by Tyler VanWinkle

echnology is a tool, and you need the right tool for the job. Fail in this, and you fail yourself, your company, your entrepreneurial dream, and, per- haps most devastatingly on a practical level, your bottom line. Across modern industries, business leaders have spent the last two decades overcompensating for breaking elec- tronic developments and permitting technology to lead innovation instead of innovating in order to lead technologi- cal evolution. You make the mistake of placing yourself in the unfair and highly limited position of believing technolo- gy will provide all the answers to your problems, if you compel your team to be led by the computer . In real estate, this may manifest in a variety of ways: •  We may try to force our portfolios into management systems too large or too small to fit them; T

•  We might attempt to redefine success- ful strategies or performances based solely on metrics-based computer solutions rather than evaluating the metrics themselves: •  We sometimes congratulate our- selves on avoiding “shiny object syndrome” in our investment tactics all while creating unnecessary complications on the logistical side by constantly “upgrading” to new systems and software. The key to the successful use of tech- nology in real estate is the achievement of cognitive collaboration where data and intuition come together. Human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer will always beat any other combination. To this end, before working on a tech-solvable issue, ask yourself these questions:

•  What are my goals? •  What do I need to learn (and how will I best learn it)? •  What is my hypothesis? •  What data do I need? •  Where/what is my ROI? •  What path do I follow to reach my desired destination or solution? Sure, a lot of companies make da- ta-based decisions because these decisions generally are lower-risk than intuitive ones. However, the ability to combine intuition, creativity, and data brings with it the potential for exponential growth, groundbreaking strategy, and the creative problem-solving talents characteristic of every successful real estate investor. •

Tyler VanWinkle is the CMIO for Affinity Worldwide and a partner of Rivet, a full- service technology and creative agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Learn more at

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