I get asked all the time, “what’s next, what companies should we be looking at, what are we missing that’s too obvious?” And for the most part, I can always come up with a couple of gems that have them sit back and just go silent for a minute or two. Then, of course, they ask me why those specific companies or why those specific areas of commercial real estate.
Small side rant: The next person I meet with that asks me to email them 10 companies that they should look at and then becomes a “ghost.” I am going to post your picture on Twitter and LinkedIn with a comment that will make your reach for your lawyer’s number. Why? Quit using me to “build your roadmap” and bullshit the companies into thinking just because your buddy from college (who is bald as hell and wears the same blue suit every day) connects with them and tells them your new spectacular revenue sharing strategy is nothing this industry has ever seen before and that you are the only one with the right connections and understanding of the real #CRE ecosystem to execute it. That is borderline criminal if not just being a complete fucking asshole!
BTW the companies and that means almost all of them call ME and ask me what I think of YOU! That’s called due diligence. Why not do some of the same for yourself, or not, I need to vent and the pic with a link to your LinkedIn profile should be an interesting experiment in ethics morals and use of today’s’ media. What have you got to lose?
It does sometimes amaze me that I am getting the same questions over and over. More often than not it’s always about what I call some sort of “tool.” By that, I mean a piece of software that solves a specific problem. A quick example would be something like a lease calculator or a deal room of aggregated data. There is nothing wrong with either of those or any other tools for that matter. Most of the companies pushing these products are genuinely trying to help the end user and thought at some point there was a need to provide it.
The question I never get is “what is the one company you know of who is trying to completely scorch the earth and take out one-quarter of the existing #CRE #TECH companies and have the entire market for themselves?” Now, in my opinion, that’s one of the first if not only questions anyone should be asking.
Why? Because there is no one doing anything close to that right now. Does that mean that there are not good to great (see what I did there) companies out there solving problems and moving #CRE forward in so many positive ways? Of course, there are many great teams out killing it day after day and then some. But, it’s almost a given that most of them fit into a few general categories such as analytics, IoT, mapping, sensors, etc. etc. etc. You get the point.
Who then is attempting to do what someone said to me recently and that is “take the long hard road to success?” That may depend on many factors and or certain ideas about a myriad of metrics. If you have been paying any attention at all there seems to be some kind of funding announcement just about every day and just recently there have been some that honestly defies explanation unless of course, you are the one putting those checks in the bank. Is money or dollars raised a point of validation or is it telling the world you have yet figured out how to make one cent of profit at all? Again it depends on what chair you are sitting in.
What is missing now and has been missing from #CRE is one simple thing. Tenant and or User Empowerment and when I state that I am NOT talking about representation. I’ve written more than enough about whose real interest the broker has in any deal. I don’t care about the little legal snippets of “written ethics” that expound about the “fiduciary responsibility of.” Be honest, it’s about the responsibility of getting paid that most if not all are paying the most attention to.
Let me explain this further with this scenario.
Let’s use a well known global bank as an example. You pick the name out yourself as it’s not important to the point. This global bank has offices, branches, and all sorts of physical infrastructure in place to support any and all functions it provides for its customers. Open your mind a bit and imagine the tasks it takes just to keep up with all of that. I had a conversation this week with a company that helps maintain 20,000 assets for just this same scenario. It was almost beyond my comprehension what they had to do every day to just maintain the status quo. They mentioned the staff setup it took to do just the maintenance and repairs of the roofs. I was stunned silent.
Here’s where I’m going with this, who is helping this global company understand exactly how and why their assets are functioning and performing compared to the entire global marketplace today? Not annually, not quarterly not monthly. How about every second of every day? You, of course, assume it one of the big global “servicers” of commercial real estate. I’m sure we can all come up with three or four of those brands easily.
I ask this question again, who is empowering the Tenant and or User of Commercial Real Estate? You assume it’s one of those global service providers, I say not even close. From the conversations, I’ve had with the actual practitioners and people doing the real grunt work and that includes C level management and administrative functions they all say they are far removed and almost seen as unnecessary except for minimal tasks and redundant data management. That does not sound empowering at all. That sounds like deal-making (data hoarding) and customer churning for….trading of assets as a mechanism for profit.
Is that not the very basis of commercial real estate, or am I way off base? I don’t think so at all. Here’s what you are missing. What happens when that Global Tenant and or user is empowered? What happens to the market when that user is given data, real actionable data (data that is generated from their own assets along with the entire market) and in a way that enables them to make split-second decisions? That market becomes more powerful and the velocity that everyone wants seeks and envisions becomes…REAL!
The incremental technological improvement to a multi-trillion dollar asset class like commercial real estate will always happen in some form or another, but where is the true opportunity to dominate?
The ability to Empower The Tenant And Or The User Of Commercial Real Estate.
Who is doing that now?
I know both Ceo’s and the teams they are leading, I know where they came from and I am 100% sure I know where they are going.
Will they be the companies that scorch the world of commercial real estate technology?
That, of course, remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, they are doing it in a way that no one has done before.
So, Who Is Taking The Long Hard Road To Global #CRE Technology Domination?
The two companies with the ability to Empower The Tenant And Or The User Of Commercial Real Estate.
+1 It is just that simple.