Real Estate Connect

Unintended Consequences That Cause Spectacular Results

by Kevin Hawkins on August 19, 2015

I just returned, as some 3,000 other folks have, from attending Inman’s Real Estate Connect in San Francisco. For many of the industry leaders whom I spoke with, it was one of the most successful Connects that they have attended and certainly the busiest. I found myself squarely in the same camp. I discovered something incredibly special about what I think makes Inman Connect unique: It fosters the creation of what I call “unintended consequences that cause spectacular results.” I have a few great examples from this most recent Connect to illustrate what I mean. Origins of Real Estate Connect In the spring of 1997 I left Fannie Mae, most recently as Director of Housing Impact for its highly successful Seattle Partnership office that I had opened, and forged out on my own. When Brad Inman heard the news, he asked me to meet with him. I had worked with Brad since the mid-1980s. He was a friend and I was a fan of his business acumen. I immediately said yes, as I wanted to talk to him about my new company. So I brought my “team,” which at the time consisted of my wife, Kyanne, who handled the financial side of the business, and my father-in-law, Keith Willis, a skilled businessman and savvy investor, to a restaurant near the Hyatt in Bellevue, WA where we met with Brad. My intended objective was to strike a content deal with Inman News for the company I had created that was going to help real estate agents more easily stay in touch with their customers. Brad had another objective. He wanted me to help Inman News launch a brand new conference. It would be a greater manifestation of an experiment he had tried a year earlier at his “retreat” in Sonoma wine country along the Russian River. Brad had invited a group of tech industry startup CEOs and a group of traditional real estate business leaders together for a face-to-face meeting in a setting designed to foster conversation and relationships. He dubbed it, brilliantly, “Real Estate Connect.” The unintended consequence of our meeting with Brad was that I would agree the next day to help him launch his first full-blown Real Estate Connect conference at the San Francisco Hilton. At the time, I thought he was nuts, charging a $495 registration fee, which made it one of the most expensive real estate […]

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