National Association of Realtors Chief Technology Officer Mark Lesswing: “Prepare for the Shift in Technology”

Technology Conferences are normally akin to following a chess tournament or watching the paint dry on your back fence: the action can be slow. Not Friday! I attended the Business Development and Technology Faire sponsored by Alameda, Oakland, Bay East, Berkeley, West Contra Costa, and Contra Costa Counties Association of Realtors at the Oakland Airport Hilton Hotel. I was very pleasantly surprise.

The action was a non-stop mixture of seminar speakers, trade show demonstrations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. Add to this, a world class hot buffet and tons of free give away gadgets and you have a very successful event.

Another wonderful surprise was the rock star like recognition, my friend, Pat Kitano received. His blog was a prominent topic of discussion amongst attendees. This was icing on the cake for Kitano; earlier in the week the Boston Globe contacted Pat requesting his contribution to an article on technology.

The most influential and important segment of this event was Mark Lesswing’s speech. Mark is a Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the National Association of Realtors. Mark’s presentation was informative, user friendly, and presented from the viewpoint of the Realtor. I introduced myself to Mark prior to his speech; he is a very affable guy more than willing to share information. The subject matter included the following important issues:

*Net Neutrality: An issue where the government treats bandwidth like a commodity; simply put established companies already on the internet would not suffer a slow down in their site’s web traffic speed of movement. On the other hand, any new companies launching a web site would experience much slower web traffic capabilities. Mark is a proponent of “treating all traffic equally.”

*Patent Reform: Mark believes that “Software is Art” and as art it should be “open source” and copyright as a rule. Consequently, these restrictions, litigation concerns, would be restricting invention and innovation at the most basic level. One example of the dangers of patent abuse is an ongoing case; in this case a tech company is suing a mapping company over “licensing” usage rights. The case remains unresolved with attorney’s fees having exceeded the 7 figure plateau!

The most important piece to Mark’s presentation was his message to Realtors: “Prepare for a Shift in Technology.”

*Technology is not new nor difficult ie “It’s not Rocket Science.”

*Realtors must have a Vision for the future. They must understand a technology first before implementation. Do not implement technologies for the sake of “keeping up with the Jones.”

*Embrace change; it is coming so be prepared through education.

Other major networking partners I met at this event include:

Mark Flavin Director of Information Technology for Bay East Association of Realtors; Kym Hough considered a founding pioneer of the Staging business and owner of Staged to Sell; First American’s Linda Moss and Eric Barnes; ANG Newspaper’s Dan Nelson; Charlie Krackeler Television host and seminar business owner; Kathleen Barnett of Gallagher & Lindsey Inc.; Dania Alvarez Harbor Bay Realty; Kurt Schultz Lamorinda Funding Group; and Copney Toler District Sales Manager JCP Property Disclosure Reports.