The Innovation Conversation is a series of Q&A sessions between the real estate technology industry's top leaders and MetaProp Co-Founder and Managing Director Aaron Block. Topics include thoughts on the future of property and technology, corporate innovation activities and executive development in the real estate technology space.
WHAT ARE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY RESPONSIBILITIES IN YOUR ORGANIZATION?
As Chief Revenue Officer, I am involved in sales, strategy, management and advisor/investor relations. I spend a large part of my day in meetings with potential clients, current clients, strategic partners, employees, advisors and my co-founders developing business strategy. When not in meetings I am often prepping for my meetings or following up with pitch decks, strategy plans, contracts and other items to close deals, push forward initiatives and train/develop employees.
DESCRIBE HOW YOU BECAME INTERESTED IN PROPTECH AND INNOVATION.
I've been an entrepreneur my whole life. My first interest was in business, entrepreneurship and innovation, from my ice hockey goalie coaching business to my small business eBay store to my food delivery service on my college campus plus many more endeavors. My passion in wellness started when I dove into the world of yoga, meditation and mindfulness from an experience in becoming a partial caretaker for my mom on her journey with cancer. Her transformation inspired me to bring wellness to the world in the most convenient way possible -- directly to people’s homes and offices. I then fell into PropTech as a result of our distribution channel of selling to landlords so that we can create a more enjoyable experience in peoples’ homes and offices.
IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, WHAT AREA OF THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY DO YOU THINK WILL CHANGE THE MOST DRAMATICALLY?
Workspaces and the idea of what a work-life balance means. WeWork, Convene and corporations like Google and Facebook are carving the way to making work a more enjoyable experience for everyone; one that provides flexibility through hot-desking, creative design, remote plus distributed work-forces, as well as an enhanced amenity experience where everything you need is just a click or step away. Large single-tenant corporations have been latching on to this concept and now every major landlord is making their play into what they think the future of the workforce looks like. This will help them attract the small, mid and larger tenants at premium price-point, by providing these experiences for the corporations, rather than the corporations having to create these workplaces themselves.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN INITIATIVE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION TODAY?
I think the most important innovation is our workforce structure and culture. We provide the work environment outlined above in addition to being the first company to provide full-time employment opportunities for yoga instructors. Our yoga instructors run the services in the building by teaching yoga and meditation. They are core to our customers, while also running an operational component of the business like sales, app development, marketing, operations and more. We've built an environment where everything starts from a shared passion -- community, wellness and self-love. Our most important technology driven initiative is to support our current workforce structure and enhance the experience for our clients and their tenants (our end users) by creating the highest quality experience through efficiency of time. We are using technology to maximize our employees’ time through an internal artificially intelligent scheduling system that creates an ideal schedule for our service providers and our end users, providing services at the ideal times and locations.
WHAT ROLE HAVE MENTORS PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS? HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHERS TO DEVELOP STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH MENTORS?
I would not be where I am in my career without mentors. Mentors have helped me excel personally and professionally by helping me question every step of the process. In my experience the best mentors have asked questions and helped me come to self discovery. It takes a long time and a lot of persistence to find the best mentors. Try out multiple mentors, show them you respect their time, their knowledge and keep pushing until you find the right one for you. It can be a mentor that helps you with strategy, fundraising, sales, connections or just emotional support. Not everyone is right for for everyone - so find the right person for you and list the skill sets that you think you’re missing.
WHAT IS ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T ALREADY KNOW?
Disney World is my favorite place on earth. I've been there roughly 15 times.
INNOVATION CONVERSATIONS GALLERY