July 26, 2014

CRE Museum of Technology – The PikeNet Dispatch

PikeNetIf you’ve been in CRE a while you might remember Peter Pike’s PikeNet Dispatch. His weekly email was read by over 9000 CRE professionals before he wrapped up its 10 year run in 2006.

All the dispatches remain online though there’s no way to search through them.  If you land on one you can only hit the “next” button to read another.  I was doing just that the other day.  It was like a virtual museum of CRE tech.

Early dispatches critiqued CRE related websites or announced intentions to build a website (this was 1996 after all).  As time went on, every new CRE technology player got a write up and Pike occasionally opined on globalism, how the internet was affecting real estate and other “weighty” topics of the time.

Here are some highlights from the one newsletter I actually looked forward to reading each week.

–The first dispatch in 1996 (that wasn’t a test message) included a few paragraphs on Pike’s ISDN installation.  Pike was paying $75 a month for 30 hours of internet access at the then blazing fast speed of 64K.  He also spotlighted Loop Network, the precursor to LoopNet, then an investment and leasing listing service.

–Here’s an interesting bit of info.  CommercialSearch, now owned by Xceligent, was originally a Denver area listing service that displayed listings on a map (in 1996!).

–In early 1997, agents in Arlington, Texas landed a deal on a $5 million apartment complex using CRE specific Listserv lists.  Listservs are still around but back then, they were the only way you could send to a group via email.

–Pike wrote about data standards and the problems with having to enter data in multiple listing services in 1999.  Lots of commenting on that dispatch, including this one from Dave Lewand, then with Prime Group Realty Trust:

“As with any young REIT, we strive to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Updated information concerning buildings and listings in our portfolio may be found on our web site and is diligently updated. As a result, it seems silly to send all updates to Chicago Office Bulletin, CoStar, etc. SEPARATELY.”

–In 2001, Pike predicted online auction services would only play a fringe role in CRE property sales.  He was right.  None of the services listed are alive today, though it looks like Colliers sold off bidforassests.com to another company.

–Pike asked for comments on online ratings/reputation scores for CRE in a 2003 dispatch.  The response was negative with agents likening these sites to gossip columns. (Some things never change…)

–Though Intelligent Office has been around since the mid-1990’s, Pike wondered in 2004 whether virtual office space might reduce the need for traditional leased space.

–A 2006 post on a Realcomm panel’s contention that technology investments don’t necessarily increase the bottom line or increase productivity generated several comments, including one from me.

If you want to take a look for yourself, you can use this “base” URL:

http://www.pikenet.com/dispatch/dispatch96/

Just change the 2 digits after the word “dispatch” (96 in this case) to the year you want to review.  Have a nice trip down memory lane.

Comments

  1. Dominic Zabriskie says:

    Ah yes, PikeNet. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

    A little search hack for *any* website using Google. As an example, if you wanted to search for “Loopnet” just on PikeNet.com, it would be -

    site:pikenet.com Loopnet

    And then, these results appears:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Apikenet.com+Loopnet&oq=site%3Apikenet.com+Loopnet

    Simple as that!

  2. I remember that! Wait, no I don’t. I wasn’t even in high school yet… ;-)

  3. Wow, what a flashback – we’re dating ourselves! Thanks for this Chris, and for the helpful search tips in comments.

  4. Wow – What a blast from the past. Where is Peter now?

    • I tried emailing the address on his website, but it didn’t work. I don’t think he was that old – may be late sixties/early seventies now so hopefully he’s still around enjoying whatever he’s doing…but it doesn’t appear that he’s doing it on the web!

  5. Peter was an amazing forward thinker. He held conferences in SF and NY that were really groundbreaking. We would talk from time to time and in 2001 he offered me a job at PikeNet in SF but I wasn’t prepared to leave Chicago. Some old school Colliers SF brokers would know where he is but they probably won’t tell you!

  6. I still have the audio tape Peter produced in1988 entitled How the Internet Will Change the Way You do Business. An unconfirmed report is he moved to Israel to help with a program such as feed the poor or orphanages or something similar. He was a credible resource and a true professional.

    • Thanks for the “unconfirmed” report – and though I didn’t know him, it seems like something he might do. I’m sure he’s putting his all into whatever he’s doing just like he did with PikeNet.