Ian Morris, CEO for real estate tech and marketing company Market Leader Inc., formerly known as HouseValues, will discuss online strategies during a "Data, traffic and profits" session at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 12-14.

Morris, who joined HouseValues in 2002 and was promoted to CEO after one year with the company, was named one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders of 2010 by Inman News. He responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:

1. What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

Trust your instincts. It’s certainly not a new lesson, but one I frequently try to remind myself of.

2. What inspired you to pursue your current career path?

I am passionate about the real estate industry and the size of the challenges and opportunities it presents.

3. Share a personal experience or anecdote about buying, selling, owning, or renting a home.

My family and I just made the move to a new home this year. We were pretty happy in our previous home for the last 10 years, but prices got low enough to entice us to make the move.

4. What’s the coolest technology you’ve discovered this year, and how are you using it?

While it’s not a new technology, I continue to be amazed by how the Kindle has transformed one of our oldest industries. The fact that Amazon is selling more e-books than physical books despite the category being less than 4 years old is a testament to both the product, and power of technology to transform entire industries.

5. What is your advice for real estate industry professionals to thrive in this market?

Know your customers better than they know themselves. Know their behavior, the stages they go through, and the information they’re seeking on their own well before they think they need a real estate professional.

The earlier you can establish value, the more likely you are to get their business and the business of their friends, family, peers, etc.

6. What is your favorite non-work-related hobby?

I am a tennis addict. I have found that chasing that silly yellow ball around the court is a great way to start my day.

7. Who is your hero, and why?

My wife does it all. She manages to juggle me and our three wonderful kids and still remains relatively sane through it all.

8. What do you view as the biggest problem facing the real estate industry today, and how would you fix it?

Too much energy is focused on gadgets and new technologies, and not nearly enough on making the changes needed to the brokerage model itself. This is bad for some and very good for others, because the companies that have evolved are winning big despite a challenging market.

This trend will accelerate in the months and years ahead and the result will be a very new set of winners throughout the country.

See Ian Morris, CEO for Kirkland, Wash.-based Market Leader Inc., at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 12-14.

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