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A Few Thoughts from Hacker Connect

As many of you know, Inman’s Hacker Connect was this past Monday in New York. A lively day of real estate tech discussion, I’ve put together a few thoughts:

Dr. Kate Stone, the founder of Novalia, showed the audience several interactive experiences. Her firm creates immersive, playable experiences connecting brands to audiences around the world.

See this video about Bud Light:

And this one:

Human experiences are a topic I think a LOT about: how do you create products and activities buyer and homeowners are compelled to go out of their way to experience in person? See our interview about the virtual reality theatre in Minneapolis from a few weeks ago for further thinking on that topic.

Zain Memon at Opendoor talked about their open house experience and how to use the Raspberry Pi to enable it. Very, very cool technology behind the scenes of a very simple user experience. announced they are working on a new product called RealSuitePromo video:

My initial reaction is this is a simple lead router, communications platform, and CRM — and similar to Quo. Long term, this is likely the beginnings of a RealScout competitor.

I led a roundtable discussion on thoughts on cryptocurrencies and the impact of blockchain technology on real estate. It was a great discussion with about 10 people (one of which had just worked on a successful ICO in another industry). Deed, title, and lending are huge areas for blockchain technology, however, there were other roundtables focused on those topics by themselves. We focused on a couple primary topics — one of which is partial / fractional ownership, seemingly the huge gigantic opportunity looming in the distance for blockchain technology. We also talked about ICO’s, and how we know whether we can trust the corporations/individuals behind them. It’s important to note ICO’s are more like a crowd funding vehicle than they are an instrument for equity investment (mostly due to legal complexity & financial investments regulation). There’s certainly still some confusion about what “blockchain technology” truly is — which is more a protocol than a platform like Ruby on Rails.

There were multiple “live problem solving” sessions throughout the day. They went okay, but not great. Putting the audience on the spot to muster great problems on the fly didn’t go as well as planned. That said, the panels managed to provide value. Jess from and Lucie Fortier from CoreLogic were the participants for the last one. They touched on the agent adoption problem facing the entire industry, mentioned looking for great partners and/or an advocate as the best ways to break through the noise (I agree & am still shocked more don’t invest heavily on that front). There’s a crucial problem not enough founders ask themselves: “am I solving a real problem?”. They both stressed the need to re-communicate the value proposition over and over to customers and ensure the “why use the product” question is crystal clear.

Afterwards, many of the day’s folk met at BarBacon for drinks…

I met Adi Pavlovic, director of Keller Williams’ Innovation Lab. Given my personal focus on product innovation, it surprised me I somehow didn’t know Keller Williams had an innovation lab prior to seeing Adi moderate a discussion earlier in the day. In my defense, the innovation lab is less than a year old.

I met one of Geek Estate’s members in person for the first time: Peter Liem from Rukko. Spoke at length with a few team members from Buyside and Tribus (Eric Stegemann and Chuck Williams are both Geek Estate members as well), and caught up with my old colleague Sara Bonert at Zillow Group.

I met Florian, the product manager at Realigned (a previous consulting client).

That’s a wrap. Looking forward to seeing everyone again in San Francisco this summer!

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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