It was one of those mornings that just felt different. For those of the 235 industry thought leaders who would be participating in the 2014 T3 conference and who were lucky enough to already be at the J.W. Marriott Resort in Las Vegas, one could feel the excitement. The sun seemed to come up earlier, the golfers rushed to conquer their morning rounds, and throughout the property, there was tension in the air. Tonight was the night. It would be one of those rare occasions where what went on in Vegas would not stay in Vegas, but rather would be heard around the residential real estate world. It was a T3 kind of morning.
T3 is the brainchild and personal achievement of Stefan Swanepoel, the noted industry visionary, New York Times Best Selling author, publisher of the annual Swanepoel Industry Trends Report and, most recently, creator of the already influential Swanepoel Power200 publication that chronicles, by position, the 200 most powerful individuals in the residential real estate industry. Those who have read Swanepoel’s writings and publications understand that he doesn’t mass produce them. Each is custom-built by hand in his studio overlooking the unique environs of Southern California. T3 is not a conference, a meeting or even a seminar. It is a work of communications art created to deliver a unique, stimulating, enlightening and, yes, learning experience.
T3 addresses, indeed intimately explores, through a fully integrated and interactive program, the issues that are powering the residential real estate industry. Perfectly orchestrated by Swanepoel’s compelling and intense leadership style, more than 40 highly ranked industry executives and leaders will share their perspectives, reactions and plans for the future of this vital industry. Some will provide that touch of history that makes today’s events relevant. Others will share their company’s current course and yet others will contribute to the event’s ultimate objective, a collective vision of the industry’s immediate tomorrow.
The centerpiece of the T3 experience is Swanepoel’s keynote address. It is this glimpse into the convergence of current trends that sets the relevance and tone for the overall event. This author was honored to receive an advanced briefing regarding this year’s amazing keynote. There is no doubt that this year’s attendees will once again be required to revise and reimagine the reality of their journey forward.
The keynote examines the growing avalanche of life and business related data that has already changed the very landscape of the real estate marketplace and transaction. It explores the convergence between the availability of this data and the ubiquitous device known as the “smart phone.” In today’s world, more than 80 percent of cell phones (AKA connected devices) are smart phones, and in 2014, it is estimated that more than one billion newer and even more sophisticated units will be sold to individuals across the globe. In civic generation terms, this means that several billion people across the world currently have a fully functional high-speed desktop computer in their pockets, on their belts or in their purses and packs.
The keynote considers the emerging challenge of “intelligent consumption.” How does one decide how to dip their consciousness into the torrent of information in a manner that will make it useful rather than intimidating, profitable rather than overwhelming?
The industry’s current love affair with “Big Data” will be dispelled by the fact that the significant compromise necessarily required by its adoption is not only not necessary but actually leads to the misconception that data attacks the remaining shreds of privacy as it is understood by much of our current culture. The reality is that we have the technology to incorporate “small data” which is a far more respectful and responsive solution. Through small data, our environment will be able to be more creative and innovative as it advocates and supports efforts to promote individualism. Welcome to the world of a category for everyone.
From this perspective the presentation suggests that our world will move to the benefits of “crowd-shaping,” the ability and desire to provide a meaningful life experience for individuals within their own unique and individual space.
The presentation visits the potential downsides of society’s current rush to universal data. It points out that we are not really victims of this new order, but rather willing participants who have grown increasingly addicted to its benefits and highs. It is at this point that the keynote will examine the downsides of current trends. In our culture’s rush to experience the potentials and increased functionality of information-infused existence, society has neglected to install both gatekeepers and guardians, a flaw that will ultimately be catastrophic but survivable. Most vulnerable of these oversights will be social media.
But the focus of this presentation is on the positives and the potentials of these movements. It will suggest that moving forward both business and personal success will depend on an entities’ ability to integrate, incorporate and mitigate the impacts and benefits of these new data, connectivity and collective realities while at the same time working to mitigate their shortcomings.
The keynote concludes with a discussion regarding the nature of the individuals who will be required to innovate and manage within the constantly changing personal and business environment created by these trends and convergences. This, after all, seems to be Swanepoel’s promise. His readers, his subjects and his attendees always emerge from their experience more connected, more sensitive and more prepared to realize that which can be harvested from this amazing new world.
It is a T3 morning here in Las Vegas, and for those lucky enough to attend the T3 Summit, it will have been a life-changing experience. We are most fortunate that our industry and its leaders have the foresight and courage to embrace and explore this journey to tomorrow.