“What the average homebuyer can do now in the palm of his or her hand was unthinkable just a few years ago,” said Brian Boero, partner and co-founder of real estate marketing, design and consulting firm 1000watt. “It’s an exciting new world.”
As a keynote speaker at Real Estate Connect New York City, Boero will speak about how the widespread adoption of Internet-enabled mobile devices and the integration of digital technology into seemingly every aspect of our lives should inform the strategic decisions of real estate companies. Real Estate Connect runs Jan. 16-18 at the Grand Hyatt New York.
Boero has had the opportunity to examine the business practices of many real estate companies firsthand. The biggest mistake made by many is not putting enough emphasis on unifying their brand’s presence in the digital realm, where many consumers now encounter it in intimate, new and compelling ways.
Focusing on the digital side of business is not about being pretty, Boero said, but about doing things that have a measurable impact on the bottom line. First of all, it’s important for businesses to ask themselves, “What kind of experience do we want to create for our consumers?”
They should integrate their answer across all points — especially the digital ones — where the company touches consumers, Boero said.
And, he stressed, it’s important for companies to make sure their websites are solid before focusing on other arenas, like app development. For example, websites should include responsive design, where Web pages automatically resize to best fit the size of the browser screen or device that’s accessing it.
Boero, who has a master’s degree in political science, got into real estate by happenstance. In the mid-90s, he was working in the California Legislature at the state capitol in Sacramento when he met a Los Angeles Times reporter by the name of Bradley Inman.
In 1997, Boero recalls, Inman convinced him to come to the San Francisco Bay Area to help him run Inman News. Within a couple of years Boero was president of the organization. In 2004, he left Inman News to run real estate software company VREO Inc. as CEO, before co-founding 1000watt in 2007.
At 1000watt, Boero is focused on providing guidance to real estate companies like Realtor.com operator Move Inc., Lisle, Ill.-based multiple listing service Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS), and neighborhood information provider StreetAdvisor.
Brian Boero’s weekly “Friday Flash” blog at 1000watt, published most Fridays, provides a quick-hit, smart take on the notable real estate events that occur during the week. “The foreclosure play, Jay-Z and RIN Redux,” “RPR ecstasy, beautiful servers, and a second look at Facebook ads,” and “Emotional titillation, Realogy’s Roadshow, and a trivial pursuit” are a few recent titles showcasing Boero’s knowledge.
Boero, 1000watt co-founder Marc Davison, and 1000watt partner Joel Burslem have published a book of their selected writings from the firm’s first four years.
Mobile is clearly today, Boero said. And he has a hunch that tomorrow’s technology will have something to do with what he calls “people doing insane (things) on the Web,” like renting out a stranger’s apartment (AirBnB), having a stranger pick up your laundry (TaskRabbit), or hitching rides from people you don’t know (Lyft).
As the traditional barriers between people erode, transactional relationships increase, driven by the fact that smartphones and tablets, so widespread now, facilitate payments, location, directions and loads of other actions that make conducting business on the fly much easier.
This trend could increase the number of real estate transactions between strangers, he said. While the percentage of for-sale-by-owner home sales haven’t increased in recent years, Boero thinks it’s something to keep an eye on.
Outside of real estate, on most fall weekends Boero has his eyes on ducks he’s hunting from San Pablo Bay near San Francisco. But time away doesn’t preclude getting work done.
“I’ve been known to take conference calls from the duck pond,” he said.