Putting Technology to the Test
Today was one of those days where my scheduled meetings and planned activities were not going to bring me anywhere near my office at any point in the day. I decided it would be a good day to test all the technology at my disposal in order to maximize my productivity. Could I be a true “CRE Road Warrior”? My four main priorities for the day were as follows:
- 9:30 am – 11:00 am: Tour three office buildings with a client
- 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Client meeting to discuss space requirements
- Review client’s draft lease document and provide comments to legal counsel
- Finish a facility search for an industrial space requirement including field preview of properties
One of the objectives of the day was to see if I could accomplish all that I needed to do without the use of a laptop, but I did have it with me just in case.
The building tours: One of the things I had done in preparation for the building tours was to load the building profiles and floor plans into dropbox so I could just carry my iPad during the building/space tours. What I didn’t know is that my client had done the same, so we both walked the buildings and spaces with iPad in hand. I think the the building leasing agents thought I had provided the iPad to my client, but we won’t tell!
The client meeting: The objective of the meeting was to discuss my client’s space requirement and objectives as their lease comes up for renewal next year. After a lengthy discussion regarding their projected space requirements the discussion turned to the market and specific buildings, and at that point I whipped out the iPad and pulled up CoStarGo. I have to say the client was impressed I had this technology.
The property search: Sitting in Starbucks, I utilized the CoStarGo and LoopNet iPad applications to identify the primary property candidates based on my clients industrial space requirement. Most of the properties that caught my attention were listed on both CoStar and LoopNet with the exception of two. The apps came in handy as I drove to the specific properties for a visual preview of the facilities that appeared to be the best fit.
The lease review: I had uploaded my client’s draft lease document into DropBox so I could review the lease and provide my comments utilizing the DocsToGo application. As you might expect I began to get pressed for time as I had to respond to voice mails and email that I received throughout the day. I ultimately decided to scrap the idea of accomplishing this task via the iPad opting for the functionality of the laptop. I wasn’t able to finish the lease review anyway as I ran out of time, but could have used the iPad had I not had access to my laptop.
What Happened at Starbucks
The idea of whipping into an establishment between meetings to take advantage of the free WiFi is certainly not a groundbreaking idea. As you would expect, I was not the only person camped out in Starbucks working during my visit there and it is not exactly a private working environment. However, something happened as I was sipping on my grande house brew that I didn’t expect. A gentleman sitting in the chair for some time directly behind the table I was parked at overheard a conversation on the phone with one of my clients. In fact he probably had full view of my iPad screen. He walked over to me and introduced himself and asked me if I was in commercial real estate. Turns out he is the principal of company who is a tenant in a nearby office building. Yes, appointment booked for next week.
Any commercial real estate professional will tell you in order to be successful you have to get out from behind your desk and get out in the marketplace. I just never associated working at Starbucks with that business development strategy. While I am sure this won’t happen every time I work from a public place, it does have me thinking about key places to do work from the road.