Proptech Weekly #51 – A vacuum of leadership| Rayhan Rafiq-Omar
Yesterday Brandon Webber, the New York based founder of Hightower, took to a London stage to talk about his firm’s merger with VTS and his view of the future of innovation in the property industry.
What was obvious to everyone in the crowd is that the person speaking was knowledgeable about his customers and created products that were sought after.
Juliette Morgan of Cushman and Wakefield described the Hightower/VTS merger as the end game for Commercial property tech saying (and I paraphrase) that every commercial agent will need to use them.
Why does this matter?
Brandon was the follow up act to a panel of UK Proptech’s ‘rising stars’.
They were the best the UK had to offer. And they were awful.
What did the audience remember of this panel? They constantly moaned about the property industry being less than receptive of their products.
Beyond being embarrassing, it was an indication of how little progress technologists in the UK are making at the process of innovating. That’s probably because they are not innovating.
All sat on stage and gave a spiel about their products. There was little to remember about them or their products. The takeaway, suggested by Ross Bailey of Appear Here and echoed by the others: “Property companies should hire CTOs who are empowered to make decisions about technology within their organisations.”
What he meant to say is: Make it easier and quicker for me to sell to your company. I don’t think he used the word please.
This ‘vacuum of leadership’ isn’t just within the proptech space – the property panel that followed was worse.
Save Juliette Morgan, the panel was so uninspiring that half the audience disappeared. No word of a lie, yesterday’s event was the Brandon Webber show. He was the one person on stage that everyone wanted to meet afterwards. A bonafide property tech superstar.
So who are the superstars or potentials in the UK? We do have hope, and oddly many of these influential people were in the audience and inexplicably not on stage.
Here’s my list of influencers. If you want a no bulls*it steer on how to best approach technology, any of these people would be a great person to connect with:
Obviously you’re welcome to reach out to me, but my style is a little less diplomatic than those above. And genuinely they are all a lot more important than I am. Do yourself a favour, and talk to these influencers before you Tech your Prop.