Let me preface by admitting this is only my second year attending ALTA ONE, but there was a palpable difference between the energy this year compared to the last. Perhaps it was partly the close proximity to the American Music Awards at the neighboring Microsoft Theater, but my guess is that it had a lot more to do with the excitement over a renewed sense of focus and purpose for the industry as a whole. You can watch my video recap now.
I wanted to share the three things I took away coming off the heels of one of the title industry’s biggest events of the year:
Title Needs to Adapt to the Consumer, Not the Other Way Around
Recently we wrote a post about The Two Most Important Aspects Of Your Title Company’s Growth, where we detail the trending topics of investing in technology and in your company culture. These aspects are rooted in the need to prioritize the things that are most important to consumers, which is all about convenience and delight. The consumers of today (and it’s not just millennials) want things to be simple, and they want to work with companies and people that they can relate to.
In a moving hybrid of motivational talk and spoken word poetry called Poetic Voice (it’s so much cooler than it sounds, I swear), Sekou Andrews imparted the notion that we need to do a better job to humanize ourselves and our brands. He exclaimed, “It’s not about the policy you’re writing, but the human you are being.” People choose to work with people and sharing your personal and brand story will help you become the one they choose.
This Omni Session got a lot of people, myself included, excited about where we’re headed and what it will take to get there because it’s more vital than ever to “beat disruption before it hits its destination” — lest we get left behind. Gone are the days of us running the game and expecting consumers to follow along. We need to stay ahead of consumer’s future needs and be there to “turn disasters like defects into delight.”
It’s Actually All About Payoff Fraud
It’s a story that has dominated the news not only in the real estate industry but spilling into the mainstream, and that’s the rising risk of wire fraud. This is where fraudsters intercede with illegitimate wiring instructions and fool unsuspecting buyers (your clients) into sending thousands of their hard-earned dollars into the wrong hands, never to be seen again. Tom Cronkright, of CertifID, has been crusading to educate the industry about this issue and how to protect your operation and clients from befalling the same fate. I had the chance to sit in on the session entitled It’s Not All About Wire Fraud where an expert panel, including Cronkright, regaled us of the terrifying ways our technology and data could be compromised. Most of the session was focused on the debilitating effect of ransomware attacks and how important it is to protect the integrity of your operation’s data, but it was Cronkright that brought up the budding new issue of Payoff Fraud.
Thanks to national media attention on the wire fraud problem, those fraudsters are getting smarter and becoming more privy to how money moves around throughout the entire closing process and they’ve noticed the really big bucks are in the payoffs to lenders. Rather than your client falling victim to spoofing attempts, it’s title agents that are being fooled into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wrong account with phony wiring instructions. Cronkright estimates that Payoff Fraud will shortly become one of the most detrimental modes of cybercrime facing title professionals. I grabbed him and did a video interview and we’ll be sharing that very soon.
Look Outside the Industry for Your Innovation Inspiration
The Power of Little Ideas was a wonderful talk by David Robertson, from MIT Sloan School of Management. He asserts that in order to set your company on a path to innovation, it’s not about in-the-box vs. out-of-the-box thinking. It’s about thinking around the box — how do we solve an issue and create more value? He gave the perfect example of those companies that come up with innovative, but ideas that are actually revenue neutral in order to elevate other parts of your brand. Apple’s iTunes was not going to be a huge profit boon but added incredible value and increased their market share with the iPod.
Additionally, John Osher, the man who created the spinning lollipop — a hybrid of both toy and lollipop — actually created an entire sub-genre of candy called “active candy.” He took the idea of this small, cheap motor product and turned it into the first-ever inexpensive electric toothbrush for a mass market and then Proctor & Gamble bought it up, and he made hundreds of millions.
The point is that it’s so important to stop thinking about innovation in terms of novelty and start focusing on things that will really make a difference and fill a need. It makes it a lot easier to look outside of our industry to draw inspiration because there are numerous examples. Becky Tassell, PropLogix Marketing director talks about the session in the video below.
I’m curious to know what your favorite parts of the convention were! Everyone I spoke to talked again and again about how nice it is just to meet up with old friends and make new ones. I was lucky enough to make some new friends that I look forward to meeting up with again come next year.