s fun. At least for now.

Sorry Rich, you’re wrong. Business is hard. Very hard.