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AEC Chair: Tech “Aha” Moments

May 20, 2013

Hello from Minnesota, where we are still waiting for spring to arrive. Anybody want to join me back in sunny San Diego, home of this year’s AE Institute? And what an event 2013 AEI was! I was so impressed with the excellent work the AEI committee and NAR staff did.

As this is the technology issue of REALTOR® AE magazine, I went back to the committee and asked them what their tech “aha!” moments at AEI were this year.

The committee used this cool Web tool called Basecamp to manage their interaction in the digital world. It’s an amazing project management tool, keeping everyone on the same page for planning and production. The communication via Basecamp, throughout the year, helped the committee connect and thrive as a team. It is a tech tool your association should explore. 

The AEI mobile app started the conference on a solid tech footing. It worked great for planning the day, reviewing handouts of the speakers in all tracks, and distilling great information for those back home—even for sessions you were not able to attend. The mobile app was instrumental in AEI becoming almost totally digital (i.e., paperless)! Handouts, session evaluations, and even the silent auction bidding were all handled electronically. One final mobile app comment: Take a peek at the rebranded and revamped realtor.com app, which is much cleaner to use. 

Some RPR enhancements that are coming out for AEs look super cool, committee members said.

Speaking of consumer engagement, check out www.nartools.com. It is an online ad generator provided by NAR to help state and local associations customize advertising materials from the NAR Public Advocacy Campaign.

But with all the new tools and gadgets, it’s not just about teaching members about tech tools and apps, we need to teach them where to find resources. For example, when an AE at the conference asked a speaker which wireless router they should consider, the speaker suggested reaching out to a resource in the community that has experience in wireless routers, such as the local high school. 

In another session, speakers Dawn Kennedy and Breanna Vanstrom talked about using data to objectively measure success of association programs and services. Not every program is going to work for your entire membership, they said; “target your programs to individual demographic segments and objectively measure success.”

Josh Linkner’s presentation on the creative process discussed how we need to risk failure to achieve breakthroughs. If we all felt less fearful of failure, we might try more things and experience more breakthroughs. My personal comment: Too many associations fear failure. This is at least partially a product of association leadership, who, by nature, are prone to being risk-averse.

Great big thank-yous to Marc Lebowitz, AEI Chair; Steve Volkodav, AEI Vice Chair; Pat Breme, Laura Burns, Isaac Chavez, Laura Crowther, Sheila Dodson, Brenda Florida, Maranda Herrington, Tessa Hultz, Carol Culpepper Seal, and Albert Tran, first and foremost for planning a most excellent 2013 AEI for us all to experience and enjoy, and second, for helping me with the content for this column.