‘The Future is Already Here. It's Just Not Evenly Distributed’

October 17, 2017

With the theme of “Ready for What’s Next” as the backdrop for this year’s ALTA ONE, ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo opened the conference with a quote from author William Gibson.

“The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed,” Korsmo shared with the more than 1,100 attendees attending ALTA ONE in Miami. “There’s a lot of wisdom in this thought. It gives us some direction as we ponder the potential changes in our industry. The future is already here.”

Self-driving cars, Amazon drones and solar roof shingles are all products that are already available—just not commonly used. Yet.

An example more closely to the title industry is remote online notaries. Legislation allowing these types of closings has already passed in a few states.

“Online notaries are here and some are using them, but it’s not evenly distributed,” Korsmo said. “Online notary is not part of our daily work flow. The question is will it be? And if so how and where?” 

Customer needs will play a large role in how and when title and settlement companies implement online notary processes into their work flow. Having a culture that is connected to your customer is critical to understanding what innovation changes will take hold.

Korsmo shared a message Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in his letter to shareholders. Bezos describes his process for remaining relevant and providing solutions to his customers with what he calls “true customer obsession.” The letter goes on to say “… customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”

“Beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied. That resonates with me,” Korsmo said during her opening keynote. “Just because everyone seems happy doesn’t mean they don’t want more or different. It can drive you to invent of their behalf. I think about it when we work to deliver services to you.” 

Korsmo then outlined several initiates ALTA has developed over the past few years to help members be ready for what’s next and succeed in the market. Some of the recent benefits include:

  • ALTA Best Practices
  • Title Action Network
  • Homebuyer Outreach Program
  • ALTA Registry
  • Our Values

To close her speech, Korsmo challenged the attendees to do three things:

  1. Introduce yourself to someone at an engagement lab who was thought-provoking and tell them why. ALTA ONE engagement labs are designed for discussion and interaction, just like all of ALTA ONE. Take the opportunity to meet someone new and have a meaningful conversation.
  2. Think of the innovation that you’re most skeptical about right now. Maybe it’s artificial intelligence, online notary, or even blockchain and bitcoin.
  3. ALTA ONE is about identifying the one idea that will benefit your business the most. Think about “the one thing” you’ll take back to your team to do differently that gets you closer to obsessive customer focus. It’s the best way to be ready for what’s next.

“Allow yourself to think differently,” Korsmo said. “Allow yourself to think about what’s next. And, allow yourself a little fun while you’re at it.”


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

SoftPro, based in Raleigh, NC, offers a mature suite of products, designed specifically for the closing and title industry. Our mission is to serve our client base, with best-in-class products and services. Our products are modular so we don't force you to buy anything you don't need. You can always add on as your business grows. Unlike other software companies, we view the sale as the beginning of the relationship rather than the end. North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.