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Thoughts on NAR’s iOi Summit

by Greg Robertson on September 4th, 2018

I had heard about this event a few months ago, and had been asked if I was going to attend. I was skeptical about it, but when I received an invitation to apply to participate in the “pitch battle”, I went ahead and applied. As I previously mentioned I was surprised that we were selected.

The event was designed by Bob Goldberg, NAR’s CEO to bring the disruptors “inside the tent”. To foster “innovation, opportunity & investment”. Basically Mr. Goldberg wanted NAR to be part of the conversation.

Color me impressed. Not only was the event very well produced, but I enjoyed meeting and seeing other vendors, some old (like me) and some new in the space. I loved vendors pitching agent safety apps, new CRMs, new front end of choice apps, 360 photo apps to help with disaster recovery efforts, real estate photo augmentation, using lockboxes help with in-home medical care, and a way to level up agent performance. What I found most impressive is none of these new startups seemed to be making money by selling ads. Bliss!

BoxBrownine won the “Pitch Battle”. And KW Labs won the Hackathon. You can read more about them here.

And true to his word, Mr. Goldberg did bring in a few heavy hitting investors to the conference too. Of course Mr. Goldberg couldn’t help himself in touting NAR’s own success in the investment arm of his organizations, Second Century Initiatives and REach. He interviewed Ron Hirson, Chief Product Officer from DocuSign. Which recently went public and made NAR a small fortune.

As Mr. Goldberg hit the stage to wrap up the conference, I was thinking about what was missing about the event. And then it hit me. Zillow. I heard nary a mention about Zillow from any of the presenters, or startups in attendance. Not from some sort of mandate, but just…because.

Which to me was the most impressive. Bob Goldberg did seemingly the impossible. He held a tech conference where nobody was talking about Zillow.

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