Industry News

Real estate tech glitches: Beyond two Styrofoam cups

Diary of a real estate flipper

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

It has never been my good fortune to work for a company with decent computer systems. When I started on Wall Street in 1988, we joked that the firm's idea of new technology was "two Styrofoam cups and a piece of string." Time Inc. tested out a publishing system that was tough to use and yet, oops, didn't become the industry standard. Two years ago at News Corp. I was told that a) the paper was put together on a software program designed in the '70s and b) I couldn't have remote access to the database because it wouldn't be "secure." What was I going to do, go in and change the names of vice presidential candidates? I finally quit bringing my laptop to meetings because it obviously made my co-workers jumpy, but I didn't understand the modern corporation's slavish devotion to paper and pencil and still don't. For one thing, if I use a piece of looseleaf to note down every little jiggle and fart of my brain, it's going to be hard to save the rainforest. For another, it's really tough ...