[VIP] Zillow Q1, 2019 Earnings: Confidence and Clarity

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Zillow reported its Q1/2019 earnings yesterday, and it was the first "real" earnings call with Rich Barton at the helm. As much as I missed hearing Spencer Rascoff on the call, I have to tip my hat to Barton and team (his style appears to be having the senior operators on the earnings call) for an amazing amount of clarity.

I will also confess a bit of self-satisfaction as everything I saw and heard from Zillow confirms just about everything I have written about them over the years, but particularly over the past year in the Red Dot series. I have written over and over that the ultimate prize is the Iron Throne: to become the Platform for housing in the United States. I have said over and over that Zillow is the frontrunner in that race.

Everything I'm seeing and hearing confirms that view. Furthermore, the earnings call in particular makes me believe that the team at Zillow under Barton's leadership is going after it in a much more aggressive, much more confident, and much more transparent way than before.

For at least 10 years, I felt that Zillow drove the conversation in real estate, that Zillow acted and everybody else reacted. In the past couple of years, that felt a bit changed, that others acted (Opendoor and Redfin in particular) and Zillow reacted. If that's the case, the Return of the King has changed that back. This new Zillow is very much back in the driver's seat.

Let's get into it.
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