To me, Inman Disconnect started with a significant barrier: No one seemed to notice the irony that Inman Disconnect, aimed at being open-minded and agile, literally took place in a walled garden.

To me, Inman Disconnect started with a significant barrier: No one seemed to notice the irony that Inman Disconnect, aimed at being open-minded and agile, literally took place in a walled garden.

As a tech vendor in real estate and mortgage, I often feel that I’m on the outside looking in. Could Inman Disconnect radically change this perception?

This perception has grown in the weeks following Gary Keller’s now famous “If we build it, they will come” speech, and I’ve wondered aloud if this is the new norm for our industry. Keller seeks to build everything in-house, to effectively rebuild Keller Williams in its own walled garden.

Break down the walls

Real estate has always looked a bit like a walled garden, so when Keller pushed away vendors and data companies such as mine, I thought it may be a signal of growing exclusivity. Thus, I approached Inman Disconnect with reserved optimism.

Frequently, something like Inman’s Parker Principles would be created by members of a board, committee or a blue-blood club. However, in our subsegment at Disconnect, our little group of two dozen, much of our industry was well-represented. 

Our group included an agent, team, broker and brand, tech startup and established tech, MLS and association as well as consultants. There were even four countries represented. I believe this was no accident and that Inman “staged” the group this way. It worked.

Not only was I not pushed away, but it was with significant surprise that I was greeted by healthy conversation, connections and inclusion. People want to work with outside vendors like Revaluate, and I felt more connected than ever before.

Parker Principle 7: Free up property data feeds, and remove barriers for innovators

This principle confirmed to me that despite having nearly 200,000 agents, Gary Keller does not speak for the industry. His inward focus is not the standard. It looks as if the industry approach to the “problem” is really fairly diverse (read: not well-defined yet).

And it felt as if the Inman team pushed back on the heels of Keller’s comments, to be more inclusive. Brad Inman and team deserve kudos. Disconnect was successful, enjoyable and inclusive.

Many of us are always looking for ways to participate, get involved and help improve real estate and mortgage. I’ve been a part of the industry for 10 years and have enjoyed hosting and co-hosting dozens of REBarCamps, volunteering with the local association and being on the local Young Professionals Network (YPN) committee. We do this because we want to help create positive change.

Next week, I travel to Miami for the Swanepoel T3 Summit event: the “Invite-only think tank of the industry.” I will attend with the new expectation that this will be more formal, refined and perhaps more inclusive than prior years, or as inclusive as an elite-invite-only event can be.

Including feedback from stakeholders in the conversation to work toward a common solution will lead to a better, stronger, more profitable, more agile industry experience for agents, teams, brands and consumers in the U.S.

Chris Drayer is the co-founder of Revaluate. Connect with him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FPO.

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