Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the home of Point2 Technology, and meeting with many of the folks that toil behind the scenes to bring us Point2 Agent websites and systems.
For a guy from sunny Phoenix, Arizona, going to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the dead of winter was an interesting experience. Fortunately for me, it had “warmed up” considerably from prior weeks. “Warmed up” is a relative term. The city was blanketed in snow. There were signs that said, “Watch for Falling Ice” outside my hotel, and the temperature never rose above freezing. I think my feet are just now thawed out. But despite the polar conditions, Saskatoon is a neat city, with very friendly people.
But all that’s neither here nor there.
I’d like to share a little of what I saw and learned when I visited Point2…
Brendan King, the Point2 Agent Chief Operating Officer gave me a tour of the facilities. One of our first stops was the room that houses all of the servers, switches, and gizmos that store our data and present our sites to the world. There is some *wicked* cool technology being used. Racks and racks of servers and stuff that will just about bring a tear to the eye of a closet computer geek like me. 64 microprocessors in one box? How cool is that!
One of my first thoughts when I stepped into this room was, “Holy crap, what happens to my site if this building burns to the ground?” I assumed of course that Point2 has some backup/catastrophe strategy, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear the extent of it.
(Forgive me in advance if I get some of the particular details wrong. My brain was filled and drained several times while I was there)
The websites are basically continually backed up. The room housing all this equipment has its own fire suppression system, it’s got a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) the size of a small refrigerator and there is capability to have a generator installation and hook up a portable generator to keep power to all the servers and storage indefinitely. There are also different helpful sites out there like enstorageinc.com that offer the best portable generators which can provide sufficient power for most electrical devices. Every night, backup tapes are moved to an off-site storage facility whose sole purpose is to secure a recent copy of all your site and prospect data in the event of a disaster. Saskatoon is a LONG way from the ocean, so no worries about hurricanes. It’s not all that far from the north pole (seriously, look it up on a map!) so tornadoes aren’t much of a threat. I doubt the town is on any list of primary targets in the event of nuclear war or terrorism attack. So fire and power loss are about the only real disaster concerns. They’ve got those more than covered. Time to recover your site from a *complete* loss of *all* equipment is inside two days. It can’t get any better than that.
While I will freely admit I was totally in awe of the cool technology toys, there was one single thing that impressed me the most about what I saw at Point2.
It was the people.
Prior to real estate, I spent over 20 years in the semiconductor industry. I’ve worked at, and been exposed to companies like Motorola, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sun and more. You don’t get much more high tech than semiconductor manufacturing — where facilities cost in the billions and individual processing machines are in the millions. In my corporate life, I was exposed to some of the smartest people on the planet.
But I’ve never seen a more dedicated, passionate group of people than I saw at Point2.
These people take their jobs very seriously. They take their customers very seriously. They are constantly looking for new things to do and things to make better, smarter and faster. This attitude is prevalent across the entire workforce from the receptionist that greats you at the front door to the CEO — and everyone in between.
You might be surprised at how many Point2 users these folks “know”. Believe me when I say they read the message forums and RELiberation. I know sometimes we wonder if they are listening or if they care. Trust me, they are listening and they most definitely care what we have to say. Obviously they have a business to run and they can’t implement every suggestion that comes across their desks. But they sure consider every one. Every single person I talked to, from Support to Training to Marketing to Product Development to senior management asked me for my thoughts, opinions and suggestions. They want your thoughts, opinions and suggestions, so keep them coming!
The Point2 team isn’t working in a vacuum either. They are diligent about staying on top of real estate trends. Some of the ideas they have for the future of Point2 are mind boggling. They are thinking ahead to stuff that can’t even be done with existing technology. New ideas for prospect management, improvements to the blogging platform, RELiberation, and the existing P2 platform are all on the drawing board. New and innovative ways to syndicate listings. Grand plans for marketing the Point2 NLS. We have all this and more to look forward to. And before someone decides that I’m something special in P2s eye, I’m not. I wasn’t made privy to any big company secrets. The people working at Point2 are simply dedicated to providing us with the best product possible. I can’t tell you how many times I heard conversations in the hall that started with, “What do you think of this idea?” That’s the kind of atmosphere that spawns innovation.
If you’re a Point2 Agent member, you’ve got one hell of a team backing you up. They’ve got great business minds, and great technology minds. More importantly, they’ve got the desire to make every one of us as successful as possible.