Confessions of an Inman Rookie

It’s the Tuesday of Inman Connect in San Francisco, I’ve come directly to the Hilton from SFO, and I’ve worked in real estate technology for all of ten minutes. Maybe it just feels that way.

It’s my seventh day and I’m at the most influential real estate conference in the U.S. - surrounded by the industry’s most successful agents, brokers, engineers, and executives - and I have no clue what anything means or who anyone is.

Thirty minutes into awkwardly patrolling the perimeter of the throng of people crowded around the lobby bar and I’ve had the following conversation ten times.

“Are you an agent or a broker?” Neither.

“What do you do?” I manage strategic customer relationships for a data company called Onboard Informatics.

“What do they do?” Uhhhh…..

I’ve spent my entire career working in sales and account management for cloud-based data and analytics applications, so I’m no slouch when it comes to helping my customers turn data into dollars. I am however a millennial living in Manhattan whose only exposure to the real estate industry has been moving nine times in the last ten years. So needless to say, I’m a little out of my element.

You have an IDX sending data to your site from an MLS? You’re a member of NAR so you have access to RPR? You want a CMA? AVM? FSBO? TWFSQA? Ok, I made that last one up, but you get the point. Every industry has their own language flush with acronyms that outsiders don’t understand.  

Deep breath - what DO I know?

I know that my customers are trying to attract, engage, and convert their target audience. Who is their audience? Young, eager, increasingly tech-savvy individuals and families who are trying to find a home. Our customers are struggling to humanize relationships that are increasingly digitized.

Our CEO, Marc Siden, likes to explain what we do using this anecdote: When he receives an email from his daughter’s second grade teacher, he opens it. When that teacher calls him, he answers. Every time. Why? Because that teacher has information that he cares about and that is meaningful.

That’s how we help our customers at Onboard. We make it easy for agents and brokers to connect with home-buyers in ways that are meaningful. That connection is powerful.   

Whether through AVMs or CMAs or your local MLS, we are all trying to accomplish the same thing: to foster human connection..

Remind yourself of that the next time you find yourself in the middle of a crowded room filled with people you don’t know, speaking a language you don’t understand.

At Onboard, we know how to help our customers make those connections and everything I’ve learned at Inman has gotten me very excited to be a part of it.