[VIP] Redfin Q1, 2019 Earnings: Mystery Inside an Enigma Within a Puzzle

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Redfin reported its Q1/2019 results earlier today... and it's like one of those Russian nesting dolls, except it's a bit of a mystery inside an enigma within a puzzle kind of a deal. For the first time in... well... ever as far as Redfin is concerned, I find myself not quite able to understand what is going on and what Glenn & Co. are actually doing.

That in all likelihood means that I'm missing something important, as Glenn Kelman is one of the smartest people in the industry. But it could also have something to do with the fact that Redfin tends to like flying under the radar, being semi-mysterious about its intentions in any case, and being transparent yet opaque. Then again, that's always kind of been Redfin's style under Kelman's leadership.

This time, though, it goes beyond mere translucency into confusion. There are contrary indicators in the numbers, and then there are outright contradictions in the words by Glenn Kelman and Chris Nielsen, CFO, throughout the earnings call and between the words and the actions they discuss.

And for the first time ever since Redfin went public and started disclosing numbers and talking about themselves, I find myself wondering if their strategy is the right one. I think I'm still on the Redfin bandwagon, and still think Redfin is the most important brokerage in real estate, but Q1 makes me perhaps go from something like a BTS Army fan to something more like a New York Philharmonic fan.

Let's get into it.
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