Brief overview of the event…
- Jim Reppond, a Residential Real Estate Agent of Coldwell Banker Bain
- Nikesh Parekh, VP of Corporate Development of HouseValues
- David Eraker, Founder of Redfin
- Spencer Rascoff, CFO of Zillow and a blogger
- Gordon Stephenson, Managing Broker with Real Property Associates
Jim did an excellent job leading the discussion. I didn’t take notes, but in general the questions were all pretty predictable and the answers were spot on… With an exception of a “woman-related” comment by Nikesh, no one made any major gaffs, and there were no real surprises… But that is not to say the event wasn’t informative…
My initial reaction is that the four panelists did a wonderful job and all represented their companies well. I’d even be willing to go further to say that they personified their respective companies. As in:
Nikesh had a hard time sounding real and often ended up sounding like he was recording an infomercial, which is (for better of worse) my picture of HouseValues.
David made some great points, but came off at times like he hadn’t completely thought through his business model. I wish Jim had pushed him to answer the question: What if a listing agent refuses to show one of your buyers a property? Or better yet, what happens when that listing agent who DOES show a Redfin buyer a property and then sues Redfin claiming they were the procuring cause of the sale. Talking about this issue, I wish someone had pushed either Gordon or Jim to answer if they would knowingly show one of their listings to a buyer who openly said they were going to use Redfin. Agents out there: Would you?
Spencer played the role of beta tech guy. He obviously understands the real estate industry and no one really forced him on any issues so he kept from saying too much of interest (like: What comes next?).
Gordon played the role of
elder experienced broker really well. He obviously knows the industry inside-and-out, and considering his interest in technology (he is also a Director at Zillow), he came off as someone willing to explore new business models.
If you were there, what was your take on the MIT Forum? Did you learn anything new?
Niki from HouseValues has a collection of interesting reflections on the forum…
Spencer added his thoughts on the MIT forum (and a few other conferences he’s been to recently) on the Zillow Blog.