Fireside chats — one-on-one discussions between industry players at conferences — are typically genial events.
But one such discussion held at a real estate conference in Munich this week was anything but friendly. At Real Expo 2019, New York-based tech investor and consultant Duke Long assailed Morten Lund, the co-founder and CEO of Danish vacation-rental startup Poshtel International.
“Anyone want to ask, other than ‘how fucking stoned are you right now,’” he said, when asking his audience for questions at the end of the 30-minute heated talk. During an almost five-minute long video of the exchange obtained by The Real Deal, Long can be seen saying the word “fuck” nine times.
Long is figure in commercial real estate technology circles, and serves as a consultant, blogger and investor. Among his roles, he is the entrepreneur-in-residence for REach, a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors’ investment arm, Second Century Ventures.
Lund’s firm, which he co-founded alongside starchitect Bjarke Ingels in 2017, offers upscale pop-up vacation rentals made from shipping containers. In a promo video displayed at the conference, he featured a clip shot at Burning Man, the raucous Nevada festival that attracts thousands of people to the desert.
Long described how one of his friends attended Burning Man, ran around “half naked” and “tried to solve all the world’s problems.” He then accused Lund’s firm of underscoring the culture of Burning Man as a way to make profit.
“To me, this is the same kind of bullshit. We’re rich as fuck, we’re going to go out and talk about all this stuff, and make sure we’re making bank.”
At times, Long’s tirade bordered on incoherence. In one exchange, he skewered Lund for his firm’s messaging that aims to get its customers outside of urban areas.
“It’s easier to say I’m anti-as-shit, I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can talk about erections all day and it’s cute, right?” he said. “But its not competing against everyone who’s fucking really good at it.”
Lund, who spent much of the chat with his arms crossed and uncomfortably shifting in his chair, tried to defend himself. He said he’s not against traditional vacation real estate offerings.
“I just think it’s boring,” he said.
After Long accused Lund further about his firm’s high-minded messaging, Lund said his firm would not enter the American market while Donald Trump is president, and then added “everything from America is stupid.”
In an email, Long said he stood by his comments. He said that he was not there as a representative of the NAR, but for the organizers of the event.
Silvia Hendricks, a spokesperson for the event, said that there were several hundred panels during the show featuring close to 500 speakers, who, she said, represent themselves.
“Usually everybody acts in a constructive way,” she said via email. “We as organizer prefer clearly constructive discussions.”
Quintin Simmons, a spokesperson for the NAR, said Long “does not represent NAR in any official capacity and he represents himself.”
Lund, who was on the receiving end of Long’s tirade, dismissed the comments and signalled that his Danish roots would prepare him for another spar with Long.
“It’s what the organiser paid for,” Lund wrote in an email. “Vikings takes no prisoners when assaulted enough.”