Constants in a Variable World

By Stephen L. Burger, CPM®, CRX, CSM

There seems to be so much chatter these days about disintermediation sites--websites that perform the services once got from live people--travel planning, for instance, or hotel bookings. Airbnb is just such a site, where people can share homes rather than booking at a hotel or even renting an apartment in the traditional way.

Such sites are making major inroads in all areas of commercial real estate--from brokerage to finance. And understandably, there’s no shortage of speculative hand-wringing among those of us who ply more traditional ways of doing business.

We at EBMC, however, are not of the hand-wringing ilk. Here’s why. First of all, as regular readers of this blog know, we are firm believers and professional practitioners of the art of personalized service. And, we believe there will always be a market for this. But more important, adaptation is key to survival. It’s as true in business as it is in any other jungle.

I like the comments made in a recent magazine article put out by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

In it, Geoff Kasselman, SIOR, states that if you don’t recognize the challenge built into all of these technological changes to our business, your only option is to experience them as a threat. What will catch people off guard, he believes, is “the speed and completeness of the change. Most people aren’t ready to acknowledge the exponential growth of computing power and the transformational convergence that it drives.”

In fact, he cites Moore’s Law, which states that, “since 1958, computing power has been doubling every 18 to 24 months and price performance has been doubling along with it, meaning prices are cut in half.” Projecting that forward, he says, “between now and 2020, with just two more iterations of Moore’s Law, everyone’s world will be turned upside down, irreversibly, and it’s beyond stopping.”

There should be no surprise there. Of those who reside in the threat camp, and those who see such new developments as Airbnb as an opportunity, we at EBMC rest comfortably in the latter grouping. And we are doing what most forward-thinking firms are doing in the face of the coming changes.We’re watching.

We see such advances as potential tools in our arsenal of capabilities. Granted, how exactly that plays out remains to be seen, whether that be through some revenue-sharing model or some other iteration. We’re watching and we’re learning how to adapt the new generation of services to the betterment of our company--which means service to our residents.

Steve Burger, President

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