In this interview series, our CEO Donald Davidoff sits down with key industry leaders and disruptors to tell the stories of the people behind the performance. Today, we’re joined by Michael Beckerman, the CEO of CREtech, the largest global consulting, media, and conference company devoted to technological innovation in the real estate sector.
Join us for a transparent look at what Michael believes is driving the real estate industry’s success, the role data plays in it, and his unique insights on sustainability and affordable housing below.
1. As you think about the state of the industry today, what's on your mind?
Hmmm. Great question. When not overwhelmed with the amount of funding announcements, new product launches, new integration announcements, and big hires, I spend my deep thinking moments thinking about a couple of things. The first is the emergence of new classes of real estate companies that are using technology as the backbone of the company. Many in the Single-Family Rental space and others in the property management niche. It’s a fascinating evolution of the PropTech sector creating these hybrid tech/real estate companies.
Another big trend is obviously in construction tech where the sector is attracting huge amounts of Venture dollars today and could be as big as PropTech at some point in the future given how much waste and inefficiencies are in that industry.
Lastly, on the trend side of the sector, for sure we will see continued mergers and acquisitions in the space as there are simply too many siloed solutions on the market for the end-users to be able to adopt and integrate within their companies.
For me, the two most important areas of focus are sustainability and affordable housing. The real estate industry must do a better job addressing these issues - Technology is what can lead to great progress in dealing with the climate crisis and the tremendous shortage of affordable housing. And I plan to use our large audience to galvanize the industry to take the lead in creating, investing, and adopting the technology tools to make an impact with a great sense of urgency.
2. How did you become CRE tech’s biggest cheerleader? Where did the passion originate?
I have spent my entire career in commercial real estate, it’s an industry I am deeply committed to and one that I genuinely love. But while it's the largest industry on earth measured by global GDP, it also invests the least in technology. As someone who is drawn to the 'blank canvas’ in life, I thought “why not me” and set out to support building a PropTech global ecosystem. With the help of thousands upon thousands of others, I am confident we have done just that!
3. What do you believe that many others would disagree with?
I can’t say it or I will get fired :)
4. What does data-driven decision-making mean to you?
It means having information in real-time to predict the future.
5. You’ve said you would rather be “challenged and climb, than chill and sail” – how do you apply that to your every day?
I try to be the same person in my professional and personal life and see them as one, in that if you aren't authentic in one, you're really not being authentic to yourself. And so for me, I truly love learning from people and I do that all day every day. I also try to push my own boundaries in areas that I have little experience in. The result is that every day is new for me and extremely challenging. ‘Discovery’ is one of the philosophies I embrace the most.
6. In 4 CRE Sustainability Predictions for 2022 you’re quoted as saying “The climate crisis poses the single greatest threat, and opportunity, that has ever confronted the real estate industry.” Can you add some color to this dual qualifier (threat & opportunity)?
The real estate industry is responsible for 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector. As a result, the entire world is converging on the industry to force it to decarbonize. Tenants, residents, lenders, underwriters, employees, and governments across the world are now placing ESG at the top of their list for where they will locate. So the real estate industry has the opportunity to lead the world in the Race To Net Zero or face dire consequences for not doing so. The good news is that there are many tech solutions that can make a measurable impact in reducing emissions immediately.
7. How can an industry supplier/vendor (without physical assets) support & impact the Climate Crisis Challenge?
Just talking about and helping raise awareness is huge. We need all the help we can get. There are a lot of great webinars and events going on all over the world on the climate crisis so it’s also very important to continue to get educated on the topic wherever you can.
8. What role can data play to help the CRE industry from a sustainability, innovation, and investment perspective?
”If you can't measure it, it doesn’t exist.” That’s especially true in the climate crisis. It’s all about the data to measure, manage, report, and hopefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Nothing more important than data in this existential crisis.
9. Congratulations on the launch of CREtech Affordable Housing. What are your main motivations/goals for leading this charge?
Similar to climate, I am driven to make massive change in the real estate industry. First, it’s on getting technology invested in and adopted by the industry. And while that sector is thriving, my attention is now on how we can use technology to tackle bigger societal issues in the Built World like the climate crisis and, most recently, affordable housing. I am committed to being a catalyst for change and tackling the really hard things confronting the real estate industry - “Why not me?”.
10. What is one thing everyone in CRE should start doing today to impact the Built World?
Attend a CREtech.com conference :)
Thanks for great insights, Michael. Our team can vouch for the value of attending a CREtech conference, having just gotten back from San Diego & learning from all the expert attendees and speakers. Hopefully, we'll see more and more real estate leaders in London in April!
About Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman is the CEO of CREtech, the largest global consulting, media, and conference company devoted to technological innovation in the real estate sector. CREtech’s mission is to help the industry embrace, adopt and future-proof their businesses to inspire the next generation of ideas, processes, and people to champion the world's largest asset class. Beckerman also leads CREtech's newest initiative, CREtech Climate, which is the “voice” of the real estate industry’s commitment to climate tech. CREtech Climate aims to galvanize the real estate industry to reduce its carbon footprint throughout the entire Built World.
Beckerman previously spent 25 years in the public relations industry having built Beckerman Public Relations into the largest firm in the industry specializing in commercial real estate.