REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles 2017: Collins, Murray, Rascoff

Giveback Homes Co-Founder Caroline Pinal traveled to Denver, CO for the 2017 REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles. Check out her key takeaways from the conference below. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Each year Real Trends brings together real estate’s change makers and thought leaders together in Denver for the Gathering of Eagles event. This year was the 30th year of the conference. I’ve heard about it for years from my friends in the real estate industry and I was honored to be able to attend and learn from the brightest minds in real estate and beyond.


Here are my biggest takeaways:

Work is infinite, time is finite.

Jim Collins, consultant and author of several best-selling business books, asked the room: “by show of hands, how many of you have a to-do list?” and nearly every hand was raised. He next asked: “how many of you have a stop-doing list?” and not a single hand went up.  This was the last of Jim’s 12 questions from “Good to Great” and he implored us to create a list of things we want to stop doing. Collins shared one on his list, to stop creating unnecessary fire drills for his team. He admitted he can be a bit neurotic at times with knee-jerk emails that cause fire-drills for his team. He also warned against overloading your to-do list, the bottom line, he said:  “if you have more than 3 priorities, you have no priorities.” …. What would you put on your stop doing list?


Paranoia Can Be Productive

In Collins’ research detailed in his book, Great By Choice, he discovered the ability to ask the dreaded “what if” questions can help people prep for the most unpredictable, chaotic and uncertain environments. This point made me feel better about all of my paranoia as I worry about how to grow our company and do more social good. In the Q&A between Steve Murray and Jim Collins, they asked: “what happens to the real estate industry if we lose a generation of homebuyers?” referring to the challenges millennials face with home ownership. Currently the homeownership rate is at 63%, without millennials, Murray predicts with prices getting further out of reach, that percentage could drop below 50% or more…  While this can be scary, asking these questions now will help the real estate iterate on ways to bring millennials toward homeownership. What’s the biggest threat facing your business? 


Customer-Friendly Business Models for the Win

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, joined Steve Murray on stage for an interview. The interview focused on the future of real estate including the use of augmented reality in real estate. Rascoff spends most of his time communicating with Zillow’s over  3,000 employees across the country which gives him an insight into what they see in real estate. For Rascoff, the consumer is always first and he is focused on building customer-friendly business models that keep consumers engaged and provide value for real estate agents. “We’ve come a long way in terms of industry acceptance,” says Rascoff, while answering a question from the audience, “Zillow’s business model is betting on the continued existence of real estate agents.” While I’m not a real estate agent or broker and I may not understand these controversial questions that seem to follow Zillow around, my gut tells me if I were an agent or broker, that Zillow would be my best friend. “Zillow is leveling the playing field with information transparency between the practitioner and the consumer,” says Rascoff, “and agents have gotten good at winning business because of it.” Rascoff’s messaging was consistent, Zillow will continue to give consumers more unbiased access to information and has seen incredible growth. I was also thrilled to learn that Zillow is currently working on a social impact program and expects there to be a component that provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for their industry partners. What are your customers looking for most, how can you make it easier for them to get it? 


Thank you to the Real Trends team for this opportunity. It was inspiring to be in a room full of industry leaders who are focused on innovation and are so willing to share their knowledge to elevate the future of real estate.

- Caroline Pinal


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