Please, please read this article!
There isn’t an industry on earth today that isn’t being impacted by technology. And the legal industry won’t be immune either. It’s only a matter of time before the commercial real estate industry gets fundamentally disrupted (hate that word) by technology as well. I have been saying this over and over and over again and it’s the reason why we acquired CRE // Tech as a way to help the real estate industry begin to embrace tech and not be threatened or challenged by it.
“Lead, follow or get out of the way!”
To date, the majority of tech sites that have launched in CRE tech have been tools that not only make data more digestible and actionable, but they also allow for open listings, create marketplaces for transactions to get done faster and more efficiently, offer tools for enhanced client communications and so much more. The changes technology has brought to the industry to date, however, have been subtle and nuanced. There are also some really great sites like Notarize, Raisal and Bowery that take parts of the business that were archaic and manual and made them incredibly efficient as a result of technology. Again, making the process work better.
So is there something coming that will one day replace the brokers? No one can really predict if and when it will ever happen. So much about this industry, the size of the transactions, the importance of human decision making and the complexity of a deal would lead you to think that the brokers will never be replaced.
But just look at other industries, particularly in FinTech, one of the sectors impacted the most by tech. Are the days of the stock broker over? Take a look at the headcount in financial services today vs. five years ago!!!??? Read these two articles for some further insights on job losses in various businesses...
Look at the success of companies like LiquidSpace, Ten-X and now Truss and while they work so well at enhancing the tenant/buyer/broker/landlord dynamic,I wonder how long it will be until someone comes up with the killer algorithm than can close a transaction from end to end without any people involved. Think about what would happen for instance if Amazon decided to add the buying and selling of a home to their platform. Or if Google decided to become an MLS. Do think they would stop at residential and not enter commercial?
I am blessed to be running the largest commercial real estate tech sites in the industry... CRE // Tech, Real Estate Tech News, The News Funnel and even my own blog. My amazing team has done an extraordinary job scaling these sites, especially since we acquired CRE // Tech from my good friend Pierce Neinken. In total we reach something like 15,000 professionals a day with all of our content focused solely on tech.
And yet, while I am incredibly proud of how fast we are growing as a platform, it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the size of the industry. Whether CRE is 100,000 or 300,000 is anyone’s guess. But to me, it’s still alarming how few people in the industry at large are paying attention to tech. It’s why I personally work so hard every day to try and reach more CRE professionals and turn them on to the amazing things happening in tech. And it’s also because I worry about friends and colleagues I know in the space that just might get blindsided by the changes that tech will bring and that they just don't see coming.
Not saying any of this is imminent, but I bet somewhere, somehow, someone is working on an application in CRE tech that will potentially eliminate a lot of jobs that people are doing today, it’s only a matter of time. And so my advice to anyone in the commercial real estate sector is... pay attention to tech, it could either make you much more successful or eliminate your job one day.
My hope obviously is that tech only brings more jobs, investment and opportunity. But most likely it will only do so for those that are embracing it NOW!