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Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios and publisher of Vendor Alley, talks real estate technology with the people who are shaping it.
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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

 

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