What Is The Cutting Edge of #CRETech? Come Inside A Meeting With Me.

I quickly walk across 42nd Street into Grand Central Terminal. I get into the flow of people and know exactly where I am headed. A little more time here and I will start to remember the short cuts and time savers. I head down the steps to the four train. I slide the MTA card and then nothing. I bounce back as the turnstile does not budge. My rookie technique needs some work. According to Michael Mandel, it’s all in the wrist. One more swipe and I’m through. I have my earphones in listening to my mix. We all have one. Showing my age here but pretty much anything since 2000 is shit so that should help you get an idea of what’s on shuffle. Down the steps to the platform, I step forward just as the train pulls up. People surge out, and I step in grabbing a bar sliding next to the exit door. The four is the express towards downtown. I arrive at Union Square and take a breath as I top the steps. In New York, I walk everywhere. Back in the Midwest, I drive everywhere. Which one is better for me? Pretty obvious even for a fat guy. I head northish into the lower 20’s and look for a specific address. Now this is where I keep some of the specifics out. Why?

Trust that’s why. It’s one of if not my most valuable assets. Part of the problem of having a site with such massive exposure in this industry is that everyone has a pretty good idea of the type of content I put out. If they are working on something they want to keep under wraps for competitive reasons one of the last human beings they want to see is me. Almost every wait no every conversation I have the site is brought up. So I need to reassure them that any and all is always in confidence. I relate a story or two about how and why they can trust me and after that, it’s all good. I am here to help grow this amazing business not tear it down with petty gossip and bullshit.

I find the address and check in at reception. It’s New York you just about need to show your ID to get a slice of pizza. I’m cool with that. If that’s what is needed for security then so be it. It has also been my observation that no matter where I go Madison Avenue, Park Avenue, Flatiron everyone at the front desk is always courteous smiling and helpful. Must be my witty charm and staggering good looks. In my mind, it is anyway.

I exit the elevator and walk to another reception area as a nice young person looks up from a computer and smiles. I give them my name and the person I am here to see. They look down, and I hear the tapping of keys. They look back up and smile with confirmation. They offer me something to drink. I never turn down water. I must hydrate my fat walking behind. I turn and notice a couch and two chairs. They look like they were made for kids. Must be a style thing. I sit and open my water. A couple of minutes later someone walks out to greet me. I roll out of the couch and stand up to shake hands.

He (yes he) is wearing a blue suit cut slim and tight. White shirt and light blue tie. He stands just at my height and is leaner than me. We turn and walk down a hallway to a glass door that opens into an all white conference room. The windows at the end are almost floor to ceiling which seems odd to me for such an old building. We sit at the table opposite each other.

” Thanks for coming in today. I was looking forward to meeting you.”

” Thank You. Your offices are some of the best I have seen. Pretty impressive.”

” Yes, we are lucky we have some depth in commercial real estate which helped us get set up pretty well.”

” Thanks again for the quick response to my emails.”

” The intro from our mutual friend was pretty impressive, and I was glad to reach out. I was a little hesitant because of where we are right now.”

” Yes, I know I get that a lot. I think we vetted that out over the phone.”

” We are still just in the beginning stages here, but I wanted to give you and update and get your opinion about a few things.”


This is where I have to stop.

I can’t and won’t tell you what we talked about.

What I can do is tell you generally about the subject matter.

Maybe you will get it and maybe you won’t. That’s not the point here.

How can I keep you informed up to date on the edge and still keep that trust, the confidence we all value and treasure?

One other thing this meeting was with someone who can significantly affect the #CRETech space.

And by that, I mean with $$$ and not just VC type money although (shout out to Nick, Ryan, and the VTS team) it can and has been the fuel that has been driving the #CRETech space.

Side Rant: I’ve been in New York just a short time and as large as it is it is also a small world and everyone knows almost everyone. SO, don’t email me and ask me who this was. They are not from here, and that should be good enough.

What do you think the tech edge of commercial real estate is right now?

It may not be as far out as you think.

We still have an amazing technology like BIM that no one even mentions. (I’m not even going to put a link on top of it)

There is the visualization component we are just now starting to integrate. (Floored was how many years ahead on this?)

Ok, I will say it. BlockChain but it’s still just a Maco play right now. (If someone is saying that it’s here….BULLSHIT!) *

Platforms are not here yet, but they are coming. Why? Not enough tools to make money by themselves. (Think Bloomberg)

Proprietary data vs. Public data. Data = Gold. You might be amazed at how willing the owners of the proprietary data may be willing to share. (They understand what it means long term.)

There were five to ten more subjects that were discussed, some of them would seem so far out that you would think of them absurd, but that part of the conversation is not for public consumption.

At least not from the pages of this site.

I did mention trust.

I walk to the elevator grabbing my phone on the way down. I open the door and out into the slight wind rain and cool afternoon, I pop up my umbrella. Finding the street sign for reference, I make my way back to the subway and descended into the warm stale air below. After checking emails and Twitter for messages, I stand shoulder to shoulder on the four uptown and hold on as the train surges. I think back and reflect on my meeting. The opportunities always seem endless. There are so many factors that go into making those opportunities become a reality. Sure as hell money is one of them. Big fucking money. The more I think we are advancing commercial real estate with the use of technology the more I realize we have so far to go.

There is a monumental task ahead, and there are many players, founders, financiers VC’s, engineers, and countless others trying to make that happen. I applaud them all.

They are trying to make your business of commercial real estate not only better but possibly the most dominate and technically advanced asset class in the world.

Sometimes that may seem far-fetched and even ridiculous.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

It’s happening and happening now.

You are there and you are helping.

You have more influence and say than you may think.

What Is The Cutting Edge of #CRETech? Come Inside A Meeting With Me.


+1 I moved to New York for many reasons.

+1+1 What I did not think I needed or would happen is that I would get the energy the swagger and the nasty driving edge that I always thought I had back. Maybe it had softened with age. Well, it’s fucking back and then some. It must be the New York tap water.

* Look me in the fucking eyes and lie to me. Do it!


Duke Long

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