Infinity Film Festival Panel: Is This the Death of Real Estate?

THis last week we did a panel with…

The Transcription

Dan Pastewka
Hi everyone, my name is Dan Pastewka and I am the Co-Founder and Manager of Phase Two.  We are a flexible workspace located in the Culver City area.  I’m very excited to be here this morning as a part of the Infinity Festival during Artificial Intelligence Week. With us, we have seven incredible panelists with varied backgrounds and lots of experience to discuss one question, and that is: Is real estate dead? Mapping the future of workspace in the digital age. So before we kind of jump right into this, I was hoping everyone could just quickly introduce themselves, say a little bit about their background, and then we’ll dive right in. And why don’t we start with Raj.

Raj Singh
Thanks, Dan. Hi, everyone. I’m Raj Singh. I am the Founder and CEO of Go Moment. We’re an artificial intelligence, technology play in the hospitality and hotel market. And we essentially automate customer service over text message and, you know, have currently been providing the service to about 40 million guests around the US.  And we’re staying very close to the recovery of the hotel market through the pandemic.

Dan Pastewka
Great, how about you, Bridgid?

Bridgid Coulter
Hi, I’m Bridgid Coulter, and I am CEO and Founder of Blackbird Collective, which is a coworking collective for work, wellness, and community, focused on women of color.

Dan Pastewka
Nice. Philippe?

Philippe Lewicki
Hi, I’m the Founder of a company called AfterNow and we specialize in augmented reality. We’ve built a fair amount of technology and our latest product is related to remote work and enabling people to do remote presentations over AR/VR headsets.

Dan Pastewka
Great. Mark?

Mark Landver
Mark Landver, from CBRE, Vice President of the West LA office. I’m very excited to be a part of the Infinity Festival this year, and I can’t wait to start talking with everyone. And I’ll pass it to Derek Newton, my partner.

Derek Newton
Hi, guys, I’m Derek Newton. I’m an office leasing and sales expert. We help tenants and investors to plan and execute their office strategies and optimize their workplaces and just overall enhance their company culture. We’ve been working together as tenant reps at CBRE for about four years now. And very excited to be here. Thank you for having us.

Gabriel Rene
Nice. Gabe, do you want to go?

Hi, I am Gabriel Rene, Executive Director of Verses Labs, and the Spatial Web Foundation. We are a technology company working at the intersection of Augmented and Virtual Reality, Internet of Things,  Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and other sorts of emerging technologies. Essentially building the digital infrastructure integration layer for the future of smart cities and smart buildings. And I guess smart everything. Think of it more like the place where the Internet meets the Outernet.

Courtney Guthridge
Hello, my name is Courtney Guthridge. Thank you for having me. I am the director of the West Coast for Workthere, which is a tech-enabled brokerage service that is focused solely on the coworking and flexible office space sector. We are in nine countries globally – in the US, Europe, and Asia, and the UK. And we’re part of the global real estate firm called Savills.

Dan Pastewka
Nice. Very cool. So why don’t we just jump right in. Question number one: numerous organizations, companies, have publicly said that they no longer need vast swaths of real estate. We have Facebook, we have Twitter, it seems like it’s a new organization every single day. They’re talking about remote work from home. So I guess the question is: are we going to need real estate in this new world or his real estate dead? Why don’t we jump in with Philippe here?

Philippe Lewicki
Thanks, Dan. So I’ll give the technological perspective of this and background experience. I was part of a group of companies in the early 2000s. That was all about open source and an open-source movement that was very distributed. A lot of us decided to create startups with no offices. And that was a big trend in the 2000s.  And the result is that it works for a little bit. But it’s really hard to sustain long term. Not working from home, and the companies, you need to be really well-designed, and their DNA needs to be like that. So for me, in my personal opinion, a lot of the companies today are just jumping from normal to remote work. Without doing the proper work to sustain it, and they will not be able to sustain it, and within a year, they’ll see significant drops in productivity, and the alpha, their employees will be significantly affected.

Dan Pastewka
Right.

Philippe Lewicki
And you know, people will come back to the office, that’s my point.

Dan Pastewka
And you were one of the first no-office companies. So you have the first-hand experience with this.

Philippe Lewicki
Exactly.  So there was a group of companies then: there were MySQL and one that’s still around: GitLab. GitLab is still a no-office company and they’ve successfully done it. They’re a great example of it. But it’s one of the few us.  We did it for three years. And then we went back to an office, everybody was going insane. So it’s mainly the lack of human connectivity and presence that’s affecting people over time. And whatever you do, it’s in its effect. And you need to have a lot of alternative options. Like coworking spaces where you can go and where there are other people – and you would work there. But if there is no way for you to see people, when you’re doing your work, or during the day, it gets really strenuous. Long term.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, that’s very, very interesting. Bridgid, what’s your take on this?

Bridgid Coulter
I think, similar to Philippe, I do sense that community is essential. And we opened as a startup. So we just launched last year after about a year of prep, starting in 2018, where we did pop-ups, and we weren’t in a permanent location until last year. And having that seven months, six or seven months of being in space, and then immediately pivoting to digital has given us a perspective that I think, is really interesting. Because we know what it feels like to have a community in the space. And it was quite incredible. And within a short amount of time, we were approaching this just perfect stasis with what was happening. And now being in the virtual, we were able to learn a whole different part of community and collection, and community and collective, and wellness. But what I know and what I sense, and what we have a waitlist for now, is people wondering when we’re going to go back to space. We work from home – our home has in a way been violated because what used to be a sanctuary and private, is now exposed to the world. And in the beginning, people would try to set up nice backgrounds and you know, that, or be in a very neutral space. And now you’ll see people having meetings – they’re in their bed. And I think there’s an exhaustion of just wanting to be back in community where instead of a one hour of back and forth texting, you could stop by somebody’s office and in five minutes, resolve an issue or come up with something that now is taking more time. So I don’t believe it’s dead. I do think it’s changed. And I think it creates an opportunity for those of us in flex office space to set ourselves up to be that kind of community for people. And as we specify and really understand who our community is, we can be of service to them and have an impact in a bigger way than maybe we could have before.

Dan Pastewka
Absolutely. Yeah, that’s interesting. So Mark, Derek, from the broker’s perspective. I mean, you’re in this day in a day out like flex operators, what are you seeing?

Mark Landver
Right, what we’re seeing, and we’ve had probably 100 phone calls with CBRE and with our clients as well. And so we feel like the work from home experiment has been very successful for the technology companies that have produced the pack like Zoom, and Skype and that’s really done well for them. But you also have to remember that all the culture and all the relationships have been built in offices over decades and decades between the people that converse and have a working relationship. So forging new relationships and mentoring and training may be very difficult. For companies that want to grow in the future, to do virtually. So, we feel like although this, this has been a really a launching of the work from home, in the future, there’s going to be a hybrid model built between working from home, working at the office, a lot of the coworking operators as well will profit from that, because companies may need their facilities because they have so many across the country to work from. So, um, you know, there’s just a ton of conversation about how this is gonna affect companies in the future. And we really feel strongly that it’s going to be a hybrid, we, we may not need all the space we had in the past, but we may have more offices just spread across different regions, depending on where people live. So our conversations about office space have never been more relevant than they are today. So we feel very actually enthusiastic and super excited to be in the room talking with our clients and enterprise groups on how to how to solve for space needs in the future. Derek, what do you think?

Derek Newton
I think that was a very solid and thorough answer. I completely agree. I think really, the key is connectivity. And I think, really to Philippe’s point. There’s, there’s just not enough implementation right now of standardizing the work from home models. So I think there’s a little bit of a backlash, which we’ve even seen before the pandemic, there was a bit of a backlash to the open office, with people complaining about noise and productivity starting to decrease a little bit. So in some ways, I see the pandemic as a little bit of an accelerator to some things that we already saw. But right now, the big focus is really spearheading the corporate culture moving forward. So I’m curious to see how that’s gonna play out. I mean, it seems like all signs are really pointing to flexible options that localize offices closer for people, but really, time will tell. So it’s going to be exciting to see how we innovate.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, and what do you see at Savills, Courtney?

Courtney Guthridge
Yeah, I mean, I agree with all of the previous responses, I think, you know, I think the full-time work from home has already begun to run its course, for a lot of people. And I think that going forward, there is a need for a place to go. And I think we’re definitely going to be experiencing a hybrid scenario, where people can still have that flexibility, and that option to work remotely, but with the option to go into a place where they can collaborate with their colleagues, and have that human connection. You know, I think flexibility is going to be key for this. And I think before COVID, you know, remote working, flexible working was on the rise, and then, you know, the entire globe got sort of catapulted into this human experiment of full-time work from home for everyone. And really allowed, it kind of created a level of trust that for a lot of companies that were maybe against full-time work from, or work from home at all, to see that, okay, so we can still accomplish things with people not being in the office Monday through Friday, eight to five. But again, that human connection is still desired by a lot of people. And yeah, I mean, for what we’re seeing, there’s a ton of conversations happening around, okay, we need to provide our employees with a place to work. But we just can’t necessarily commit to the long term full-time leases that we used to, we need to, you know, come up with some hybrid solution. So I think it’s still all unfolding. And a lot of companies are trying to navigate what will work best for their organization, and it’s going to be very exciting to see how it all plays out.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, that’s all really, really interesting. So I mean, we talked about collaboration, we talked about connection, risk, hybrid. I think you take that and couple them with technological advancements like AI, VR, AR, CRE tech, you have Zoom, you have Microsoft Teams, you have online communities. And so it begs the question: What does the future of workspace look like? Is it an office is it at home? It sounds like it could be both? Maybe we can start with you, Gabe.

Gabriel Rene
Thanks for the setup, Dan. Sorry, my Internet will be a little chunky here. So a few things. One, I think there’s where we’re going to be at the beginning of this decade. And then there’s where we’re going to be at the end of this decade. And how we start to think about the arc here from, you know, as business people, as designers, as architects is, as engineers, as, as you know, cultural designers, right? Right now really trying to get a sense of what the decade ends with would be really helpful for all of us, right?  So if you look at the challenges, right now, imagine that instead the pandemic hit in 1990 and we don’t have the internet. So as bad as like Zoom is, and Microsoft Teams are certainly not designed for this sort of, you know, types of interactions at scale, suddenly going from, you know, small numbers to 10s of millions of people, you know. Everyone being sort of forced through this funnel of interfacing. Try to imagine trying to do this over the phone. Or without the internet at all. Or what, sending papers, couriers? How would this even work, but the whole, the whole economy would just tank, right? So right now we have a design problem, that starts with just that these tools were not designed for this kind of interaction, we’re trying to have a conference right now, you know, in all different parts of the world. You know, just try to squeeze it through as much bandwidth we can. And even these tools aren’t designed, well, the microphones and the cameras and everything that goes with them are kind of they’re designed for a certain level of interaction. And but you know, you may hear me at the baby in the background, or, you know, Bridgid’s on the road, right. But that’s also sort of a bit of an advantage, I get to be home with my child and really gets to go from wherever we are point A to point B. And that wasn’t an option before. So we think about real estate, I think that one, there’s, there are two questions that come up in my mind. Just to be I suppose I’m the provocative odd sheep in the, on the on this, this panel, the definition of real estate is going to change. Not just to real estate, but to virtual, real estate or virtual state, right. So even as we’re, you know, we’re putting fake backgrounds, and I’m pretending I’m in, I’m in, you know, the Japanese bamboo forest. I could be in a Japanese bamboo forest, and you guys could meet me in this. So that was sort of a virtual reality experience where we could have face to face interactions, we could have, you know, the dimensionality, even the three-dimensional audio, that technology exists right now, in the latest version of Oculus Two, which just came out about a few weeks ago. It’s very niche and it’s very early stage. But where we started in the early 90s, to where we ended up in the early 2000s. With regard to the World Wide Web was a really huge jump. And there were big winners and losers in that that telegraphed well, and others that completely disappeared. So I think that that definition of whether you’re in a physical environment, meaning home or an office, there’s also: Are you in the car? We’re talking to car manufacturers, right now, they’re completely rethinking the role of the car, it’s going to be an automated vehicle, you’re not actively driving, what kind of what are you doing there, you know, what kind of work entertainment experience, health needs to be wrote woven into that. So not only will physical spaces become more virtualized, virtual spaces will become more physicalized. And the kinds of technologies like AI and VR and, you know, sensors, and IoT, and all this other stuff, sort of, you know, become this, the next generation of supporting technologies to help redefine this. So both smart buildings and smart cities and smart cars, and smart environments, but also just the ways that we think about not just design, but culture will have to change. And I think when you hear about some of the work that the Bridgid is doing, thinking of interaction from a cultural perspective, specifically or think about spaces from a wellness perspective, really starts to shift that that whole dynamic. So to the first question: is real estate dead? No. But is the definition is expanding.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, that’s really interesting.  Well, maybe let me just hit you with this right off the bat. You know, I just watched The Social Dilemma. And you know, one of the things that they’re talking about is you can design tech in a certain way, but it’s tough to anticipate everything. There are unintended consequences. As we’re designing, you know, the future of workspace, what do we have to be cognizant of to avoid some of these pitfalls? And well, I mean, we can let’s start with you gave to just your two cents and then we can move on.

Gabriel Rene
I mean, human-centric design, can’t be technology first. Engineers are historically awful at this task. So huge, soft, so-called soft skills become really important. I mean, those interactions, you know, that use both AI and humans, that kind of hybrid interest level of interaction is going to become the norm. But it’s really important that we make sure that that comes from a sort of center of gravity of human interaction, not just sort of technical engineering for the sake of functionality. But this is where, you know, all of these softer skills and considerations from social, emotional, physical, mental, etc, really come into play. So I would say it has to be, we really have to think about what it what does it mean to design things from using these technologies from a human-centric perspective. And then, how to use these technologies to kind of accelerate the sort of hybrid capabilities that come out of it. And there is this sort of sci-fi opportunity in this generation. We have some big challenges, but at the end of the day, we have to remain human.

Bridgid Coulter
Actually, I just wanted to say I really love what Gabriel is saying about the human connection. And that’s the question that is on our mind heavily at the moment.  Because there’s such a great opportunity to converge – like right now we have members from all over the world – literally Ghana, Zambia, Paris, UK and Sweden, and Hawaii. That we wouldn’t necessarily have been able to connect to. But how do we give them that experience of being in the space online? That’s our big question, right now. Because now the hybrid is essential. And we do have people who want to be in space, but we have people who want to maybe connect with the people in space. So it’s threefold of what’s the human connection? How do tech and AI give us that experience? Because I know in video games, watching my kids play, they know people from all over, and they’re connected and engaged, and they’re building community. So how do we do that as office space and create these things, there’s something called the cave, that you can go in and co-work all around the world with people. So how do we start to bring all these technologies together so that the human experience is additive? And that we are connecting both in space and virtually and that’s what I’m excited about seeing from this opportunity from what has been a very difficult time. And there’s been a lot of loss, but there’s so much excitement and hope and racial justice and social justice and economic opportunities for people to really connect in community. So that part of it when you’re speaking to that hybrid, I’m super excited about that. I don’t know the tech side of it. I know the human community-building connection wellness side of it. So getting all this together is really, really exciting. So thank you.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, absolutely.

Philippe Lewicki
The tech side of it. I can say part of the tech side of it. Yeah, and, and I’m gonna just kind of talk about the VR and I’ll let others talk about the AI part of it. But for us, we’ve been I spent a lot of my time, you know, doing meetings in VR, or AR today. And it’s a few hours a day. Now, it’s not just trivial. The result of it is that it’s way more, it’s way better than Zoom, I can concur on that. Next week, I’m talking at VR days and leading a roundtable. And there you will be in a virtual world. It’s a virtual space. It’s a virtual office, it looks like a real office. But it’s virtual, and people will gather with avatars in there, you have a sense of physicality, you have a sense of distance of space. And people gather to that and the technology, our technology, the one we build is in that direction. It’s really into the direction of helping people to communicate with each other, virtually, you know, over distances and not being able tied to the physical space. And you can at that point, exchanging permissions you can offer way more data, the real breakthrough, to go back to what Gabe was saying is that it’s literally opening up a new dimension. If you go back to where we’re doing, we’re doing every day, what we’re doing every day, like what we’re doing now, we’re learning in 2D, we’re communicating in 2D, everything we do is 2D flat, your computer is flat, your phone is a flat screen, it’s a 2D space. So everything we’ve been doing is on a 2D flat space. Now when we put a VR headset, you’re back in 3D, you’re back like you’re were in an office with some people, you’re back into a space where things are three dimensional like your main being has been growing and evolving for the past 10,000 years. And that totally unlocks a new level of communications, a new level of interactions that we don’t even begin to grasp today. We just kind of like start learning. Oh, wow. People learn better in VR. Yeah. And those are just the beginning of it. And we’ll see that social interaction. And so, to Derek and Mark’s point, yes, the hybrid will exist and the evolution of the office will happen. And as those technologies evolve, we will be able to do it. And in 10 years, it will be the norm. Will it happen today? No, unfortunately, the assets and the hardware are not available enough, you know, it’s really no, you can, it’s really hard to buy enough hardware to support the demand of doing and making that work for this current pandemic that we’re living in. But in a few years, it will be standard. And I want to close with an answer to the question about ‘What does the future workspace look like?’  I can show you, I have a sample here. So as we’re doing VR, and we’re working a lot in, in that space, and this little kind of like, desk. So this is a circular desk, and we have all our VR headsets and technology under it, and you work there. And then you have a lot of space on the floor, you have about 10 by 10 feet around you that’s empty. Why is it empty?  Because when you put your headset on, that space gets filled with things, either your personal stuff, your personal office environment, or your other people you’re connecting and tracking it or the table you’re going to use for. So that’s the type of thing that we’ll see in the future is that we’ll have to redesign the old desk seating office that people have been using to more standing up desk and motion driven. That’s because people will work in motion in the future, they won’t work typing on a keyboard. So those will affect the way offices are designed. And there’s a new generation of bits when we went from small close office to open spaces. Now we’re rethinking the open spaces. Now we have to rethink the no computer space, what we’ll do when there’s no computer and we’ll all work in VR. So that will affect the way a workspace will change. And it will exist all between your arm and between your office in terms of that personalization.

Dan Pastewka
Philippe, when we spoke earlier, you were mentioning that the desks we know, that I’m using right now – they were designed for a pen and paper world. You know, they haven’t evolved since then. So I mean, that’s just it’s a pretty incredible vision. We’ve gotten this tech perspective over here. But I think there’s still a large a very large segment that is not involved in VR, AR, every single day. And when they’re thinking about the future of workspace, they’re thinking about real estate, they’re thinking about maybe incorporating offices into homes. So let me go to Courtney. Courtney, what does the future of workspace look like?

Courtney Guthridge
I think there’s like we talked about earlier, there’s a hybrid solution. I think that there’s going to be some sort of place to go for companies. And I think there’s the, you know, we keep hearing the hub and spoke model, where there’s kind of a smaller headquartered space, and then some, you know, smaller hub offices surrounding. And, you know, I just, I am in real estate, and obviously, want people to go back to the office. But I do think that from talking to our clients, colleagues, my friends’, parent’s friends, everyone wants a place to go back, they want a place to go. But I do think that, you know, with respect to the tech piece, just from my purview into the tech, you know, having Microsoft Teams and Zoom, my firm was very well equipped to be able to easily transition from the office to full-time work from home without, you know, without skipping a beat. But I do think there were a lot of other, more traditional industries, some, you know, law firms that maybe had been a little more resistant to adopting this tech. And when they did have to, you know, the transition to work from home, it was a little bit more challenging.  But I would say that pretty much every organization across the globe has established, at a minimum, Zoom into their everyday work, workplace. And, you know, I think a very positive outcome of this will be you know, for example, in real estate, a real estate construction meeting, you know, typically there’d be eight people go into this meeting eight people and eight cars driving 30 minutes to and from this, this meeting right? In LA at least. And now those meetings can easily be taken care of over a Zoom call. So in that regard, I think it’s, it’s, it’s amazing. And I think, again, a hybrid solution, you know, where you can do calls via Zoom over the Internet, great, where there’s a need for that human connection. You have your workplace to go to, and whatever that looks like for your specific organization.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah, lots to delve into there. You talked about the hub and spoke model. And I know, I’ve spoken with the gentlemen over at CBRE about that as well.  What’s, what’s your take on all this, Mark?

Mark Landver
So, we believe that technology has made dividing space much easier, pointing to apps that let employees reserve everything from desks to rooms to parking spaces. So the future of office space use is going to be on a reservation basis. And so we can easily plan accordingly for which employees or teams need which space. So instead of cramming, like 200 people into like a floor or two, we believe that there will be many offices regionally open, instead of you know, being in these skyrises with parking structures.  It is going to be more localized to where teams live. And, as Courtney was saying, the environmental impact has been really on the positive with this work from home experiment, because we’re all driving probably 80% less, and that causes less pollution and causes a lot fewer resources being used. So we feel like, there’s a lot of benefits to that. What do you think, Derek?

Derek Newton
I think a lot of the design is going to be shaped by data that we’re we’re still accumulating. I know a lot of the companies and a lot of the enterprise companies we work with, they’re still in this like forced growing pains phase where they’re figuring out which employees are able to be completely remote, or virtual, which employees can rotate into the office and, and which employees actually need to be present. So I think in large part, as time progresses, and we just accumulate more data on that, and the productivity of it all, I think that will really help to kind of define these parameters for the workplace, but it seems like all fingers are pointing to some type of hybrid model. And that spoke and wheel model. So it definitely seems like that’s the direction we’re headed.

Mark Landver
I also want to add that the future workplace is going to be, I think, a lot more environmental centric like I mentioned. There’s going to be the need for operable windows to get fresh air in versus living off of air conditioning units to get our air, there’s going to be the need for plant life, there’s going to be the need for gardens for dog walks for all sorts of outdoor activities. And the future of meetings might be, you know, group hikes or going to the beach or, or meeting in a park and versus all getting together in a conference room surrounded by glass. So we feel like this is going to really, really launch a whole new way of working. And we’re very excited to be a part of it.

Dan Pastewka
I want to quickly go back to something Courtney said.  Courtney, you were talking about the real estate construction meeting, and you don’t need these eight people coming to the office driving to the office, or to the same meeting place anymore. So it almost seems like you can take some of the, and I don’t know if you can put it this way, the lower value meetings, and perhaps do those over Zoom. But then there are certain meetings where you want to be somewhere in person, you want to be collaborating. I think this kind of goes into a question that I’ve been thinking about a lot, that we’ve been thinking about a lot. And that is that we live in this on-demand world. And we have everything at the tip of our fingertips. You know, we can summon a car from our phones, we can summon food.  And the question is, what will entice people or encourage people to leave the house?  Maybe they’ll do it on their own, but maybe there needs to be something more exciting to get them out of there. So I was wondering, and I’ll direct this to Raj, if you could speak to the role of experience. Whether it’s in terms of real estate or malls or anything like that. I know you’d have some interesting takes.

Raj Singh
Yeah. Thanks, Dan, I think it’s, you know, experiential is definitely in demand. It’s something that consumers absolutely have expressed a very clear, you know, preference for, interestingly, some of the commercial real estate plays that we see are still doing, you know, reasonably well, in this kind of time, when when you wouldn’t think they’re doing very well.  This includes escape rooms, VR experiences, all these kinds of escapist or, you know, experiential kind of components. And the three things that we see, you know, from the vantage point of the intersection of AI and hospitality, customer service, is essentially everything definitely is trending towards experiential. So, it’s not that real estate is dead, but bad real estate is completely dead, right, just like retail is not dead, but ‘bad retail’ is dead. And there are lots of new models that have come on board, I think, to the points that the whole panel was discussing earlier.  Starbucks in its heyday, basically figured out that okay, well, there’s home, there was work. And now we need a third place that we can meet with friends, we can, you know, study other things like that. I think that what is going to come out of the pandemic, from a real estate perspective, is that we’re going to invent places: number four through 10, maybe 20, maybe 30. Because some people like to work in bed, like we were talking about, some people like me, for example, I have a stand-up desk, I have to have a stand-up desk kind of situation, you know, others are going to prefer to work from the couch. And, you know, we know plenty of famous examples of this point of Zoom calls being taken on, you know, on the toilet at some point, you know, we heard a flush, I think on a Supreme Court call it sometime in April or May. So now that we know that people like to work, not in one specific way, but you know, 1000 different ways. There’s this Cambrian explosion of formats to meet those specific needs. And exactly like we were talking about, it’s not always in a glass conference room, actually watched a Hollywood industry table read happening at the beach, where everybody was, you know, basically tuned in to Zoom. And they were clapping and you know, kind of doing the normal table reading, but 50 people gathered during the pandemic, on the beach, rather than, you know, in a conference room. So I kind of think the financial component is important. The other thing we’re seeing is also that everything must be on demand, I think that the precedent set by Uber, GrubHub, Postmates, you name it, has to now extend to everything. So you know, I think that days of 10-year leases are gone. I apologize to our broker friends in the audience because I know that that’s how some of the incentives work in the industry, but everything definitely does need to get on-demand. So that I can book a conference room, maybe if I have an on-site with my entire team coming in, you know, we need 40 people worth of space. That’s great for one week, but maybe the following week, we only need space for eight people. So that kind of flexibility definitely has to happen. And then the third megatrend that we’re seeing is the unbundling of everything. So we’re seeing this very closely in hotels, for example, where essentially the hotels are now monetizing just access to their pool, even if you’re not a guest that staying in house, right.  Hotels are being able to monetize. Basically, if you want to check out late, we can just tell you, you know, three more hours in your room, for example. So you know, that unbundling, I think is really important. It’s something we’re seeing in restaurants, in malls and you know, all kinds of other spaces. So unbundling, on-demand, and experiential are the three key trends that we’re seeing are that are going to propel exactly what the future of good real estate looks like in this new decade.

Dan Pastewka
You’ve touched on a lot of really interesting trends here. And it sounds like some of those, you know, relate to what Mark was saying earlier. Mark, do you have any take on this as it relates to malls or anything like that?

Mark Landver
Well, retail is not our core focus.  But when you bring up experience, I think of my first day, let’s say at CBRE, when I came off the elevators and I was welcomed by someone and they shook my hand and I got to smell the office. I got to hear conversations go on in the background, I got to hear brokers making deals, so it gave me an agent experience of where I’m going. And those experiences can’t be duplicated on a 2D world. As Philippe was saying, you really need to get all the senses to get a real feel and taste for the experience. So although, you know, we can work from home, I think we lose a lot when we don’t connect with people. And when we don’t, we’re not able to, you know, share those experiences, because I don’t know many times when I’ve gone off of a Zoom call, and I’ve shared that with a bunch of people, I had the best call today, like, you know, no, no offense to Zoom or you guys but like, I just haven’t had that experience where I’m like, running around, like, Oh my God, I just met the coolest person on Zoom. But in person that’s happened to me many times trade shows at conferences or professional events. So I feel like that, you know, having taken away some of those senses from us on Zoom, has taken away from our experience.

Dan Pastewka
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think you touched on something really interesting there. When you talk about that experience of coming into a cube or sitting in an office space and being greeted, I know in our business, we talk about it in a space-as-a-service. And I guess this plays to the on-demand economy and things like that. I guess, something else, and I hadn’t originally planned on talking about this, but there are some people who are kind of viewing this time, as a kind of reset. So we have all of these environmental concerns, and we have these things that maybe we’re not doing right.  Is this an opportunity for us to rethink everything and do it right? So whether that comes to designing spaces, designing tech which is human-centric – is that where we are right now?

Raj Singh
I would say so. I think that, you know, just going back to some of the points that Philippe was making, for example, so much of our experience today is designed not because it is good for humans, but rather because it was expedient at the time that we did it. So you know, even the QWERTY layout of your keyboard originates from a typewriter that needed to basically slow down how quickly you can actually input things so that the typewriter would not jam up. And today, we’ve got our phones and other devices, using these kinds of keyboards as the primary means of input for everything, basically, in the digital world. And it still stems from typewriters. I think that if you’re caught getting into a car and driving to a meeting for sometimes hours, flying across the country to close a deal, for example, none of these things are human-centric. We’ve just accepted them previously because they were handed down generation over generation, and it kind of worked for the last hundred years since the last pandemic. And at this time, we actually do have that opportunity, I think, to rethink a lot of it. And frankly, the new generations, you know, the kids that are currently like middle school, high school, that are growing up having their entire reality completely shaken up in a way that I don’t think has really happened in about 100 years at least. They’re not going to stand for this, millennials, which is a chord, but I guess I’m technically part of it.  They brought this reputation of being impatient, not just waiting on hold for, you know, 45 minutes to talk to the power company, for example, which used to be a thing. So, it’s something that that I, I definitely feel very strongly about, because professionally, we’re at the moment, we’re all about making customer service instant. The question is, you know, what happens in 10 years, when we can actually completely rethink the way that we are doing work – the way we are, you know, having a sanctuary at home, and everything in between. So everything seems like it is up for grabs now up and up for reinterpretation, and to Gabe’s point, which I think is super solid, it’s got to be done in a way that is natural for humans, you know, which is that we’re three dimensional, you know, even four-dimensional beings depending on kind of how what metaphysics you subscribe to, and we connect in ways that are way beyond just voice and audio. And piping everything through that doesn’t necessarily give us the full experience. Exactly like we were talking about.

Dan Pastewka
Yeah.

Gabriel Rene
So I think that there’s, and I use the phrase new digital infrastructure, sometimes I use 21st-century infrastructure. In my opinion, we are at a turning point, as a species and as a civilization. And so what we’re facing right now is multiple existential challenges. On one hand, workforce productivity is a bit of a bizarre question, when we really need to rethink our entire incentive structure from an economic and social perspective in context to the environmental externalities that it creates. And so, at the end of the day, whereas a lot of those, you know, there are other conferences where people are asking those questions, and we are the intersection.  And then the interdependencies of those kinds of architectural and engineering and design challenges, and I mean, almost like social civilizational organizational design, cultural challenges are at the heart of the things that impact, even questions around what the future of work might look like the future of real estate or the future of productivity, right. And so the tools that we’re working with today, and once were like, how do we maximize productivity? How do we maximize space? So how do we sort of maximize assets and the outputs that we can get from it? But I think we all know that really, the question is like, what will this civil as well this generation do to upgrade civilization? And will we succeed or fail? Failure looks like real extra bad, like dinosaur bad. Success looks like Renaissance 2.0, like global Renaissance, the first generation to be both and globally connected to build a global civilization to deal with new kinds of ways of thinking about infrastructure, and social justice and economic economics and, and our relationship with health. I like what Mark said about the idea of, you know, we need more green in our environments, we need more air in our environments, the outside needs to come inside, and we need to go outside and do our readings on the beach. But of course, the air needs to be there, the water needs to be healthy, all these other factors. So we’re recognizing our interdependencies. And there’s this nice, sort of really powerful intersection between technology and humanity. And, and so I think it’s we’re on the verge of Renaissance 2.0. And it’s up to, you know, people in this audience, and it’s up to, you know, all of us at every level to really grab this opportunity. It’s a once in a civilization sort of generational opportunity. We’re the generation but it seems kind of pass or fail. So I, you know, I think we should go for the full upgrade on this one. And I hope to see you all and in whatever future smart world that looks like.

Dan Pastewka
Absolutely. And I know I could have this discussion for hours. But sadly, we’re actually already at the end of our 45 minutes. So I just want to thank again, the Infinity festival for allowing us to host this. I want to thank you all for taking time out of your mornings to do this. We’re really grateful to have you, and to everyone watching, thank you for watching, and we’ll see you in the next one.

Mark Landver
Awesome, thank you.

Gabriel Rene
Thanks, everybody.

Derek Newton
Thanks, everybody. Thank you.