What Tech Disruption Is Really About

On January 1, I wrote a post with 7 notes to look back on for strength during weak days in 2018. Three days later I started a new job, and today—33 days later—I’ve been feeling weak about not blogging more and beating myself up over it. So I went back to that post and found this:

Remember my two audiences on every post I write. My goal for 2018 is to write every day, but I’m not going to commit to a hard goal of writing seven days a week because then all time—especially family/friend time—has too much risk of becoming contaminated time where my brain spends too much energy thinking about what I’m not doing. But if all other routines are maintained, it’s not hard to write every day. More important, I need to remember who I’m writing for. Each of my blog posts has two audiences: one other person I have in mind, and my future self. Of course target audiences can and do expand way beyond that for certain posts, but remembering this 2 audience rule makes for much better writing and reading.

This gave me two super helpful reminders. First, I’d already set up a realistic expectation of blogging. Second, writing helps us discover what we really think. We all beat ourselves up or feel weak for not doing more, but that’s just mental chatter. Writing is where we process that chatter into something useful.

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The last 33 days have been quite a ride as I’m now at ground zero of the biggest real estate and consumer finance industry disruption in decades. I’ve observed it closely and written about it over the years, but it’s different being truly immersed in it.

I’ve kept posting light while digesting all of this, but here are three thoughts for now that I’ll expand on more as I get into my new rhythm:

1. Disruption isn’t about funding rounds, IPOs, and deals. It’s about being ahead of where technology is driving consumer expectations. Regs and local factors make real estate and consumer finance disruption profoundly difficult, and until now, I’ve been in the camp that says these areas can only be improved so much. Not anymore. It really is possible to completely reinvent the consumer experience for real estate and consumer finance.

2. Disruption is WAY different when viewed through this lens of “it’s going to happen” rather than “it might happen to an extent.” Suddenly you’re less obsessed with competitors because in some ways you’re no longer playing the same sport.

3. This is changing how I’ve been thinking about brand and consumer experience all these years. And no, this isn’t the start of me blindly spouting about how “we’re making the world a better place.” But it goes to my “in some ways you’re no longer playing the same sport” comment. To date, no single firm has disrupted buying/selling, financing, and improving residential real estate. These are all disjointed transactional elements across three industries (real estate, consumer finance, building/contracting). There’s been some disruption in each of these areas individually, and certainly some clever branding. But as I’ve started to consider it as a single consumer experience, I’m revising how I think.