Every superhero has an origin story.
Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spiderman.
Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered and he became Batman, The Dark Knight.
Diana was appointed champion of the Amazon warriors and became Wonder Woman.
Tony Iacoviello was a scientist and an artist. And he became The Geeky Agent.
From humble beginnings….
Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Tony has been a real estate agent for five years. Before that, his resume included work as a home repair franchise, a video game retailer, and a science supply company. Before the US recession breached its northern border, Tony was happily working away in a Marketing Department. After the downturn, with experience in home repair, sales, and marketing, becoming a licensed real estate agent was a natural next step. But it didn’t come easily.
Superheroes, like real life, often have complicated storylines and dramatic life events. For Tony, it was a rather painful divorce. “It upended my family and a lot of who I am,” he said. “It took a while to get settled into my new life and new career.”
That new real estate career came with a blueprint. Wear the shirt and tie. Be professional. Buy and sell some houses. It was a living, but it wasn’t a life. Yet. “It was painfully boring,” Tony admitted. “So I said, “Hell with that!””
Tony would often doodle during open houses. It was a way to pass the time. Then he started giving away the sketches. That inspired him to make art a more intentional part of the experience, and he started setting up ‘Geek Zones’ for the children of prospective buyers to sit at and color while their parents explored the property.
His superpower was revealing itself. But was the world ready?
Facebook was already an outlet for Tony’s life and his work. As his real estate business grew, he continued to post his art, as well as personal photos people seemed to enjoy. “I’d post videos of me doing house flips, wearing my full hazmat suit. I’d post partial song lyrics and challenge people to name the tune,” he said. And they did. His peers, especially.
“I’m friends with a lot of agents, and they engage a lot.”
But few of those agents were as open about their appreciation for the things Tony loved, too, the “geeky” culture. “I was in real estate for a couple years and had met a bunch of different people who were geeks — Cosplayers, Trekkies, D&D members. Out of fear or shyness, they all kept it a secret – it was crazy!”
All these are indicators that a person might just be a geek. For fear of not looking ‘professional’, this kind of affiliation wasn’t often shared in the real estate world. But then serendipity stepped in.
When the call for help came, The Geeky Agent answered…
Tony was doing his thing — sketching superheroes, selling houses, serving his clients, and sharing it all on social.
Then one day, Cory Vasquez reached out. As the RE/MAX Digital Communications Manager, she’d just come back from an Inman Connect event. There, she saw Sean Carpenter creating his Carp Art.
“She needed someone who could do that same thing at the RE/MAX R4 convention in Vegas, and I was nominated to do it,” Tony said. And he rose to the challenge.
“She wanted me to go to the opening session and do a couple sketches summarizing the ‘take home message’ but, I wanted to go big or go home. I started before I even got there. I created my avatar and started telling stories about the agents themselves.”
No need for an alter ego….
These days, Tony and The Geeky Agent are one. From his web site to his business card to everything in between, Tony’s brand is fully himself and he has no regrets.
“I’ll put out my standard boring business card and no one touches it. When I hand them my Geeky card, their eyes light up and they say it’s awesome.”
While authenticity is the catch word of the day, branding yourself as something many people might not be into can be a risky move. But Tony’s confident his Geeky brand brings him the right business. “It gives people a chance to see who I am,” he said. “I don’t show up at listing appointments in a Batman t-shirt but, once I get to know my clients, I might show up straight from coaching my son’s soccer practice or in my Spiderman shirt … if I really like them.”