Monday, June 1, 2009

Secret. Agent Man.

Potomac Secret Agent, man"With every move he makes
Another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow."

We live in a world of great opportunity, which is another way of saying layoffs, foreclosures and corporate financial ruins afford us a new opportunity to find new ways to keep on keeping on.

Gerry Dunn is an example of a social media entrepreneur who defines his era by re-defining himself.

Dunn was a long-time Maryland realtor and real estate investor who morphed into a Virginia mortgage broker. To connect with his customers and peers, and to differentiate himself from his competitors, he sent out a Friday e-mail. In half the message he'd recount the week's mortgage rates and news. In the other half, describe a bottle of wine. Among Dunn's passions is wine, and once he created a blog with his backlog of wine reviews, become a niche favorite.

The mortgage business soured last year and Dunn was looking for a new career. He decided to sell residential homes in Potomac, MD. But real estate is a closed market for a new broker, even one with decades of experience. So Dunn invented a new persona: Potomac Secret Agent.

On his blog,, Dunn has posted nearly 100 reviews of open houses in the area. With a single cellphone photo from the street, Dunn describes the attributes of each home, but rates the value of the asking price — and for what price it should sell.

Four years ago in the Washington, DC, residential market, everything with a doorbell and a toilet sold at 30% over value. In 2009, homes are aging on the market longer and longer and Dunn is telling owners why.

Following another of Dunn's passions, the Potomac Secret Agent urged Montgomery County drivers to "drive gently," by placing bright red signs under the speed cameras on Memorial Day weekend.

Local television pounced on the story. Dunn became the face of a cause against speed camera tickets, sort of a bureacracy hiding behind a lens — a different kind of secret agent.

What other ways do you think the Potomac Secret Agent can spread his message through social media?

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