Bill Chee CEO of Prudential Locations

A few years after Chee and his partners launched Locations in 1969, they quietly computerized the local MLS listings – giving Locations a big edge over the competition and helping turn it into one of the top real estate firms in the state. Here he talks about being on the bleeding edge of change.

Were you into technology then?

It’s not the same way that you get into technology now. Everybody is into technology. In my generation, if you were into technology, that meant you were taking coding classes at IBM and you were actually coding and compiling applications, and you were trying to write things. We wrote our own search app. There weren’t modules you could buy and plug in. It was a lot more tedious than it is now. Now, I think you need to know more about the concepts and how they apply rather than how to code something.

How has your role changed over the years?

I’m not doing as many things on the ground. I told you I was the code writer, so I was doing everything. What happens when you’re younger is you can go for a very long time, just grinding, and you don’t think of it. You don’t think of vacations, you don’t think of anything because you’re just immersed. And your body holds up well. In those days, networking was done all in the bars – and still is – but you were always on the go, always drinking, always meeting people. You can’t do that because right around 40, you still think you can do it, but you can’t do it for a prolonged period of time, and other things just start to slow down a bit. My role has been not as much time in [the office] and not as much intensity. Now we have spread-out contacts, people know other people. It’s not just focused on me, so the whole role has changed. They do better when I’m not here.

You should have a remote office.

I have a remote office. These days, you have to have a remote office, right? You’re always reachable, so you don’t really have to be there. You just have to achieve things. But if you’re not achieving, you better be in the office just in case, so they think you know what you’re doing.

Categories: Innovation, Leadership, Real Estate, Technology