Expanding our horizons through travel, talk and talent

An emphasis on building communities can be heard throughout the real estate world.

The rise of co-working and co-living is at the heart of this push as individuals (often referred to as digital nomads), are on the move for work. With this nomadic status comes the desire for a place to call home where they are surrounded by likeminded individuals – even if only for a week or two.

So, why did the co-revolution lead us to Lisbon last month?

Our Lisbon journey started at the Web Summit, where over 60,000 delegates from more than 170 countries came together for what Forbes described as an event that “creates collisions between start-ups, investors, and others so they share insights and forge relationships”.

Conductor’s reasons for attending encompassed a number of factors however, primarily we wanted to expand our thinking and understanding of what is happening globally in the tech and start up worlds. The name “web” summit is deceiving as talks ranged from Artificial Intelligence (AI), mobility & driverless/flying vehicles on one hand, to social impact and the wellbeing of the planet, on the other. Recurring themes were how we will live in the future and how people will continue to come together in like-minded tribes or communities that together thrive more than any one person would on their own.

Next stop was the Class of 2020 conference where I was fortunate to be invited to moderate a panel on the co-revolution. The panel included David Dattoli from Talent Garden, Klaus Kortebein from Medici Living who bring us The Quarters, a German co-living platform with large expansion plans in the US, and Ines Santos Silver, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State, Portugal. The most prominent theme was, “What comes first; Co-living or Co-working?”! It was fantastic to discuss and debate this topic with such a stellar panel. Take a look at the official Class of 2020 conference video here.

We also conducted a number of visits to new and historical workplace and residential developments, including student accommodation, co-living and residential and both small and large co-working sites. We met with companies who share our values, attended the launch party of a new residential development in up and coming Marvila (they did it with a laid-back Portuguese sense of style – think champagne laden site tour accompanied by Fado), and went to a “Berlin-style” party in a former military factory at Hub Creativo Beato (by Start Up Lisboa) – both interesting, edgy and disrupting the local market.

It would be a shame to travel to any part of Portugal and not see some cultural sites too, Lisbon has a beautiful view or building at every turn.  The MAAT Museum designed by Amanda Levete was a highlight – breath-taking inside and out; LXFactory brings an East London feel to an up and coming area and the historic neighbourhoods of Graca and Alfama are charming – full of locals going about their daily business.

We met some influential and interesting people, including Frank Uffen from Student Hotel – a real highlight as the company’s branding, outlook and expansion plans are all fantastic. Some of the key takeaways from the ‘field trip’ were;

  • Lisbon is open for business
  • Gen Z is the future, and they are different to millennials, so it’s time for everyone to think ahead!
  • Business is always better in the sunshine!

Conductor believe there is a direct correlation between happiness and well-being brought about by people’s homes and lifestyles. Our mission is to ensure people live happier and healthier lives each and every day and we are hugely excited having met so many other businesses from across Europe and the rest of the world who share our vision. Research and delivery of products, services and technologies concerning the interplay between the home, living conditions and wellbeing, were everywhere to be seen at the Web Summit and Class of 2020, as well as people outside of traditional property businesses looking at ways to provide more homes whilst positively impacting the planet and society in a sustainable way. It certainly energised us and affirmed we are on the right track as a business.

“Conductor believe there is a direct correlation between happiness and well-being brought about by people’s homes and lifestyles.”

As I mentioned, our main reason to visit was to learn more about global tech, and tech clearly leads the way – but not in the way we know it. The tech world understands that technology is an enabler, and that, ultimately, people want people. We want human interactions and face time with each other – hence the 60,000 attendees at the ‘Web’ Summit.

Taking ourselves out of our industry and location ‘bubble’ is important to expand our horizons, think, grow and innovate and tech plays a vital role in this, providing new ways of doing things that are more efficient and more effective than some of the old ways. True disruptors aren’t paying lip service to new ideas, they are implementing them, and one key example is the way that Airbnb is shaking up lettings – you can see what I mean in my latest blog post here.

So, all in all a worthwhile trip which excitingly expanded our outlook on how people want to live, throughout the world, now and in the future.