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.