My posts have been sporadic and far between of late. First, I came down with a bad case of December. Then, as is so often the case, January followed, which to me signals a trip to the arctic East Coast to attend the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference.
Much like the home cooked meal at our house, Inman Connect comes twice a year, and I have given up trying to find the logic behind holding the summer conference in San Francisco and the winter installment in New York City. Oh, I know layering is the answer, but being a California sissy-girl with a two-degree temperature span, I again found myself staggering around Time Square casting a silhouette which could easily have been mistaken for that of a Sumo wrestler — or the USS Midway — and am still cold to the bone. Such is the price we pay for all that learnin’. And learn, we did.
I am not a conference goer by nature — these are the only conferences, in fact, I attend all year — but the Inman events have become a staple. It’s typically and affectionately referred to as a technology conference, but that just scratches the surface. What it really represents is three exhausting days of information overload (four if you attend the pre-conference REBarCamp, an “unconference” in which the content is presented informally and often on the fly by the attendees).
Linear thinkers probably have a hard time avoiding implosion during the event. One minute you are hearing from industry thought leaders on the future of the brokerage model, then you find yourself getting an earful on the most innovative new web sites and web tools. Just when you are trying to get your head around Bob Shiller’s housing market and global economic predictions (yes, that Bob Shiller), Craig Newmark is waxing philosophical about, well, just about everything (yes, that Craig Newmark). Ways for agents to retool and for brokerages to retool, how to skin the social networking cat, subjects ranging from business fundamentals to big-picture conceptual — It’s all laid out in one glorious, overwhelming information buffet. If you enjoy order in your life, along with the little things like eating and sleeping, Inman Connect is not for you. But I am proud to say that I successfully demonstrated that life can be sustained on buckets of strong coffee, one (take-out) meal a day, and four hour’s of sleep each night — all in a time zone which is just wrong.
For me, the whole point is to learn ways to bring more value to our business and ultimately our clients, and I am never disappointed.
My head is reeling with four day’s worth of material yearning to be set free and, in drip-delivery fashion, I will be sharing the highlights over the next week or two. But, for now, I am focusing on reacclimating. Steve did an admirable job of holding down the fort in my absence, yet I have some catch-up to do. When I resurface from my post-trip get-my-act-together melodrama, I might have to start with the highlight of the trip — the after-hours “networking” event (OK, it was a party and, yes, I crashed it) at the Google offices. You can’t spend this much time with the geeky kids without having a little geek rub off, and I couldn’t have been more awestruck if I had been enjoying a cocktail in the White House Blue Room. It was the first party I have ever attended where I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement just to get through the door and where security guards had to escort me to the ladies’ room. How cool is that?
Now, I’m off to show homes to a couple looking to make their first purchase. That’s pretty cool too.