First, let me congratulate Brad Inman and his team for an excellent conference this week. The content was deep and broad covering topics from “The Uberfication of the Real Estate Industry” to “Success in a Dress.” The keynotes were interesting, but the highlight had to be Guy Kawasaki‘s Top Ten…well…really 12, but who’s counting. He has a very real, down to earth charm and is a very entertaining presenter. If you want to “Hack” his top ten just search #ICSF #Guy Kawasaki via Twitter and I’m confident you will be able to piece all 10 together from the mass of tweets that were being banged out on smart devices large and small in the grand ballroom. Without further adeau, here are the top five (5) things I learned at Inman Connect San Francisco:
- Mobile Apps are becoming more available to the masses to develop. On Start-Up Alley there may have been 10 of the estimated 30+ companies who were in attendance. At least two of the start-up app companies that I visited with were tied to enabling agents / brokers to create an online network of service providers. The apps are definitely useful in that it ties the agent / broker to the center of the transaction for their customer. If I’m buying / selling a home, it is likely that you will need a plumber, drywaller, electrician, mortgage broker, title service etc. Many of these apps enable the agent to create, manage, and recommend local service providers.
- Many broker / agents struggle to enable adoption of technology initiatives. @eddieredwood from C21 Redwood had some great recommendations as did everry other member of his panel. Main points were to bring the agents into the process early on. Help them to understand how the technology benefits them in growing their business. After an agent realizes that he / she will earn more business they will adopt the tool.
- @KatieLance who hosted several panels made the point that the technology has to be so simple that a child can do it. Another panelist said that the technology needs to be adopted the way the television remote was adopted. You didn’t have to sell the concept, it was abundantly clear that this was a better way of doing it. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. App developers must make the technology easy to use and it must be abundantly clear why this is making life better for them to ensure technology is widely adopted.
- Data will continue to play a major role in shaping the future of the real estate industry. Zillow‘s announcement of its acquisition of Retsly will open up the playing field for additional app development and technology advances as start-ups will no longer have to struggle wiht 900 separate MLS agreements to bring their products to market, at least that is what I understood from the live interview with Zillow executive stage. Speaking of acquisitions, Realogy’s acquisition of ZipRealty wins the “Buzz in the Hallways” award for the conference. There was no close second.
- Social media is no longer just about brand awareness, but it is now evolving to “Social Business,” for brokers and agents. Again, hate to keep harping on the data availability, but it is the data that enables the “business” part of social business. Social media must remain social, but it must be viewed as a standard business marketing activity from the brand level to the agent level.
How could my experience have been better? The video production quality of Inman’s interviews could be better (poor audio quality on a few and it just drags down the overall quality impression of the conference for me. Additionally, I felt badly for the Start-Up Alley companies who were squeezed into the smallest “two-person” tall boy tables I’ve ever seen. It was difficult to interact when the tradeshow floor was packed with people. Otherwise great experience.