I travel to a lot of real estate conferences. Most of the time, they are events driven by some structural portion of my business: Washington Realtors, NAR midyear and annual, Coldwell Banker GenBlue, national committees, etc. I really enjoy these events, and get a lot of business value from them.
Travel spreads me thin. Between my five jobs and three kids, there’s not a lot of free time in my schedule. Agents in the Seattle area often ask me why I include two more annual trips to Inman conferences in San Francisco and New York, when I have no official responsibility or specific business outcome that I’m hoping to achieve each time I attend.
Inman Connect feels a bit like the Burning Man of real estate. Yes, there are plenty of suits, ballrooms, and speakers. But the vibe at Inman is one of independence and creativity. The lobby is the first sign that this conference is a bit different. Of course there’s plenty of lobbycon at every conference, but the number of technology startups and innovators in the lobby doing deals at Inman is unmatched.
There’s a feeling at every Connect that something transformational is happening right under our noses. The outsiders are on the same footing as the stalwarts. Change isn’t just accepted, it’s a necessity for the event to thrive. Inman Connect’s success is dependent upon the electricity generated from the new challengers to the status quo who arrive every year.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big fan of much of traditional real estate. The broker-agent model hasn’t lasted this long and stayed this strong because it was illogically designed. There are tech minds who show up to disrupt the industry every year, many of whom simply don’t yet understand the massive inertia and daunting logistics of changing the real estate industry.
We’re here to help point them in the right direction. Consulting with technology companies who are hoping to traverse the maze that leads to success in real estate is what we love to do at Connect. We embrace new ideas, new technology, and different ways of thinking about the future of real estate.
The mix of traditional real estate leadership and disruptive technology newcomers at Connect ensures an exciting atmosphere of possibility, complemented by a heavy-handed reality check when necessary. It’s where I need to be if I’m going to know what’s coming next in my business.
Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak personally about the caliber of people who thrive in this kind of environment. The friends and colleagues I’ve made through the Inman network are invaluable to me. No matter the topic, region, or organization I need assistance with, there’s someone I’ve met through Inman who can give me sage advice without the protectionism that’s sometimes felt in the industry.
Inman Connect isn’t trying to be everything to everyone. It leaves the future of real estate legislation and “trade” to other events. Connect is where the edges are pushed. Sometimes there’s a brick wall, and sometimes barriers are broken. Either way, there’s no shortage of excitement. That’s worth another trip.
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