Farewell, Joe…

Last night, the RE.net and the world lost a thinker, a mentor, a wit, a pioneer, and above all, a good man.  Joe Ferrara has passed on.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family, and his wife Sandra, whom he loved above all else.

Joe’s Sellsius blog was one of the first and best real-estate blogs, full of interesting thoughts, news, and most of all, a great sense of humor that Joe imparted to it.  Posts like this one usually had me grinning, and sometimes laughing out loud maniacally, startling the nearby denizens of a Starbucks or two.

Joe is also one of the first people I’ve met in the RE.net.  When I first started blogging in 2008, Joe was one of the first to somehow find my unadvertised blog, comment on it, and contact me, encouraging me to keep writing.  If it weren’t for him, it isn’t clear whether Notorious R.O.B. ever evolves.  I called him the Godfather of La Blogstra Nostra, the East Coast RE.net Famiglia, out of respect for him and his sense of humor.  That is what I’ll remember about him — how great his laugh was, how his eyes would twinkle constantly, and how funny the man was.

I will never forget that Joe was a font of ideas and innovation.   Although not a wealthy man, Joe was constantly thinking about helping those less fortunate than himself.  We must have discussed the idea of pro bono real estate for hours, days, weeks.  He was the first person I remember proposing a “Hot Ladies of the RE.net Calendar” to raise money for various charitable causes, like Habitat for Humanity.  His ideas were often great, sometimes not, but always, always interesting.

Joe and I have had so many great conversations over the years, whether on the web, or in person at various conferences, or meeting up in New York City over a cup of coffee or seven, debating everything from social media to real estate to the state of the nation to whether Batman could beat Superman in a fight.  It was our love of conversation that led to the Lucky Strikes Social Media Club, which is still going strong in New York, in the hopes of getting together with other like-minded real estate, technology, and marketing people to share a meal and a great conversation.  That wonderful network of people does not exist without Joe Ferrara’s leadership and vision.

Above everything else, I will remember just how much Joe genuinely loved people.  That’s a rare enough quality in human beings, nevermind an attorney.  (Yes, Joe, I hope you’re laughing where you are, since you loved attorney jokes.)  But he really cared about people as people, was interested in them as human beings, and wanted to connect as one person to another.  If social media means anything at all, it means human beings treating each other as such.  Joe embodied that spirit better than just about anyone I know.

I’ll miss you, Joe.  See you on the Other Side.


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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11 thoughts on “Farewell, Joe…”

  1. Your introduction to Joe was much the same as mine, Rob. He was among the first of the RE.net to reach out to me, to encourage me, and to offer advice. He was a good man, thoughtful and generous. We have lost a wonderful soul, to be sure, but as a friend of mine said, “the energy of that soul has been released into the universe for use by all.” I think that's a really lovely way of looking at it. Joe will be terribly missed.

  2. Joe was one of the first to reach out to me as well, and, in such a kind way, that I will never forget the effect his attention had on me. He was the epitome of kindness.

  3. Well said Rob- he was passionate about pro bono work being incorporated into the code of ethics for NAR, and that man did love a good attorney joke. What struck me about him was that he didn't buy into his stature in the industry. He was all about the message and not about his ego. What a rare man.

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