Mike DeGiorgio is the founder and CEO of Crexi, the commercial real estate industry’s fastest-growing technology platform. Under his leadership, Crexi hosted the world’s largest single-asset online real estate transaction, expanded its presence with offices in New York, Raleigh, Dallas, Phoenix, and Miami, in addition to its Los Angeles headquarters, facilitated over $1 trillion in transactions to date, and empowers over 3 million buyers, brokers, and tenants to explore more than $2 trillion in property value across the country. Previously, DeGiorgio helped establish Auction.com, now known as Ten-X. He earned a business degree from Northern Illinois University, where he has served as a visiting lecturer on tech entrepreneurship and earned an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. DeGiorgio was also one of Globe St.’s 2022 CRE Tech Influencers.
Where did the idea for Crexi come from?
I looked at the world of commercial real estate and saw a problem. While almost every other industry and business segment was full of technological advances, commercial real estate faced a different reality. I wanted to create a platform to dramatically change the space, providing accessible, real time data to commercial real estate professionals. Crexi’s goal is to bring the entire transaction — buying, selling and leasing — online, to make the industry more liquid, transparent and easier to access.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is different. I start by reading the news to get a pulse on the market. Then I head into the office. I catch-up on emails, return calls. I like to pop into meetings happening around the office to get a sense of what’s being worked on, and connect with the Crexi employees. I’ll get a product demo of a new feature going live in our next sprint. For lunch, I’m often out meeting with new potential customers or investors, or I take lunch in my office while I catch up on emails. After lunch, I’ll meet with various members of my executive team to discuss new projects on the horizon. I try to head home around 6:30 at the latest to spend time with my daughter before she goes to bed, after which time I’ll log back on to finish up my work from the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Collaboration. I may have an idea, but I like to bounce ideas off of others, and take those visions to the next level with my team. We move quickly at Crexi – if someone has a good idea, I work to champion that idea and see how we can see it in action quickly. I’m passionate about creating an environment where the best idea always wins. Healthy debate is welcome, but once we make a decision we are committed to a common goal.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Self-driving cars. And the advancements in tech digitizing traditional industries into the online sphere. Both trends still have a ways to go before fully realizing their full potential, but it’s exciting to watch industries revolutionized with new technology.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Exercise – I’m a big sports fan in general and I love golf. I try to spend 30 to 40 minutes in the infrared sauna at least five days per week, I take cold showers, and always drink at least one gallon of water per day. Keeping in good physical shape keeps my energy levels up, allowing me to consider problems more deeply and devote more attention to tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Put your head down and work hard. Hard work pays off. Also relationships are everything. Make time to develop new relationships, and make spending time with those you love a priority. You can learn something from everyone, and you should treat everyone with the utmost respect.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Many people do agree with me, but many people don’t – those people are wrong.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Talk to someone new every day. I spend my days making new connections. You learn from conversations and new points of view, and I make that a priority in my life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Make sure you are improving everyday. If you get just 1% better every day for a year, you will end up 37 times better by the end of the year. And don’t make short-sighted decisions unless you absolutely need to. If you make sure you get better every day, and make decisions that are the right decisions for the future of the business, you will end up in a great place.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve hired a few of the wrong people for roles at Crexi over the years. Today, I spend a lot more time interviewing and drilling down into the qualities I’m looking for with anyone new we hire. I want to make sure people want to build and grow with Crexi and are in it for the long haul. Our people are everything.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Crexi is a game changer. When you have a great business idea you need to pour all your energy into it to help it succeed. For me, that idea is Crexi.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent $100 on Roblox gift cards for my niece and nephew. The smile on their faces when I surprised them was priceless. Getting to be best uncle of the week was worth every dollar.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Slack is a tool our company uses to stay in close touch, both in office and at home. Crexi’s community is paramount to who we are as a company. Staying connected is exceedingly important, especially as we grow the number of Crexi offices we have across the US. We use Slack for collaboration as well as connection.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike. The book goes into great detail on the many ways to be a great leader and CEO, emphasizing that the best performing leaders aren’t necessarily the ones you read about in the news.
What is your favorite quote?
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs
- Create an environment where the best idea always wins. Build a team who can take your visions to the next level.
- Talk to someone new every day. You learn from conversations and new points of view,
- The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.