Info

Listing Bits

Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios and publisher of Vendor Alley, talks real estate technology with the people who are shaping it.
RSS Feed
Listing Bits
2017
September
August
May
March
February
January


2016
December


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: May, 2017
May 22, 2017

The Upstream Pivot with FBS CEO Michael Wurzer

I had a chance to sit down with Mike Wurzer again at NAR Midyear to discuss the recent announcement about Upstream, well not really doing upstream anymore.  This was recorded before NAR announced the details to their additional funding.  More on that in a later blog post.

The first step of problem-solving is to assign blame. Right?

 

That seems to be part of Upstream’s tactics in explaining their delayed progress at NAR’s May Legislative Meeting in DC. They succeeded in raising the heartrate of today’s guest – by implying that a lack of cooperation from vendors is to blame for the snail’s pace of the project. Upstream also made a big announcement regarding what they term as a pivot, but may be more appropriately called a 180.

 

Michael Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, an employee-owned company committed to exceeding customer expectations. Their signature product, Flexmls, is a standards-driven technology platform connecting real estate professionals to their customers with collaboration tools that deliver timely and accurate information. FBS products serve 185 organizations and 2,000-plus agents in the real estate sector.

 

Under Wurzer’s leadership for the past 20 years, FBS has worked to constantly evolve and embrace change. They were among the first to build a web-based system, striking a balance between the stability of being an established company and creating a culture of innovation. Today he examines the Upstream pivot in detail, discussing how the Upstream messaging has evolved over time, the pain points the initiative was working to address, and the need to foster collaboration among industry players.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

The major players in the Upstream initiative

How the Upstream messaging has evolved over time

The major Upstream pivot announced at NAR’s Legislative Meetings

How the pivot was influenced by feedback from experienced MLS professionals

Greg’s take on the fundamental change in premise of the Upstream initiative

The pain points the Upstream project was working to address

  • Ability to sync listings
  • Integration with third party products

The buy-in for Upstream from big brands

Upstream’s explanation for its delayed progress

The need to foster collaboration among industry players rather than assigning blame

  • All focused on solving broker problems

The CMLS campaign to highlight the value of the MLS

The controversy over RPR’s team of developers

The confusion re: the meaning of a ‘live demo’

The ability to enter a listing from third-party system as a RESO objective

The evolution of technology in the real estate software space

  • ‘We’re building the airplane as we’re flying it’

Success stories in MLS system consolidation

The beauty of competition in shaping market dynamics

Zillow’s next steps in light of the Upstream pivot

The need for clarity of communication re: syndication

What the Upstream pivot means for AMP

Wurzer’s prediction of what’s next in real estate tech innovation

Upstream as ‘another option’ rather than a revolution

 

Resources:

 

Realtor Magazine Article

 

“Upstream Returns to Earth” by Matt Cohen

 

Connect with Michael Wurzer:

 

Email mwurzer@flexmls.com

Twitter

Blog

 

May 15, 2017

Henry Ford is credited with saying, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ True innovation provides you with the tools you didn’t even know you needed. Today’s guest understands the challenges of the real estate industry, and he created a platform that provides a unique solution tailored to the work we do. A solution that will make you wonder how you ever did without!

 

Tyler Gordon is the CEO and Founder of Agent Inbox, an all-in-one communications platform that empowers MLSs to launch a market-wide platform that allows every agent to communicate with every other agent about any listing, from any device, within any product. Agent Inbox seeks to build the messaging infrastructure so that everyone involved in the real estate transaction (including vendors) can effectively communicate via one system.

 

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in finance, Gordon went to work for Grooveshark, an on-demand streaming music service, where he built their data products and market research team, boasting a research panel of over 300,000 participants. From there, he joined the family business, a real estate brokerage in south Florida. Realizing just how difficult it was to be a real estate agent, Gordon set out to solve some of the problems he encountered – and Agent Inbox was born. Today, Gordon explains the nuts and bolts of Agent Inbox, sharing how the tool works with any app under the MLS umbrella. Listen and learn the benefits of a single communication system that connects all the stakeholders involved in the real estate transaction!

What’s Discussed: 

The shift in how people communicate

  • Agents have migrated away from phone/email

The idea behind Agent Inbox

  • Create market-wide messaging platform
  • Every agent can communicate with every other agent

The installation of Agent Inbox

  • Integrated directly into MLS link
  • App is available to download, but not necessary to use the service

How to access Agent Inbox

How the Agent Inbox infrastructure might be used to include other industry stakeholders

  • MLS
  • Association
  • Vendors

The benefits of Agent Inbox

  • Sits on top of any product in MLS
  • Allows for live, contextual conversation

How Agent Inbox was conceived

The trend toward specialized products

Where Agent Inbox is already up and running

The user-friendly nature of Agent Inbox

The benefits of messaging (vs. email)

  • 99% of people open, 95% respond
  • Socially acceptable to wait several days before responding to email

 

Resources:

Intercom Customer Messaging Platform

Slack Team Messaging

Connect with Tyler Gordon:

Agent Inbox

Email tyler@agentinbox.com

May 9, 2017

LIVE from the RESO Spring Conference 2017

 

‘…You’re building a new infrastructure. You’re building a brand new interstate, and one of the hardest things is the off ramp and the on ramp.’

RETS has been a solid technology standard for fifteen years, and many vendors are resistant to make the change to API. But as the needs of mobile shift the industry, a new ‘interstate’ is necessary. Today’s guest is prepared to discuss the details of this controversial pivot.

Jeremy Crawford is the CEO of RESO, the organization responsible for the creation, promotion and adoption of standards in the real estate industry. RESO seeks to fuel innovation and help streamline the real estate transaction. Crawford has been involved with RESO since 2010, serving on its Board of Directors and co-leading the Education and Outreach Workgroup. He has a unique combination of talent and experience, with an extensive background in information technology and corporate management. After graduating from East Tennessee State University with a degree in computer science, he landed an IT position with Safeco Insurance. From there, he worked in network management for BB&T Corporation and MarketLinx (a division of CoreLogic). His resume also includes leadership roles as CIO of SANDICOR, CIO and COO of MLSListings, and COO of Aculist.

Crawford explains the need for a pivot away from RETS to API, the benefits of saved search portability, and the progress of the transition to date. Listen in to understand the steps being taken to improve the permissioning process and who might play a role in further advances.

 

What’s Discussed: 

The controversial pivot to API

  • Resistance from traditional vendors
  • Interstate analogy (on and off ramps)
  • Shifting needs require API
  • Parallel uses of both RETS and API likely

The progress of the move to API

  • Distribution piece complete
  • Updates component under development

The vendors who are taking advantage of API capabilities

The benefits of switching to API for established vendors

  • API built to access data on the fly
  • Can still replicate data, but have option not to
  • Saved search portability

Progress with regard to the challenges of permissioning

  • Standardized data licensing agreements
  • NAR turnaround time policy for IDX access
  • Access to developmental data feeds to facilitate product development

Who is responsible for permissioning process

  • RESO R&D Workgroup drafting best practices
  • Brokers must help shepherd process along

 

Resources:

AgentSquared 

Agent Inbox

 

Connect with Jeremy Crawford:

RESO

Twitter

May 7, 2017

LIVE from the RESO Spring Conference 2017!

In a world where your every move is tracked via geocode through your Starbucks orders and Instagram posts, there is an abundance of data. And those who know how to interpret that information can learn an awful lot about a person and her behavior, using it to either market or serve … or both. The world of real estate is no different, and there is much buzz in the industry regarding an innovative new data solutions product for agents.

Remine is a Big Data company that delivers predictive analytics to real estate professionals exclusively through their MLS. They analyze property records, transactional history and consumer data to determine someone’s propensity of buy, sell or refinance a home. Their user interface utilizes heat maps and other visualizations to help real estate professionals contextualize data, identify new leads and win more business. The team is comprised of successful agents who understand the needs of real estate professionals.

 

Jonathan Spinetto is the COO of Remine, and he has been a licensed agent since 2002. Using his own custom technology systems, Spinetto has completed over 3,000 single family residential transactions. As both a practitioner and a technologist who offers unique insight into industry trends, he delivers keynotes internationally around Big Data in real estate.

Lucie Fortier is the newly appointed VP of Product. She brings an understanding of the MLS space and a great deal of implementation experience to the Remine team. Fortier spent the last five years as Senior Director of Operations at CoreLogic, where she was accountable for the support and execution of a suite of Real Estate web-based applications delivered to 600,000-plus agents in the US and Canada.

Spinetto and Fortier articulate the specifics of the Remine product and how it ties together property attributes with data about people in order to provide meaningful insight for agents. Listen and learn how Remine is different from other companies that offer predictive analytics and why they chose to partner with MLSs.

What’s Discussed:  

How Remine employs data to help agents find prospects

Why Remine doesn’t fit into a particular product category

The types of data Remine has aggregated and linked to MLS data

  • Contact info
  • Property data
  • Mortgage data
  • Airbnb data
  • Predictive analytics
  • Individual stats about residents
  • Parcels

Why Fortier joined the Remine team

The beauty of providing meaningful insight that agents can use

The difference between Remine and other companies that offer predictive analytics

  • MLS-centric (available to all members)

How Remine democratizes the data to help agents be proactive

How Remine fills a gap in the real estate tech space

Why Remine chose to partner with MLSs rather than sell directly to agents

The importance of face-to-face demos

The necessity of stewardship when it comes to data sharing

  • Privacy concerns
  • Shift in societal norms

The responsibilities of a company like Remine to share appropriate personal information

  • Controlling product delivery via coordination with MLS systems helps stop bad actors

The Remine implementation schedule

What Fortier brings to the table as VP of Product

  • Understanding of MLS space and how agents use applications
  • Experience in implementation

How Remine adjusts predictive analytics to localize to a given area

How Remine is funded

 

Connect with Jonathan Spinetto and Lucie Fortier:

 

Remine

May 3, 2017

Pioneering Innovation in Real Estate Tech with WolfNet CEO Joel MacIntosh

LIVE from the RESP Spring Conference 2017!

Talk about being at the forefront of new technologies… Today’s guest was working to develop ecommerce in the mid-1990s, streaming video in 1998, and consolidating MLS data in 2000.

Joel MacIntosh is the CEO of WolfNet Technologies, a real estate tech pioneer offering highly configurable IDX and VOW property search applications, MLS data standardization services, and property search API services. WolfNet accesses data from 600-plus MLSs in North America, offering the most accurate and up-to-date MLS data in the business, and the company serves national franchises, brokers, agents and MLSs.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management with a BS in Entrepreneurship and Business Management, MacIntosh founded WolfNet in 1996 as a work-for-hire web development company. WolfNet moved into the real estate space in 2000 when a broker approached the firm with an interest in "Broker Reciprocity", and they have been developing groundbreaking products and services for the industry ever since.

MacIntosh was recently named one of the 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate for a reason, and today he shares how WolfNet stays on the cutting-edge of real estate software innovation. Listen and learn about their flagship products and services as well as projects in the works around photo image categorization and AI.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

WolfNet’s journey from work-for-hire web development to real estate tech

WolfNet’s flagship products

Why MacIntosh favors the consulting aspect of his work in the data space

How WolfNet pioneered data sharing among MLS systems

  • Up and running in Minnesota since 2001
  • Big growth from 2008-2012
  • Just added 635th MLS

Why most bigger players prefer direct database access over RETS

The benefits for WolfNet of building their own API

The two main WolfNet customer profiles

  • Established companies who want the data
  • Newer ‘bootstrap’ firms who want a transactional API

The ‘magic number’ of MLS markets at which point a company benefits from aggregating the data itself

How the numbers validate the concept of consolidation

  • Fewer than 10 MLSs have more than 100,000 active listings
  • 118 MLSs have 25,000-plus active listings
  • It takes 234 MLSs to get to 90% of the listing inventory
  • 500 MLSs comprise roughly 8.6% of the inventory and just 3,000 listings

WolfNet’s client base

How the data services component of WolfNet was conceived and productized

The built-in permissioning WolfNet offers

How WolfNet’s additional features connect data points to add significant value

  • Photo processing to generate thumbnails
  • Address data processing
  • Acquiring public records data

What is involved in WolfNet’s image categorization and tagging project

  • Identifies the category of room pictured in a photo (i.e.: kitchen, mudroom)
  • Distinguishes specific attributes (e.g.: white kitchen with stainless steel appliances)
  • Utilizes technology trained via neural network and human tools
  • 100,000,000 photos processed
  • MacIntosh anticipates release at the end of next quarter

WolfNet’s new data loader product

Vendors introducing AI in the real estate software space that impress MacIntosh

 

Connect with Joel MacIntosh:

 

WolfNet Website

1