eXp World Holdings has always been about breaking the mold and doing things differently — especially when it comes to technology. Now, eXp is formalizing that vision and commitment by naming Seth Siegler as Vice President, Technology Innovation and Real Estate Services.
Siegler has been with eXp since May 2019, initially hired to take “moonshots” at new technologies to help create efficiencies for eXp’s agents. His achievements include overseeing the development of eXp’s iBuyer program, “ExpressOffers,” technology for lead distribution and enhanced internal processing tools, such as My eXp, a web app for eXp agents to help monitor and track their real estate transactions.
In addition to his deep knowledge of computer programming, Siegler formally studied communications, was a real estate agent at one point and he also has a deep affinity for meteorology, physics, cars and sailing. We caught up to Seth to learn more about his new role.
Q. Congratulations on your promotion to VP of Technology Innovation & Real Estate Services at eXp. Tell us how you learned about eXp or did eXp learn about you?
A. Thank you! I’m super pumped about this role — not only the day-to-day of what I’ll be doing but also for the commitment to the future by eXp to create a role like this. I originally learned about eXp through industry news sources but the real nexus moment was the first time I met Glenn (Sanford, Founder and CEO of eXp World Holdings). I was competing in a 24-hour hackathon and it was about 20 or so hours into it and I was working on a mobile app (Curb Call). Glenn was walking around and stopped off to check my app out. He asked me a million questions about it and told me that he thought it had huge potential. I remember being surprised by how geeky he was. We really connected. BTW, Glenn was right because what I built there eventually grew into a full-on VC-backed startup that was eventually acquired! Glenn and I stayed in touch over the years until he, (eXp World Holdings CFO) Jeff Whiteside and I met for coffee one day and I joined eXp days later.
Q. With such a varied background, how did computer programming rise to the top among studying communications, meteorology and physics?
A. It was a pretty organic process, actually. In college, I thought I wanted to be a meteorologist, physicist and then by my senior year, a writer for a car magazine. Though I was always into tech and coding, I didn’t really take the computer science path in college. The classes offered at my school weren’t super exciting at that time compared to what was happening in the tech industry, so I kept up with it on my own on the side. When I graduated and became an actual real estate agent, I eventually started my own brokerage and built some tech for that company. The brokerage didn’t do so well but the tech spun out into my first startup and I was off and running from there, doing software professionally. I still read lots of car magazines, though!
Q. You started a few companies and sold them. Was there one “baby” that you were reluctant to let go and why?
A. I was actually pretty happy to sell both of the startups that got acquired because I wanted the concepts to thrive, given the resources of the larger companies who bought them. That being said, I’ve done a few startups that didn’t work and some of those were hard to say goodbye to. The brokerage I co-founded was the result of a lot of work and I still think some of its concepts were really good. Things like eco-friendliness and virtual operation. But at the end of the day, that sounds a bit familiar now because eXp has it covered!
Q. You were once an associate broker and here you are, designing tech to help real estate agents. What is the biggest problem you are trying to solve?
A. The thing I like most about solving problems in real estate is that though agents are out there getting it done day in and day out, there seems to be an almost infinite number of things that could be so much better. When I think back on my time as an agent, I remember it being some of the most stressful days of my entire life. Problems that I like solving the most are the ones that make agent’s time more scalable, the business more predictable, and also some consumer-facing things like making transactions less stressful and tedious (so people would feel empowered to transact more often!).
Q. What real estate technology would you say has helped real estate agents the most?
A. Mobile accessibility has had the biggest impact on agents. This is a business that takes place on the road and being able to take care of everything from scheduling a showing to handling contracts end to end, from wherever an agent is, at any given moment, seems like the biggest impact so far. What comes next is what gets me really excited.
Q. And what do you feel is the next big thing?
A. I think there is a lot of potential to be uncovered with understanding and even predicting consumer behavior using AI and machine learning. Besides the existing “likely to sell” sort of signals that exist today, if we could use tech to predict where a buyer might eventually settle down, for instance, and reduce the amount of showings and work agents have to do in each transaction, it could really help agents scale their businesses. Additionally, I always feel like there’s a lot more work to do for consumers who have to sell before they buy their next house. If we had technology to offer that could make that process easier, smoother and more predictable, I believe that people would be willing to move more often and our awesome agents would be there to make that happen.
Q. What wisdom would present-day Seth tell your younger self?
A. Buy as much Bitcoin as you can, young Seth!! Besides that, I’d say that the best way to really make an impact, is to truly understand what problems really need to be solved. The only way to do that is to either experience them yourself or listen to what those who are experiencing them have to say. Listen, ask questions and then listen some more. Oh, and young Seth: super bad news… It’s 2021 and the hoverboards from “Back to the Future 2” still don’t exist.
Q. Favorite social media platform and why?
A. Instagram, for sure. I find that other places like Twitter and Facebook can get so negative these days. Instagram is just such a nice reprieve from all of that and simply beautiful to look at sometimes. Besides friends and family, I like to try to follow accounts that show some nature and culture. It reminds me to go outside and enjoy the world around me sometimes.
Q. Android or iPhone?
A. My first iPhone was the 4S and I’ve upgraded steadily year after year but I did dabble with a rogue Android or two along the way. But I’m solidly on Team iPhone these days.
10 Fun Things About Seth Siegler:
- I spend my free time racing hydrofoil sailboats. I’ve been racing sailboats since I was about 7 years old. Lately, I’ve also started working on learning to surf. If I don’t learn that soon, I’ll never be able to consider myself a real Californian.
- I’ve been married for 8 years and we have a 3 1/2-year-old son. We live in sunny San Diego, CA. I also have two brothers (I’m the middle one) and they live in Santa Monica and Newport, RI.
- I’m a huge fan of ‘80s movies and any TV show that takes place in the ‘80s. I’ve probably seen “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Risky Business” over 200 times each.
- I grew up in Long Island, NY but when I went to Charleston, South Carolina for college, I ended up staying there permanently for a total of 13 years. After selling my first startup and getting engaged (within a few days of each other), we moved to San Diego where we’ve been for the past 10 years.
- Real estate is in my blood. My parents bought and sold lots of properties while I was growing up and later became agents themselves. They are still selling today!
- I had an internship with the meteorology team at a local NY news station one summer when I was in college. I even got to make a little demo video in front of the green screen! (Sorry, but nobody is ever going to get to see that! It’s a lot harder than it looks — I’ll leave it at that.)
- I’m incredibly into reading about pirates from the 1600-1700s. I’ve found a way to have computer stuff not be the geekiest thing about me!
- I dislike mayonnaise more than anything else on the planet. I once tried to order a burger without it and was confronted by the chef. My wife had to agree to sample a fried chicken gizzard to smooth the situation over. It was a weird night.
- I have always loved dogs. I adopted a golden retriever when I was in my twenties and she made it all the way to 16.5 yrs old. We now have a very wild Goldendoodle puppy who is testing my love for dogs.
- My wife and I met on a wakeboarding boat with mutual friends who set us up. Meeting while wakeboarding sounds cool, you say? Well, the thing that really got us interested was our long and detailed conversation about a new book we had just both just coincidentally read: “Blue Ocean Strategy,” a business book. We’re geeks at heart!