July is almost upon us, and I’m excited. Why? Not only because it’s the month with the birth of both my mother and our nation, but also because it’s the month that infallibly brings Inman Connect San Francisco. While the delights of Inman Connect New York City in January are many, it’s not the same atmosphere as the San Francisco event. (And asking me to choose between the two would be along the lines of King Solomon’s choice, so don’t.) As with every year, the speaker lineup this year includes some heavy hitters in real estate, along with people doing amazing things with technology. The scheduled after-event parties already sound like great ways to socialize and meet new people. So, what’s left? Well, here are five reasons I love Inman Connect San Francisco:
(1) San Francisco
San Francisco just has a different aura about it than New York City. New York City feels very professional, very business-like, very hurry-up-and-figure-this-out-because-we-wanted-this-yesterday. San Francisco has a similar though more laidback energy – perhaps all the waves from the nerd-brains in the area mean it resonates better with me. From Karl the Fog to exploring the different neighborhoods on foot to staring in awe at the Golden Gate Bridge, it truly is a treat to visit. Any excuse to go to San Francisco is always a welcome one.
(2) The Hilton
The people at the Hilton in Union Square, where Inman Connect is held, are just nice. Nice, and helpful. The venue itself is laid out so it’s easy to go catch mainstage events, pop out to take calls, stroll in to look at the exhibitors, go eat lunch nearby, come back, go between selected tracks, chill in the lobby, etc. ProTip: There’s a Starbucks just down the street from the Hilton (go out the main lobby doors, turn right, keep walking until you see it on your right), so don’t bother standing in the monstrous line inside the hotel. The Hilton is also well-located, so it’s an easy walk to many different eating options in the area.
(3) The Exhibit Hall
There have been some years I’ve attended Inman Connect San Francisco solely for seeing who’s in the exhibit hall. Why? While Inman Connect New York is the place to take stock of the new stuff everyone’s talking about and where technology in real estate may go, Inman Connect San Francisco is a great place to find out where technology in real estate is going. Many of the vendors in the exhibit hall have proven products with direct applications to real estate. Some may inspire you to make a change in your business; others may convince you that you’re exactly where you need to be. Whatever the case, each year brings a new set of innovation and ideas.
(4) There’s Something for Everyone
I don’t really like single-tracked conferences – the content is generic and everyone leaves feeling vaguely dissatisfied because they only touched the fringes of pertinent information. Taking at look at Inman Connect San Francisco’s schedule (http://www.inman.com/connect/real-estate-connect-sf-2014/schedule/), I’ve already identified several different topics and speakers I’m excited to hear about and from. What about you?
(5) The People
I’ll admit it. I was going to say “Lobby-Con,” which is basically all those side meetings and conversations you see people having in the lobby of the Hilton from morning to midnight (and later). Really, though, the caliber of people you can meet stretches far outside the Hilton doors. Find out what parties are going on. Show up. Ask a stranger to dinner so you can pick their brain. Meet up for drinks in the Hilton bar, Urban Tavern (there’s always someone there). Follow FourSquare, Twitter and Facebook to find out where people are going to be meeting. Don’t be shy. This is your time to take advantage of learning from the best of the best. See if you can snag 15 minutes in the lobby. Most people are extraordinarily generous with their time, either at the event or making plans to talk afterwards. If you really want an introduction to someone, ask an Inman Ambassador (hint: I’m one of them).
If I’ve whet your appetite for attending Inman Connect San Francisco this year (July 16-18), it’s not too late! You can use this link to save BIG on Registration: https://register.inman.com/
If you’re not able to make it this year, but would like to follow along with the event, there are a number of ways to do that. Not only will I be blogging follow-up posts here on Agent Driven Tech, but Inman Connect has a Twitter account and hashtag #ICSF to follow. If you’re more of a Facebook person, you can watch the Inman Connect Facebook page or directly participate with attendees in the Inman Real Estate Connect Coast to Coast Facebook group. I’ll be tweeting as well under @techwithtlc. I hope to see you there!