Thoughts from this week’s RealTech conference

The cabin doors closed and so too did the incessant ringing of the slot machines. It was, finally, mercifully, quiet. Just 24 hours in and I was already ready to get out of here and back to Portland.

I was in Las Vegas this week for the second annual RealTech conference – which was produced and hosted by Reesio, the online transaction management company.

First off, I have hand it to Mark Thomas, CEO of Reesio, and his team. Having produced many Connect conferences during my time at Inman, I know first hand how stressful and taxing a day like this can be.

So my hat’s off to Reesio folks (seriously) for putting together another very interesting event.

Here’s just a few observations from the day…

The Redfin team are smart. Like, wicked smart. There are nine people on their data analysis team alone, and they measure everything from activity on their website and apps all the way down to their business processes on the sales floor. These folks think about broker operations in a way that, I would hazard, has never been done before. It’s pretty impressive.

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Big data seems to have supplanted social media as the tech-conference topic of the moment – and I count myself among the crowd in this respect too. The talk I gave was on context and the potential uses of predictive data.

I actually think there is some steak under all the sizzle this time around. Especially after talking to some of the entrepreneurs in the demo hall across from the main conference. There’s some very interesting efforts underway in our space.

Stay tuned. Some of the crazy ideas I presented may be closer to reality than even I expected.

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Lots of talk around the room about Zillow and lots of talk about Trulia however, was strangely absent from most conversations. It sure seems like they are stuck in a bit of a tough spot.

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Howard Tager from TigerLead/Move is a force of nature. Someone needs to bottle up all that energy and sell it. He claims he’ll sell his next company for $50M – and I don’t doubt it.

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Pocket listings and dual-agency are topics that still ignite a ton of passion among Realtors. But I’m not sure we’ll see an end to either of these debates any time soon.

Couple that with my observation that few in the room seemed to have much love, or respect, for their MLS anymore and I think what we’re all staring at today is a pretty significant structural weakness in the real estate value chain.

Others have written much more intelligently than I on what all of this could mean. But the cracks are definitely there and pretty glaring when you see them in person.

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Not so sure about “celebrity realtors”. ‘Nuff said.

[Disclosure: Move, Inc./ is a client of 1000WATT]