CRETech/PropTech RIP (Part 2)
Don't worry, CREtech isn’t going anywhere nor is our industry :) In fact, I have no doubt that my company and our industry as a whole will emerge from this pandemic stronger, wiser and positioned for an entirely new era of innovation in the real estate industry.
Thanks to everyone who commented and gave me feedback on my recent blog. It was truly amazing to witness the outpouring of support and high level of encouragement I am seeing from our community. Perhaps it’s because everyone has more time on their hands ? but don't think I have ever received so many comments on something that I wrote. And I have also been so touched to see how so many in our industry are helping those who need the assistance during this global pandemic. Bravo real estate tech sector!
And now, onto my new blog.
As a continuation of the themes I wrote about in my most recent blog, this one will touch on a sensitive topic that may cause some in our community to question if I have lost my mind (and they probably wouldn’t be wrong to assume this given these times we are living in).
It’s something I have actually been thinking of for a while, pre-pandemic. And given how much everything has changed in our sector so quickly, I am now certain of this...
It’s time we said goodbye to the term CRETech and PropTech (and perhaps soon to Built World, although, I have less of an issue with that one)!
To be honest, I always had a hard time when people would ask me the difference between the two terms and what each actually meant. I would get that question literally every day. In Europe it was mostly PropTech. In the U.S. we always used CRETech as we were much more focused on the entire commercial sector and “Prop” seemed limiting. “CRE” could mean data, transactional platforms, FinTech solutions, etc. while “Prop” seemed much more about the physical nature of the industry. And “Prop” also felt very residential when we were more office, multifamily, logistics, etc.
Then I started to see more and more professionals using terms like “Built World” as an attempt to see the entire sector through the lens of the built environment in which we all live, work, shop and travel. Makes sense but also just added to the noise and confusion that already existed in defining our sector.
So last year, I started thinking there has to be something bigger than what we are all struggling to describe. Why is FinTech so universally adopted and yet we have so many disparate terms? Why is BioTech so universally understood?
Let me be clear and direct, those of us in the position of trying to control the narrative are the ones inevitably screwing up the narrative.. So as always, I accept the blame. After all, I do own two companies... one called CREtech and the other FUTURE PropTech :) Guilty as charged, as always!!!!!!
And this was my thinking PRE-PANDEMIC!
Now the world has been turned upside-down. The future of work, in my opinion, will never be the same. Companies simply are not going to send their employees back to the same workplace environment. No way. This pandemic has so fundamentally changed the psyche of the workplace that the fear of who is in the office, where they came from and how the professionals in an office interface with one another is simply not going back to the way it was before. And much good can also come of it as distributed work, flex time and innovation will be embraced like never before in the history of the workplace.
For our world (which is obviously focused on real estate as I outlined in my last blog), this industry is now going to transform in more profound ways than I have seen in my lifetime. We will transform in two primary ways:
- Real estate owners, brokers, asset managers, mortgage/finance companies etc., will need to finally have the sense of urgency we have been waiting for to invest in their own internal tech infrastructure. They will need to be able to do as much of their business using all of the digital tools that are in the marketplace and, unfortunately, do more with less people and put greater focus on their company's bottom line as every real estate company is going to see their financials squeezed.
- The actual physical world of real estate will need to be transformed to meet the new realities of our times. The way people live and work, where and how they shop and travel, where and how they get their food, how they bank, etc. will never be the same again. From the way space is utilized by corporations (open floor plans really?) to how they access, operate and control their living spaces — the physical world will be transformed in ways never seen in my lifetime. And, perhaps even the great city migration we have been witnessing over the past few years will also be reversed as more people work remotely and in less dense environments.
And if you think I am overreacting, forget my babble and listen to what Bill Gates has been saying for a while.
Given the magnitude of change that's in front of us, and the true excitement of the opportunities to rethink everything and how tech and the real estate world will now truly converge like never before, our new company branding is going to be much more aspirational and inclusive, and much less specific, categorized and pigeonholed...
“Reimagining Real Estate”
This is a big vision for the largest industry on earth, I know. But it's OUR opportunity as a community, an industry and as professionals to drive innovation and change this massive industry for the good!
Let’s not think of ourselves as a category. Let’s no longer define ourselves so narrowly. Every real estate company must make innovation part of their DNA or they simply won't survive the extraordinary changes taking place in the world today.
To quote that amazing Chiat Day ad for Apple, it's time for us to all “Think Different.”
So, what business am I in?
“I am in the business of reimagining real estate.”
Where do I work?
In capital markets.
We are ALL innovating.
CREtech is Reimagining Real Estate. We are the largest international community of professionals devoted to technological innovation in the real estate sector. Our mission is to help the industry embrace, adopt and future proof their businesses. CREtech’s intelligence and event platform inspires the next generation of ideas, processes and people to champion the world's largest asset class.
In the coming weeks you will see a series of announcements on some exciting new product and service lines from CREtech that will help the real estate industry “reimagine” itself.
P.S. Yes of course, my company name will remain CREtech but that's just our name and not the industry we work in. And we are also CREtech with a “little t”, just saying.