Today, we reinvent our company. Again!
As a serial entrepreneur, I have been around for many extraordinarily challenging market cycles as well as every imaginable crisis, many of my own making. And yet, the pandemic was the toughest period I have ever personally lived through. And while we as a society are clearly making progress, we are still fighting through it and have a long way to go.
The human toll caused by the pandemic was heartbreaking, especially living in the New York/New Jersey area. And the economic toll, the speed and severity of it, simply took my breath away. As someone who always worked a crazy amount of hours, this was something even a hardened veteran like myself had to find an entirely new source of mental and physical strength to help me persevere.
I am an entrepreneur. And for those of us who are, it’s hard to explain why we do what we do. For me, if I wanted an easy paycheck I wouldn’t be doing this. I would have stayed the course in my previous career in PR where after 25 years of hard work and sacrifice, I had finally built the company to be on autopilot. But for me, it's all about the “hard thing about hard things.” It's all about pushing my own boundaries harder and in areas that I fear the most. Therein lies the growth for me personally. But it’s often a hard, lonely and mistake-ridden path.
While our business at CREtech and FUTURE PropTech were growing incredibly fast, we, too, took a direct hit from the pandemic. For us, while our revenue was aggressively growing every year (with January 2020 being the best month in our company history), everything came to a screeching halt in March. And now, the team and I are in full-on rebuilding mode. Again, we weren't alone so no tears for me please.
But in this fog of war, where many of us were/are fighting for survival, there are also truly inspiring stories of business warriors who are reinventing their companies, their processes and their products. I have been blessed to work closely with many of them in our particular space and that is what truly inspires me and motivates me daily. And my team has done the same. Making hard choices. Pivoting into new areas. Acting quickly and decisively.
I draw so much inspiration from far more successful people than myself, who started businesses during recessions and even economic depressions. The crazy ones. The dreamers. The ones that saw the fork in the road and took the unknown path. So many of the businesses that are thriving today, the Slack’s, the Shopify’s, the Zoom’s, the DoorDash’s, even the great Amazon were once thought to be so against the grain that they were ridiculed. And guess who’s laughing now!
So now I find myself at yet another crossroad. I remember when I started my PR agency in 1989. A few will remember but most were still in elementary school or not even born yet :) It was in the midst of the S&L crisis and starting a business was an insane idea for anyone, let alone a young kid in his 20’s and a college failure, nonetheless. And after a few years of frustrations and misses, I found my niche and my business finally scaled.
“Deja vu all over again” as the great late Yogi Berra famously said.
I am thrilled to be starting an entirely new business line at CREtech and FUTURE PropTech. Crazy? Probably. Reinvesting at a time when my core business of conferences is experiencing significant challenges? I guess one could correctly assume that. But do I see the opportunity and am I willing to bet the farm on it? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY!
And what’s that new business line?
One of the things I was painfully aware of as we were building our global real estate tech community was that while capital was flowing and the number of startups proliferating, adoption was still very slow. The real estate industry simply had no motivation or sense of urgency to adopt an innovative mindset. And business was good. And life was good. So why would real estate companies bother taking a chance on technology? I get it. Yes of course a few were motivated by a desire to be better, to operate more efficiently and to experiment with new models, but for the most part, the industry at large simply wasn't.
In late 2019, I remember being alone for a few minutes at the end of our hugely successful Brooklyn, NY event (which was our biggest crowd ever... over 2,000 in attendance) and thinking that there was something missing. Even at that moment when most would be celebrating, I was searching. I just couldn't put my finger on it but something felt amiss.
After the event and tequila buzz wore off, I realized what it was. It was that I knew deep inside there was more I had to do. More out there. Adoption. That was the missing piece. So I started thinking about how I could affect more meaningful change in real estate, as that was always my core mission. To change the largest industry on earth. For the better.
Consulting was what I finally arrived at. I would help real estate companies vet, adopt and embrace technology and innovation.
Then when the pandemic hit, I knew it was time to go all in on this idea.
And so today, we officially launch this practice area within CREtech and FUTURE PropTech.
It will be unlike any other consulting practice in our space. With so many talented, experienced professionals out there, our initial model is to tap into an extraordinary network of professionals who are able to lend their talents to our clients. This endeavor includes many current consultants and some that are coming into the practice for the first time, but all of whom have enjoyed stellar careers in our industry. Whether it’s product recommendations or building products, custom research or education, we have worked extremely hard to carefully curate the best minds, people and talent in our industry to help real estate companies and startups fulfill their tech objectives in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.
Think of us as CAA representing the best talent in the industry. Our list of expert consultants is global and will no doubt expand as we attract more professionals to join our consortium.
I couldn't be more excited about a new service line than this CREtech Global Consulting Practice. And I am also incredibly grateful to our new Advisory Board formed just for this practice for their incredible support and expert counsel.
Yes indeed this new launch feels counterintuitive in a time when many are recommending that small businesses hunker down, hoard cash and wait out the storm. But then again, I have been here before and feel once again that taking the path less traveled is the only direction for me and my company.
I hope you will give us a look. If you have interest in either joining our roster of incredible consultants or want to chat about what we may be able to do for your business, simply reply to this email.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” - Robert Frost