What a year 2016 was for the CRE tech sector. So many amazing things to look back on and really be "wowed" by. But also, so many things to raise red flags over! It's all part of the normal business cycle, especially in a new industry like CRE tech. 2017 is destined to be another year of change, progress and defeats. Again, all normal stuff. There will be some winners and obviously some that throw in the towel.
For me personally, I try and always and focus on my own particular journey and leave the big macro thinking and analysis to other more qualified experts. And so, when I reflect
on the past year as it relates to my own site, thenewsfunnel.com, and the main lessons learned... it is my hope that others can relate to these thoughts in their own businesses.
Here are my main takeaways from 2016, which was my 5th full year in CRE tech:
1. The industry is starting to pay more attention to tech. No doubt, more and more real estate professionals are starting to become aware of the startup scene and adopt some of the technologies that are offered from the community.
2. It’s still so early. Just when I think that there is real traction, I am reminded how far we have to go to get complete adoption. Still, only a small percentage of professionals are actually using tech on a daily basis.
3. The era of playing nice in the sandbox is probably over. In the beginning, most didn’t give us startups much of a shot at all. Now that there is some momentum, I expect 2017 to get a little nasty in the "playground". Mergers, failures, lawsuits… there's probably gonna be a lot more of that in the year ahead as the strong get stronger and their is less room for everyone to get along. i.e. CoStar and Xceligent.
4. Simplicity is never easy. I know we are constantly in a battle to make our products and offerings as simple as possible. It’s a never ending challenge for most startups.
5. “Those not busy being born are busy dying”. One of my favorite quotes of all time, from the great philosopher Bob Dylan :) But i think that quote is not just about personal growth, but business growth as well. For me, understanding that you have to evolve your product and do more at the same time is a really important take away from 2016. Innovate or die! BAM! (boy, I just sounded like Duke Long!) And so our team is excited to make a big announcement hopefully in early 2017 about our own expansion plans.
So for me... 2016 was a year of growth, challenges and most importantly, constant lessons being learned.
My hope in the New Year is that my list of lessons learned in 2017 isn’t the same as it was in 2016!