SAN FRANCISCO — How can the real estate industry adapt to a world blazing in the early days of its digital revolution with whole new fields of traditional experience, including: the collaborative economy, embodied by the social media-powered taxi service Uber and Airbnb; virtual currency, exemplified by the curious Bitcoin phenomenon; and the remapped concept of social identity in the face of worldwide, instant communication?
A roomful of 100-plus prominent real estate industry execs are pondering these ideas, and others, at the CEO Summit emceed by Inman News founder and Publisher Brad Inman, which kicked off Real Estate Connect San Francisco this morning.
New York Times deputy tech editor Quentin Hardy jump-started the meeting, designed as a brainstorming session of some of the sharpest and most prominent minds in the residential real estate space (including Coldwell Banker Real Estate CEO Budge Huskey, Trulia CEO Pete Flint, realtor.com President Errol Samuelson, Houston Association Realtors CEO Bob Hale, ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker, Realty One Group CEO Kuba Jewgieniew, and many others), with a keynote presentation exploring some of the long-term ramifications of the digital revolution.
“Value comes from seeking what’s valuable and still scarce,” Hardy said. Increasingly, he said, physical presence is an example of something gaining value.
With the rise of cloud-based transaction management platforms and virtual offices as a new reality, the room considered how to maintain and maximize value and service in the face of this.
The virtual office is a new reality, said Budge Huskey, who led a discussion of the challenge of virtually managing an office and agents.
Glenn Sanford, CEO of the largely virtual brokerage eXp Realty, said his company has seen some success by renting physical collaborative workspaces in different markets for its agents.
The challenge, said Brian Boero, founding partner of real estate design and marketing firm 1000watt, is managing virtual teams effectively, when face-to-face management has a clear processes for success. “It might demand a new culture,” he said.
The wide-ranging and collaborative discussion also touched on how to best manage leads (“speed to lead”), customer relationship management, and paperless transaction management implementation.
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