Inman Connect SF: Good vibes all around

My experience at Real Estate Connect SF resists “summing up.” I don’t have a lot of clear takeaways … yet. And I can’t single out one company or application that impressed me more than any other.

But good vibes abounded. I can’t remember an Inman where the sense of possibility was felt so widely.

Sure, the parties were bigger in ’99 and 2000. And when the bloggers hit the scene big time in 2007 it was really something.

But last week was different.

How do I explain this?

  • A 22 year-old programmer dressed in jeans and a t-shirt sat on the general session stage as his colleague demo-ed an MLS-based Realtor ratings app they had created, on site, in just 48 hours. HAR CEO Bob Hale was in the first row. Alex Perriello, CEO of Realogy’s franchise group, was in the second.
  • Jonathan Kaufman left his old-school broker about a year ago to build his own version of the future, Nest Realty. He told his story in one of the breakout sessions and picked up an Innovator Award the next day.
  • Seth Parker, a solo broker from Huntsville, AL shared an AIR app he built himself live from the stage. The hotel Internet connection went sideways on him, but the crowd got the point.
  • Redfin’s Glenn Kelman debated Kevin Levent of Metro Brokers. It was intense and sometimes funny, but entirely free from the jaundiced and self-serving “discount baiting” Glenn and other innovators had been subjected to in the past.
  • Ken Baris, a broker in New Jersey, came up to me after I gave my “10 new tools” presentation to tell me he’s already using eight of them.
  • I talked to several entrepreneurs, some still in stealth mode, aiming to take online real estate well beyond the “listings, leads and community” model. Serious, experienced people with a liberating ignorance of the category’s past.

I left the event jazzed by all the smart and dedicated people working to make a huge, important industry better.

It’s a good time to be in real estate, don’t you think?