by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO
Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.
This week, we got a chance to sit with Alex Lange, Head of Strategy and Innovation at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). We discussed time management, the business side of the business, what RESO should be working on today and pitch battles. Enjoy!
Q1: As a CEO coach, investor and strategist, you are involved in many different companies and initiatives. What is the time requirement for sitting on nine different boards and how does your role at NAR align with that work?
Alex: The time requirement is not as bad as you might think. We’re talking about monthly or quarterly board meetings, and in the days of Zoom, they tend to be virtual. The total time commitment amounts to about two days per month.
Most of the companies I am involved with now dovetail into the work I’m doing at NAR. They are involved in analytics, computer vision, Web 3, AI, etc. – areas that are active in today’s technology landscape and relevant to member education and evolution.
Additionally, there are similarities of coaching start-ups to coaching a REALTOR®. Both are small businesses with entrepreneurial spirit. Both are often good operators – they know their craft. But they are not always as good at running the business side of the business – the marketing, the financials, KPIs, etc. My work often involves helping on that front.
Q2:You have recently become part of the RESO Board of Directors. What intrigues or excites you about RESO, and do you have any specific objectives you would like to see fulfilled during your tenure?
Alex: I’ve always loved RESO back from my days at Upstream. I believe that having alignment in both standards and sentiment is pivotal to our industry moving forward. It facilitates integration, it allows innovation to happen faster, and it makes sharing or consolidation easier where it makes sense for that to happen.
I love having Dave Conroy [also from NAR] on the board with me for the tech perspective he brings to the table.
As for goals, better adoption is what I want to see. We should focus more on that – more adoption, faster adoption. Every time we change the mandate, it takes 12 months or more for companies to get up to speed, because it’s difficult and expensive. We need to settle on what’s critical and help the industry catch up. Incremental changes are acceptable, but the core standards should become more established.
Q3: You have regularly been a judge at the NAR iOi Pitch Battle for young, aspiring companies. Along with Liz Sturrock, you give off the most “Shark Tank” vibes – tough but fair and ready for television. Is this something you’ve done a lot of and do you enjoy it?
Alex: It is something I do a lot. I participate in multiple angel groups, as well as continue my involvement with all the NAR REACH cohorts. I hear the pitches often. I love to push these companies to be the best version of themselves.
Traction trumps the team and the team trumps the product. Clearly, product market fit is imperative, but it doesn’t matter if nobody has ever heard of you.
Your “go to market” strategy is incredibly hard to do well. They don’t always know the best way to get out there. Many are new to the real estate industry, and they don’t understand the levels of fragmentation between associations, MLSs, brokers, lenders, title companies and so on. I try to help them navigate through all of that so they can achieve success beyond their amazing idea.