Self-Driving Cars – My #1 Takeaway from Last Week’s Real Estate Investor Summit

This blog post features a webinar – click here to go straight to the recording

Once again, Black River Technologies sponsored another Family Offices event, the Real Estate Investor Summit last week in Miami, Florida. The conference featured 25+ speakers discussing how they buy real estate, what they look for in a real estate investment, the deal structures that they prefer, and how they view the market going forward. Compared to the annual Family Office Super Summit held in December, this summit was a smaller group of people. I personally prefer attending the smaller events as it allows for a little more downtime at the our booth, which means I have the opportunity to sit in on a few of the sessions.

Each speaker I was able to listen to provided very valuable insights into the topics they spoke about. There was however one speaker in particular in the afternoon session – Panel Discussion: Working Together: Setting Up Co-Investments and Partnering with Other Real Estate Investors – that had some insights that really stuck a chord with me, and ended up being my top takeaway from the event.

The general theme that seemed to continually arise among all panelists was how important it is to plan for the future. One panelist mentioned self-driving cars and the inevitable impact they will have on the future of real estate. I originally thought, “How in the world can real estate and self-driving cars be related?”, but the panelist made some pretty fascinating comparisons.

Basically he said that self-driving cars will make much of today’s world obsolete; for example, parking garages/lots located right outside your local shopping malls. Because our automobiles of the future will be able to drive themselves, there won’t be a need for us to have easy parking access in the places we go. You will simply be able to drive right up to the entrance, and tell your car to go park itself, which will likely be in some offsite parking lot. When you are ready to leave, you’ll request your car using some new app on your phone, and you’ll be picked up at whatever exit is the most convenient for you at the time.

This alone is one example of how the future will affect how real estate investors buy, and the concept discussed can be applied to almost any line of business, including my own, the accounting software profession. The pace of change in today’s business is faster than it has ever been in the past, which makes it imperative for you as a stakeholder to stay on top of those changes, as they happen. Long gone are the days where it is acceptable for you to wait until your books have been closed at month end to be reviewing the same old income statement and balance sheet you have been looking at since you started the business. In order to keep up with the changes, you need to be analyzing trends on a daily basis, and what better way to do that than through an interactive dashboard, similar to the screenshot I have included below.

Dashboard functionality provides you and your stakeholders with up-to-the-minute access to both your financial and non-financial data, which in turn allows you to be nimble with your decision making on investment strategies. We recently held a webinar with an investment and hedge fund management firm – Trian Fund Management. Their controller, Len Weedman, spoke about how he has revolutionized the way his firm is tracking their investment techniques with state of the art dashboards. If you are interested in hearing what he had to say, please feel free grab a copy of the webinar here.

I think the all-encompassing theme of last week’s summit was to embrace change as it occurs in your organization, because change is what is going to drive your business forward. So in closing, I will leave you with a quote I recently read on LinkedIn. It truly stuck with me, and was one of those things that made me think long and hard about the future of our firm.

“If you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less”

KPI for Family Office Dashboard