Editor’s Note: Recently, Convene CEO and co-founder Ryan Simonetti sat down with the team at VTS to talk about the future of real estate and the shift to a tenant-centric strategy from building owners. You can read Ryan’s insights, along with many other industry leaders, in VTS’s new ebook, “The Tenant is Now in Charge”.
VTS: The pivot from a property to a tenant-focused industry is top of mind for many landlords right now. What does it mean to you?
Ryan Simonetti: It signifies a shift in mindset that will transform the way owners design, build, and operate their buildings. Historically, the “customer” for the real estate industry has been the capital markets and not tenants. It wasn’t until recently that landlords even started referring to their “tenants” as “customers.” That shift in wording alone is powerful and signals to me that the industry is at the cusp of a transformation. Things that don’t make sense get disrupted, and there are a lot of things happening in real estate that don’t make sense for tenants and most importantly the employees that interact with these buildings on a daily basis.
VTS: How does data factor into this pivot to tenant-centricity? What data points are most important for landlords to be tracking as they make the shift?
RS: What can be measured, can be managed. Data when used thoughtfully can provide landlords, tenants, and service providers with insights that help them design better spaces, operate efficiently, and deliver better experiences to clients. The shift to tenant-centricity won’t be possible without technology and the data that it generates. At its core, tenant-centricity is about better anticipating the needs of your clients and delivering the experiences they want, when they want them. None of that is possible without data. Things like space utilization, in-building location data, and customer behavior will be important data points that landlords need to track if they want to improve the experience for tenants.
VTS: What would you be doing if you weren’t at Convene or in real estate?
RS: If I wasn’t at Convene or in real estate, I’d either be the founder and CEO of another technology-enabled business or would be campaigning for political office. Outside of my family, my passion in life is building and scaling high growth businesses. There’s honestly nothing else I’d rather be doing. With that said, I am deeply passionate about the public sector and believe that the challenges of our generation require strong leadership in government that we currently do not have. I think more founders and corporate CEO’s will need to make their way into public office before we see any meaningful improvement in the way that we govern. At some point, when my business journey is over I’d like to give political office a shot. Just don’t tell my wife!