Our 10th Real Estate Connect begins today in San Francisco. The turn out and excitement feels a little like the 1990s when enthusiasm about the innovative side of the real estate industry grew loud. That is what Connect is about.

We will focus on the events and trends challenging the real estate industry. The days of turf protection, in-fighting and politics have not vanished, but are overshadowed by the reemergence of capital investment, technological innovation and industry consolidation, combined with the specter of changing market conditions.

We’re seeing more opportunity and less acrimony this year over last, giving us a clearer view of how the industry might look going forward and how traditional practices are beginning to change.

Last year, traditional real estate brokers were fretting about online companies that charged referral fees and published MLS listings on the Internet. This year, firms like Weichert Realtors and Prudential Real Estate have resolved to join the online bandwagon, building their own sophisticated programs to capture and distribute leads on the Internet.

Last year, some industry insiders worried about what media mogul Barry Diller might do to the real estate industry. This week, Diller will tell you what he is doing for the business.

Hear Barry Diller and industry luminaries predict the future of real estate! Get complete audio recordings of this year’s event by becoming a Member of Inman News. Join now!

Last year, protectionism was the rave. This year, the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation has put unfair business practices on notice, opening the door to a freer marketplace for companies to pursue more innovative home-listing distribution methods over the Internet.

Last year, the threat of higher interest rates was merely a forecast. This year, it is a reality as mortgage lenders scatter for higher ground and real estate agents and brokers prepare for a brave, new world.

Each year, Connect holds up a mirror to the business of real estate, reflecting the dueling faces of innovation and complacency, spotlighting the conflict inherent in the industry itself. We do not censor issues or speakers, nor do we control the debate or decide what is “PC.” Our sole mission is to dive into the issues that matter and provoke change that drives the industry forward.

Most important, enjoy yourself in the greatest city in the world!

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