Every once in a while, the currents are so right you cannot ignore them. Catch the wave with abandon and go for it, risk it and the payoff is out there.

I truly believe that the real estate industry is at that moment today — those who get it will put fear aside and the risk will pay off.

What is that trend? Partner or die!

Change is happening so rapidly that no single company or individual can go it alone.

You need a channel partner for leads. You need a technology partner to deliver superior services. You need a team to close deals. You may need the right franchise partner to accelerate your brand. You need brokers and agents to sell products. And you need to make sure you build partnerships that create real, lasting value.

Which brings me to the longtime Inman Connect mantra of Connecting the industry. We are at a juncture that reminds me of the time when and why we started the Connect conference in 1997. Connect was about connecting the old world of real estate with the new world of tech innovation. Then, it was harder to make the connect case, the tech industry was naive and the legacy industry was full of fear.

Today, we are at the same crossroads for different reasons. Today, the gains of partnering are overwhelming and a prerequisite for success. Everyone is scrambling to do so and you must be part of the mix.

Trulia, Zillow and realtor.com need more and more agent and broker partners to grow revenue and to convince Wall Street that their sky-high valuations make sense. Franchises, brokers and agents need Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com to deliver leads and sales. Small tech companies need brokers and agents who in turn need tech solutions to be more efficient, to offer more consumer products to their customers and more tools to close deals.

In my career, I was only as good as my partners. I thought that I had all of the answers, but success came only from bringing the right people together.

Inman News was built on the back of partnerships with Microsoft and newspaper giants. HomeGain succeeded on partnerships with the likes of Yahoo and Google. TurnHere depended on channel partners like AT&T and Yelp. And Vook depends on our relationships with publishers, literary agents, Amazon and Apple.

The theme for Connect NYC is partnerships. Everything at the conference will be focused on coming together, marrying your assets with others. We are fiercely focused on partnerships, creating great content on the subject and creative networking opportunities to make sure you meet new people to partner with.

For example, Boubou Guiro of Onvedeo and Jean Lauer of Sweeten share how they partnered with franchises to put their startups on the map. Mark Willis and Dave Liniger discuss how rethinking partnerships has driven innovation and massively grown two of the most successful franchises in the business. Venture investor Joanne Wilson will give you the insight on how she picks and invests with her partners. The list goes on.

On the networking side, we have more parties and meetups than ever before, including early morning jogs in Central Park, an under-30 party at a cool Wall Street apartment of a known real estate big-shot, Yoga in the Square, parties at my Greenwich Village joint and much more. Also, special stuff for the global crowd and events for the local NYC attendees.

It is scary trying to build a business by yourself: It is too much work, you miss out on getting help from others, and you don’t get the benefit of adding smart folks to your team without putting people on the payroll.

Fear still abounds in this industry. But those who let their worries consume them will fail; those who open themselves up, working with others, will soar.

Come to Connect in January. I promise that you will find a partner, if not many, and as a bonus figure out how to work with them.

The deals consummated at Connect have always been profound, but this year it is our obsession.

You are my partner on Jan. 15-17, 2014 — start out the new year right and let’s find success together.

Brad Inman is the founder and publisher of Inman News.

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