Real estate players get creative on Zoom during lockdown

One London-based techie created a virtual game show, “No Pub Pub Quiz,” to captivate his audience

TRD NATIONAL /
May.May 15, 2020 04:00 PM
Oli Farago, founder and CEO of the real estate acquisition and asset management tool Coyote Software 

Oli Farago, founder and CEO of the real estate acquisition and asset management tool Coyote Software

Virtual quiz shows, brokerage Oscars and oversized “Babyzilla” backgrounds on Zoom: Industry players are finding creative ways to make their audiences laugh during lockdown.

Oli Farago, founder and CEO of the real estate acquisition and asset management tool Coyote Software, created a virtual game show dubbed, “No Pub Pub Quiz.” The online show — which he hosts for half an hour at lunchtime every Wednesday on Zoom — gives participants multiple-choice questions to answer, and eliminates players until a winner appears.

“We’ve been really enjoying trying to find interesting ways of keeping the team entertained and keeping them together,” said Farago, whose proptech company is based in London and also has an office in New York.

It started out with his internal team of 35 employees, who have been working remotely since mid-March, he said. Then, it quickly spread to include other companies, real estate clients and proptech peers, topping out at 85 participants.

A self-described techie, Farago’s background includes writing software for television shows, so he knew how to create graphics, and use timers and sound effects. He dusted off his old software to create the virtual show.

Real estate players get creative on Zoom during lockdown

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s how it works: Farago puts multiple choice questions on the screen, and the audience writes down the answer and holds it up to the camera. If their answers are wrong, the host tells them to turn off their cameras, which makes their squares disappear.

Questions have included: What does a nidoligist study? A. Waves B. Caves C. Bird nests (C is the correct answer); and Who co-produced the albums “Off the Wall”, “Thriller” and “Bad” with Michael Jackson? A. Quincy Jones B. Nile Rodgers C. Smokey Robinson (A is the correct answer).

As the questions progress, fewer and fewer people appear on the screen. When it is down to a handful of people, they are posed a tie-breaker question, like how tall is the Statue of Liberty? And the person with the closest right answer gets the points for that round, until there is a winner.

When the participants included just his employees, the prizes were food vouchers. As it expanded, it is now an honorary prize for the winning company. Farago said he will keep the game show going “until people get sick of it.”

Having a few laughs has also been an aim for Cervera Real Estate. The Miami-based brokerage couldn’t hold its annual Top Producer Circle awards ceremony in person in April because of the lockdown. So it hosted the event on Zoom, turning it into a mini “Oscars ceremony,” said Omar De Windt, vice president of corporate communications.

The firm created a dramatic introductory video with special effects and music — Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” — and used applause tracks and visual aids. Everyone was in “Zoom-top cocktail chic attire,” for the event, which was hosted by the company’s partners, Veronica Cervera Goeseke and Alicia Cervara Lamadrid.

“Everyone had a lot of fun with it,” said De Windt, who made the introductions wearing a tuxedo jacket and bow tie.

And Compass agent Iliana Abella figured she would bring a smile to viewers’ faces during a virtual Master Brokers Forum board meeting by placing a photo of her eight-month-old grandson Alexander Noel as her Zoom background. The first-time grandmother was on lockdown with her family at their vacation home in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

“Everybody was changing their virtual backgrounds, so I put it in,” Abella said of the 14-person meeting.

“But it came out really huge, so they were all laughing and making fun of me,” she said. “It was like a giant baby that was going to eat them. It was like Godzilla — Babyzilla!”


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