Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

estatecreate wins Innovation Award

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

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12th November, 2009 – estatecreate won The innovation Award last night at an awards ceremony organised by Theestatecreate Negotiator Award Negotiator magazine in association with The Digital Property Group.

Henry Yates, estatecreate Chief Executive, said: “I am very pleased that the team’s hard work has been recognised by winning another award. The judges were unanimous in voting for estatecreate, which is a great vote of confidence in our product.”

Mark Milner, The Digital Property Group’s (,, and Chief Executive said: “The success of the Negotiator Awards is a testament to on-going excellence within the market, with firms such as estatecreate gaining much deserved recognition. It’s a pleasure to celebrate their achievements as well as toast the impressive performance of the estate agency industry in challenging times.”

estatecreate winning award

estatecreate is a new tool for estate agents to showcase a vendor’s home with a standalone website for their property with its own domain name – the 21st century glossy property brochure for the web. You can see an example website here:


The service is very easy to use – estatecreate takes a feed of data from each branch and the agent can then easily add content and publish to a domain name of their choice. You can see a product demo here:


The judges of the 2009 Awards read like a Who’s Who of Estate Agency. They included:

Peter Bolton King, CEO, National Association of Estate Agents

Paul Broadhead, Head of Policy, Building Societies Association

Nicholas Leeming, Corporate Client Director, Property Finder

Mr Bill McClintock, Chief Operating Officer, The Property Ombudsman Service

Julian O’Dell, Founder, TM Training & Development

Ian Floyed, Chief Executive, My Home Move

Peter Rollings, Managing Director, Marsh & Parsons

Mr Ken Waller, Former Chief Executive of Connells Residential

Lucy Morton, Managing Partner, WA Ellis

John McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, McGrath Estate Agents

James Howard, Associate Director – Development, Urban Splash


estatecreate was founded by Henry Yates and is the first company to offer this service to estate agents in the UK. Yates is an experienced entrepreneur who has previously co-founded and sold two businesses, Face, the research and planning agency (, sold to Cello PLC) and, the social network for students (sold to

estatecreate partners with The Live Organisation

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

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estatecreate has announced a new partnership with The Live Organisation, the UK’s leading provider of residential conveyancing, with the launch of Live Sitemaker software which allows agents to create individual websites for their properties.

Tim Price, group sales & marketing director at The Live Organisation said:  “We are constantly looking for ways to give clients the tools to sell properties to customers in the most efficient and user friendly way. Sitemaker provides a contemporary and comprehensive marketing tool which goes well beyond a simple listing.”

“Winning instructions is the life blood of any agent and Sitemaker allows Live agents the opportunity to enhance their portfolio of marketing services, especially for middle and up market properties. And it is exactly this type of sophisticated improvement which can help agents win more business.”

Henry Yates, CEO estatecreate, said “We are excited to be working with The Live Organisation, they have a fantastic client base that will really benefit from using the Live SiteMaker service.”

The Live Sitemaker software allows clients to create an individual website for each property and a personal domain name. The format is easy to read and understand, allowing customers to view the property information with no confusion. Clients have more online space to include information about the local area, schools and contact details, as well as substantial room for photographs.

The easy to use software only takes minutes to create and publish websites. Clients can share the personal property websites through social networks and get more leads from other agents. The personal domain name is more memorable, making it more effective for advertising purposes. The websites can be branded for users, making them more visually appealing. There is no duplicated entries as the software auto-populates the sites for you.

Tim Price added: “Individual property websites are innovative and functional.

We offer estate agents the easiest and most cost effective way to create standalone websites for individual properties. The sites have their own web address and unlimited pages to showcase photos, floorplans, 360 tours and walk throughs.”

More details of Live’s new service can be found at

estatecreate launches new service to drive web traffic

Monday, March 21st, 2011

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4th FEBRUARY, 2010 estatecreate has launched a new service for estate agents that will drive more web traffic to their properties from search engines.

Search Engines such as Google are putting more and more emphasis on website content and domain names. By using estatecreate websites to showcase properties on key street names in an agency’s neighbourhood, agents will increase their search traffic and drive more leads to their properties.

Henry Yates, estatecreate Chief Executive, said “Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available to estate agents. By investing in SEO you should see increased traffic and increased business for years to come. Our SEO solution is part of the overall package estate agents buy into when they sign up to estatecreate.”

The service is very easy to set up. First an agent needs to identify key roads where they sell houses in their neighbourhood.

estatecreate estate agent SEO solution

The agent then sets up estatecreate sites for the key addresses around the agent’s branch. These sites will all point back to the estate agent’s website. Whenever the agent has a property for sale on a key road, they showcase it on the appropriate website. You can see an example website here:

estatecreate seo solution for estate agents

estatecreate is a new tool for estate agents to showcase a vendor’s home with a standalone website for their property with its own domain name. The service is very easy to use – estatecreate takes a feed of data from each branch and the agent can then easily add content and publish to a domain name of their choice.

The service is the holder of The Negotiator’s Innovation Award and the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward.

estatecreate was founded by Henry Yates and is the first company to offer this service to estate agents in the UK. Yates is an experienced entrepreneur who has previously co-founded and sold two businesses, Face, the research and planning agency (, sold to Cello PLC) and, the social network for students (sold to

Interview with The Estate Agent

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

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The Estate Agent

Originally uploaded by henry_yates

The Estate Agent interviewed estatecreate in their April issue. Unfortunately it is print only, so here is a screenshot.

Sterling – is it worth it?

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
And the question is

Image by Steve Punter via Flickr

As Robert Peston points out on his blog, the UK is currently caught in a vicious cycle.

UK banks owe billions to overseas lenders; lenders confidence in the UK banks is wavering increasing the likelihood of them demanding their money back; this is causing the value of sterling to fall, as the government, already massively in debt, is effectively guaranteeing repayment; sterling’s fall is in turn increasing the value of the bank/governments’ debts further reducing confidence in the banks and the UK.

Having an independent currency was supposed to have the benefit of allowing gradual devaluation to boost international competitiveness. Unfortunately as we are so in debt to the rest of the world, it seems to be driving us into a potentially nasty scenario where the UK can not pay its debts. Think Russia in the 1990s or Argentina in the early 2000s. Default leads to a sudden sharp fall in the value of the currency which then leads to massive inflation, as the price of imported goods and services soar. This feeds through to wage demands and all the knock on effects of being caught in an inflationary economy.

How long will it be until Gordon is on the phone to the IMF? Would this have happened if we were part of the Euro?

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Saying “sorry” means nothing without a “why”

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Great post from Robert Peston on yesterday’s apologies from the bank bosses. You can read it Bank bosses saying sorryhere. The key for me is where he says “Apologies carry weight when they are accompanied by a clear explanation by the miscreants of what they did wrong and why.”

No sign of a “why” yesterday. Mr Peston generously suggests it may be too early for them to fully understand the motivations behind their actions. Maybe it is too early for them to face up to the reality under the harsh light of the cameras.

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Post your business plan to the comments of a blog

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
Image representing Mark Cuban as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

Why would you do that?

Well, Mark Cuban has just asked people to do just that here. It is his “Open Source Funding” plan to help kick start the US economy by creating jobs.  He says “Rather than trying to be a Venture Capitalist, I was looking for an idea that hopefully could inspire people to create businesses that could quickly become self funding. Businesses that just needed a jump start to get the ball rolling and create jobs. I’m a big believer that entrepreneurs will lead us out of this mess. I just needed a way to help.”

To qualify, businesses need to be cash flow break even within 60 days and be profitable within 90 days. So what sort of business could that be? How about a UK start up with a product ready to be shipped and a business model that could work in the US? Why wouldn’t you want Mark Cuban to help you launch in the US? Did I post our business plan on his blog? Of course I did.

UPDATE (15th Feb): 1,300 comments and counting!

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Are we running out of money or is this crisis “totally different” to the 1976 IMF bail out

Friday, January 23rd, 2009
IMF Headquarters, Washington, DC.

Image via Wikipedia

In a speech to the Demos think-tank in London yesterday David Cameron suggested that the UK will have to go begging to the IMF because of Gordon Brown‘s borrowing. “If we continue on Labour’s path of fiscal irresponsibility, at some point – and it could be very soon – the money will simply run out.”

Gordon Brown countered on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning that the current crisis was “totally different” to anything seen before, because it was not driven by high inflation and wages.

So, who to believe?

As I said in my previous post at the beginning of the week, the danger is in the ballooning government debt and the eventual risk that the UK can not raise adequate additional funds in the bond market as international markets loose faith in sterling.

The UK may have a much lower national debt as a % of GDP than many other countries, however, the figures exclude the liabilities relating to the government bank guarantees and the fact that the government has effectively stated that it will not let any of the banks go bust. Their liabilities are therefore effectively the government’s liabilities. Much of UK bank debt is international. The falling pound therefore exacerbate the situation.

Gordon Brown says that the situation is very different to 1976 – we are not facing a scenario where high inflation and rising wages cripple the economy. Does that mean everything is OK then?

There is more than one way to run out of money. Having a banking crisis at a time when government finances are already stretched, committing to bail out the banks and losing the confidence of the international financial community is surely another way of ending up at the door of the IMF.

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Septic banks – lessons to be learnt from Lloyd’s of London

Friday, January 16th, 2009
Lloyd’s Building as seen from street level.

Image via Wikipedia

Since the start of the credit crunch I have continually noticed the similarity, albeit on a much smaller scale, of the crisis that faced Lloyd’s of London in the early 90s.

Lloyd’s syndicates believed that they had found a risk free way of doing business by passing on the risks they took on to other insurers. Reinsurance policies became increasingly complex, and premiums dropped as the market expanded and everyone piled in to this new risk free environment where it was easy to underwrite anything and then pass on the risk to the next player. Eventually, a big loss came along in the guise of Hurricane Hugo – it soon became evident that there was no new model, as the reinsurance spiral unwound like a deck of cards.

There is a remarkable similarity in the way banks have taken up securitization over the past decade. The collapse of the US property market was their Hurricane Hugo.

Lloyd’s had additional problems to the insurance spiral – many syndicates were facing huge and ongoing losses from asbestos claims stretching back over 50 years. The combination of the two problems pushed Lloyd’s to the edge of extinction. Nobody would inject new capital into the system as there was no way of valuing the existing businesses as they could not reliably forecast future losses coming from their past liabilities.

The solution they came up with was to setup Equitas – Lloyd’s version of a bad or septic bank. Equitas took on all liabilities from before 1989 in return for a fixed reserve of cash from each syndicate in Lloyd’s. All these losses were ring fenced from Lloyd’s syndicates existing operations giving investors confidence to come back ino the market. If Equitas failed, and the aggregate reserves they took on to cover the liabiliies eventually proved to be too little, this would have come back to haunt Lloyd’s. However, this never happened – Berkshire Hathaway eventually acquired Equitas in 2007 and paid £50m back to the Lloyd’s market.

Surely there are some lessons here for setting up a toxic bank to take on the UK and US banks’ liabilities.

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Is the world full?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Image representing Tim O'Reilly as depicted in...

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Tim O’Reilly / Flickr

via CrunchBase

Tim O’Reilly has just written a piece on his blog discussing the current state of the world economy, calling it “the biggest Ponzi Scheme of them all”. He argues that much of world growth has been pure inflated paper wealth, and that economic growth, much like the earth’s resources, is limited. He quotes from Former World Bank economist Herman Daly as follows:

“Growth in US real wealth is restrained by increasing scarcity of natural resources, both at the source end (oil depletion), and the sink end (absorptive capacity of the atmosphere for CO2). Further, spatial displacement of old stuff to make room for new stuff is increasingly costly as the world becomes more full, and increasing inequality of distribution of income prevents most people from buying much of the new stuff—except on credit (more debt). Marginal costs of growth now likely exceed marginal benefits, so that real physical growth makes us poorer, not richer (the cost of feeding and caring for the extra pigs is greater than the extra benefit). To keep up the illusion that growth is making us richer we deferred costs by issuing financial assets almost without limit, conveniently forgetting that these so‐called assets are, for society as a whole, debts to be paid back out of future real growth. That future real growth is very doubtful and consequently claims on it are devalued, regardless of liquidity.”

I can not disagree with the view that much of the growth over the past 10 years has been inflated by a paper wealth bubble, however, I do not think I could cope with accepting that there are few productivity gains to be had. If “the world was full” what would be the point in trying to improve the way we do things?

UPDATE – Tim O’Reilly replied to my comment on his blog:

Tim O’Reilly [01.06.09 09:30 AM]

Henry Yates: I think you misread “the world is full” argument. Daly explicitly calls out the kind of growth that consists of “qualitative improvement.” And I do agree that he perhaps misses the point that certain types of qualitative improvement can be quantitative improvement as well.

Take agriculture for instance. There’s no question that domesticated grains are both a qualitative and a quantitative improvement over the food carrying capacity of the natural environment. Sustainable agriculture of all kinds is an improvement over hunter-gathering. But at some point, you start borrowing from the future. As Wendell Berry pointed out in the article that Chris Ryland links to in his comment above, current farming practices destroy topsoil, while other practices preserve it. At what point do we realize that the version that borrows from the future by stripping the soil and adding petrochemical fertilizer is NOT actually more productive than sustainable agriculture?

Or, more importantly for the argument I hinted at in my conclusion, I believe that there’s a wonderful economy of innovation to be found in qualitative improvement. Is the web not a wonderful demonstration of that fact? We’ve all got the same personal computers we had 20 years ago but we’re getting more out of them not because they are faster but because they are connected (and in fact the rise of netbooks shows that the idea held by the computer industry for so long that faster chips was the only way to grow the industry is wrong.) We hit the wall on certain aspects of quantitative improvement, and qualitative improvement took over.

Or take my own industry: publishing. It’s not been growing much for years. But Amazon has certainly made a great business by creating a qualitative improvement in the way people can find and buy books. So I think you miss the point when you say that there’s no room for entrepreneurship in a steady state economy. If anything, there’s more room, because you really have to innovate if you can’t rely on the free ride given by unconstrained growth.

As I said above, I do think that it’s not a binary choice of qualitative vs. quantitative. But it’s a useful tool for thinking about how “growth” and innovation can continue even in a steady state economy.

I would agree that growth or productivity gain is usually overstated. Qualitative vs. quantitative is an interesting way of looking at things. You could argue that GDP growth is a crude way of measuring progress anyway and that more of a “balanced score card” quality of life metric would be more useful.

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