I was at the amazing CRE // Tech Intersect event recently in NYC, which is an immersion into commercial real estate technology. Congrats to my friend Pierce Neinken on another extraordinary event! I was fortunate to have met Pierce when he first started this event platform a few years ago and to see where he has taken it is truly astonishing. From an idea to thousands of the best companies and people participating in his events… WOW!
In meeting with many of the best and most innovative startups in the sector, one theme kept coming up over and over again… “Where are the users?!?!”
Here you have the best startups, the brightest minds, the industry thought leaders… all in one room. Talking. Demonstrating. Interacting. Largely, to themselves. And to their tech peers.
This got me thinking.
It’s actually the biggest issue facing the tech sector right now. Where are the users? Why aren’t they walking the halls and learning all they can? Sure, there were some really significant brokers and landlords there, but the place should have been crawling with them!
CRE // Tech Intersect is just about the best there is in the business, but I see this at this event as well as almost all of the other real estate tech events I go to.
People talk a lot about how adoption is still so low in the CRE tech space. My friend Duke Long has written about this at length and asked if it’s a reflection of the lack of breakthrough technology. But maybe it’s really because the industry has too much apathy to anything new? (just sayin’)
Did the heads of every major landlord and brokerage firm in NYC go to the event to investigate and report back to their teammates? Did the IT heads send out representatives to the event? Did the HR people send a team out to find new tools for their professionals? Unfortunately, the answer is “no” in most cases.
If the sector wants more innovation, they need to demand it!
If the sector wants to be able to communicate with their clients in the most innovative ways, they need to show up and learn about what’s available. If the sector wants to share in the upside of tech, they need to invest in it. If brokers want to differentiate themselves, they need to adopt it.
I honestly feel that until the industry itself decides that they have vested interest in seeing the tech industry thrive, we might just be talking to ourselves for a while.