Tim Smith was appointed the CEO of online real estate news source Inman News in April. Smith has spent decades in management, primarily in the media and events industries. He was most recently president of Upside Events, and in senior management roles with media companies Future US and 1105 Media. From 2001 to 2006, Smith was vice president at Fawcette Technical Publications, which publishes magazines and an online network of technical sites for information technology and development professionals. From 1991 until 1997 he served as senior director of global events for Oracle, a business software and hardware systems company.
Your background is not in real estate. What interested you in Inman?
The idea of bringing technology and real estate together was sort of fascinating to me. I wanted to merge the two. Working for [Inman News founder and Publisher] Brad Inman, a pioneer in the real estate industry, I want to be able to expand our operations throughout the U.S. and abroad and make it international. What I’m trying to do is bring a fresh approach to technology through the creation of new products.
How do you hope to accomplish that?
I want to take real estate agents from where they currently are and help them through technology like Facebook, or Salesforce.com [an online company service which distributes business software] and the iPad and iPhone. I want them to take the technological knowledge that everyone else has and to be able to integrate it in their work. Through our agent reboot course we try to teach them from start to finish in six hours how to become a better agent. The course also comes with a 30-day social media marketing plan.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned about the market?
It’s as bad off as people said, in terms of numbers of foreclosures and banks unwilling to loan.
What do you see as the direction of the residential real estate market?
It’s on the rebound, slowly but surely.
I think the future looks bright.
When do you think we can start to see improvement?
In eight to 12 months, if the banks open their coffers.
Where do you think the commercial real estate market is headed?
We don’t focus on that at all, since we specialize in the residential side, but I think it will fall before it rebounds.