Sam Pilli

That there are problems in HOAs is a given, ask anyone, even some of the most ardent of HOA proponents will agree, there really and truly are problems. OK, so what next? Maybe starting at the begging. What if you were to ask 100 people what the problems are, experience has shown that you will get 200 very different answers. The reason is that everyone sees it from their personal perspective and their personal problem. This is an incredibly complex problem with so many moving parts to it that ” fixing” it has to start with a list of exactly what needs to be fixed, and that in and of itself will be a long list. But you have to start somewhere and the best starting point is discussing the issues openly, freely, honestly and fearlessly. Without that you’ll never get out of the starting gate.

Samuel Pilli joins us On The Commons. Sam and his colleagues have developed a website called Zonzon which allows homeowners in HOAs, condos, coops and other closed groups to communicate freely with each other. Sam believes this is the answer to all that ails HOAs. We will talk about his secure communication idea, discuss some of the other mitigating factors involved and find out how Zonzon might play a role in evening out the playing field.

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6 thoughts on “Sam Pilli”

    1. I asked the same question at first–This is what I found out:

      The group will be closed to the association members, board and management. Members can block other members if they don’t like their comments but board members cannot censor. Payment plans will be set up so folks can prove when they paid so no “mistakes” that cause penalties. Documents will be accessible–each owner can have their own account with files of HOA documents, payments, pictures, correspondence with the board, copies of sending in things to management. Eventually there will be access to the HOA Help Shop (books, reports, contact lists) both free and paid resources, and so on–all things HOA in the app on your phone or table (or computer). Not all functions are available yet, but they are in development. Empowering homeowners is the only way they can start protecting their rights collectively–Sam will appreciate any ideas–he is very open to anything that will be of use to the homeowner.

      1. “The group will be closed to the association members, board and management.”

        So basically Nextdoor – but including the managers and excluding non-owner residents (renters); and with a paid tier?

        According to their web site:

        “Zonzon’s mission is to have every HOA and closed community use Zonzon as their own Community Network Platform. Any member in an HOA or closed community can download the free homeowner app and share it with other members. The app is free and the board and or management can sign up for a monthly paid subscription that incorporates additional features starting at just $1 per unit per month.”

        Why would any HOA pay for this? The trend is for management companies to own an HOA’s web portal, and I don’t see them relinquishing that control to something called “Zon Zon”. And I’m sure the CAI attorneys will advise boards against it, too. Something about liability, or some other excuse to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) among the board members.

        “Empowering homeowners is the only way they can start protecting their rights collectively”

        I’m all for enabling communication among the homeowners. But we went through this thought process 20 years ago, when there was this new fad called The Internet. “Finally, the homeowners will no longer be isolated from each other” homeowner advocates proclaimed. “CAI will no longer be able to control the flow of information”. How did that turn out?

        A new social media app is not going to “empower” homeowners any more than Nextdoor, F*c*book, Twitter, etc., has. Shu of all people should know better by now than to believe this is going to solve any problems.

    2. Hello – that’s a great question. There are a number of ways Zonzon is different than the other social networks (Nextdoor/Facebook). Zonzon is built specifically for closed communities where residents are “members” . In an HOA, members have both a social and business relationship that is not captured by the other social networks. Zonzon goes beyond the simple connection of random neighbors on ND it gives HOA members access to all their HOA documents and a workflow to help residents collectively push issues and ideas for the board to consider; also HOA dues payment processing so residents can prove all payments made; access to a curated list of vendors. We help incorporate both the social and business nature of living in an HOA. Zonzon is outside the control of board or a FB or ND “administrator” who determines who is allowed in. On Zonzon all members are automatically given access to their community. I hope that answers your question. If you live in an HOA we would love for you to introduce it to your community.

  1. Sam @ 21:50. “I get more transparency and accountability on a five dollar Uber ride, than a lot of people get from their HOAs for hundreds of dollars a month”.

    That is such a great comparison that I am going to steal it for future use.

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