When awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country in mid-March, Zillow Group's CEO, Rich Barton, faced a difficult business decision: switch off the company's valuable new sales machine, the Zillow offerings, or do you keep them going?
Barton said it was "really foggy" and difficult to make clear decisions, but he chose to "put the brakes on", and on March 23, the company in Seattle stopped buying and selling houses through Zillow deals a.
Only two months later, things changed radically.
Zillow Offers is back in business, and Barton is once again driving a new zeal, not to mention a burnished and optimistic philosophy for this unprecedented time.
"This crisis is leading to a big change," said Barton on Thursday during a GeekWire virtual event titled How to build a lasting culture in the age of COVID-19.
"It will result in people moving to different places and working in different ways, moving in bad and good cases and getting vacation homes because most people wish they were in their vacation homes now," said Barton.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuhMa1qGmlA (/ embed)
In the past two months, Barton said the data is clear when it comes to residential real estate.
"We let the game on the field determine our plans and strategy," said Barton. "We were not afraid of good news. And when we saw good news, we leaned in. "
Last month, Zillow exceeded analysts' expectations for its first-quarter earnings report of $ 1.1 billion, an increase of 148% year over year.
Wall Street seems to like the message and recent results. The Zillow Group share, which is now trading at around $ 57 per share, has increased more than 25% since January 1. Zillow's Homes segment generated sales of $ 770 million in the first quarter, up 27% over the fourth quarter, a net non-GAAP loss of $ 75 million. The company's market value is nearly $ 13 billion.
Barton is one who speaks in large and broad corporate visions – by popularizing sentences and repeating how the Internet brings "Power to the People".
This new philosophy – "The Great Change" – was repeated by Barton on Friday morning on CNBC, along with comments on how food and shelter are at the base level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He believes Zillow is well positioned to take advantage of this situation with a research and development budget that Barton said it outshines its rivals.
Barton said on CNBC: "Probably five years of adoption have been reduced to five months."