“We will never sacrifice service to our existing customers to growth. We just won’t.
Our first priority is taking care of our customers.”
Merri Jo Cowen is the CEO of Stellar MLS, the third-largest regional MLS in the US with nearly 60K members in 16 REALTOR Associations throughout Central and Southwest Florida and Puerto Rico. Formerly known as My Florida Regional MLS, the organization’s recent rebrand is inspired by its reputation as the country’s most customer-focused MLS and intention to design a curated experience for each subscriber. Merri Jo’s resume also includes a 6-year run as CEO of Northern Nevada Regional MLS, and in her 35-plus years in the industry, she served as president of CMLSand played an integral role in the development of the CMLXprofessional accreditation program.
Today, Merri Jo shares her journey from entering listing input at the Reno Board of Realtors to CEO of Stellar, offering insight around the challenges she faced in moving from NNRMLS to MFRMLS in 2008. She discusses her commitment to foster future industry leaders, her involvement in the MLS Grid, and her proactive approach to solving for front-end of choice. Listen in to understand how MFRMLS has grown under Merri Jo’s leadership—without sacrificing service—and learn how the organization is working to create a ‘curated customer journey’ for each of its members.
Merri Jo’s journey from entering listing input to MLS CEO
Merri Jo’s commitment to foster future industry leaders
Merri Jo’s leadership in developing the CMLX program
The challenges of moving from NNRMLS to MFRMLS
The experience of expanding Stellar to include Puerto Rico
What inspired the rebranding of MFRMLS to Stellar MLS
Stellar’s emphasis on creating a curated customer journey
Why Merri Jo sees value in being part of the MLS Grid
Merri Jo’s proactive approach to solving front-end of choice
Connect with Merri Jo:
Email: ceo [at] stellarmls [dot] com
Rather than trying to predict the future of real estate and act accordingly, Gene Millman is working to collaborate with brokerages to create the future together. He comes to MLS leadership from a unique perspective, leveraging his experience running a brokerage to find ways to say YES to his members and champion the industry as a whole.
Gene is the CEO of Northern Nevada Regional MLS. With 32 years of experience in the real estate industry, he served as an agent, broker-manager and broker-owner before making the transition to MLS executive. Greg has held key leadership roles with various local, regional and state associations, and his recognitions and honors include Realtor of the Year for the Delaware Association of Realtors and Hall of Fame Inductee at the New Castle County Board of Realtors.
Today, Gene explains how serving on the board at TRENDintroduced him to the MLS world and how working on consolidation ignited his passion for the space. He introduces us to his mission to partner with brokers and create a future together. Gene also offers his predictions around the potential iBuyer market share and shares his take on portals as a broker versus MLS exec. Listen in for insight on creating culture within a team and securing buy-in for your vision—and learn how Gene’s background as a broker influences his approach to running an MLS.
How serving at TREND introduced Gene to the MLS world
How MLS consolidation ignited Gene’s passion for the space
The differences among governance models from MLS to MLS
Gene’s approach to running the MLS to serve the brokers
Why Gene doesn’t believe that the MLS is under threat
The MLS’s responsibility to secure data, give brokers control
Gene’s aim to partner with brokers + create a future together
How a market correction may impact views toward the MLS
Gene’s take on portals as a broker-owner vs. MLS executive
Gene’s predictions around the potential iBuyer market share
The value in creating culture + getting buy-in for your vision
Connect with Gene:
Glenn Kelman has always had the ambition to make real estate better for consumers. But it took him a while to realize that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to do that. He came into the game with an US vs. THEM mentality, assuming that all of Redfin’s competitors were villains and snake oil salesmen. To his relief, it turned out that his industry rivals were actually good people. And while that doesn’t make him any less driven, he does concede that this shift in perspective has made him ‘not quite so insufferable.’
Glenn Kelman is the President and CEO of Redfin, a technology-powered brokerage designed to redefine real estate in the customer’s favor. Prior to Redfin, Glenn cofounded the startup Plumtree Software and served as its VP of Marketing & Product Management until its acquisition in 2005. Glenn has been the CEO of Redfin for the past 13 years, and under his leadership, the company was twice named Innovator of the Year by Inman News. Redfin went public in July of 2017, and today, its market cap is $1.82B.
Today, Glenn explains why he still feels like an underdog, despite Redfin’s success. He weighs in on running a mission-driven company, discussing his aim to ‘do something good for real estate consumers’ whether Redfin makes money or not. Glenn also covers the civil nature of the relationship between Redfin and Zillow, Redfin’s new partnership with Re/Max, and the impetus behind Redfin’s ‘buy without an agent’ feature. Listen in for Glenn’s insight on cultivating agent professionalism and learn how his perception of the competition has changed over time.
Why Glenn still feels like an underdog despite Redfin’s success
Glenn’s aim to ‘do something good for real estate consumers’
Glenn’s take on the tribal nature of American politics
How becoming a father has made Glenn a better leader
The learning culture Glenn works to cultivate at Redfin
How Glenn’s perspective of his competitors has changed
Glenn’s solutions-based approach to candor with employees
How Glenn is driven by the desire to live up to his potential
The civil nature of the relationship between Redfin and Zillow
How Redfin addresses the idea of agent professionalism
The impetus behind Redfin’s new partnership with Re/Max
What inspired Redfin’s new ‘buy without an agent’ feature
Connect with Glenn:
“A phone call is worth a thousand emails, and a Slack channel is worth a million conversations.”
RESO’s push for an industry shift from RETS to Web API makes a lot of developers nervous. You can spin your wheels for days trying to figure out how to make the new way to consume MLS data work with your application. But here’s the thing: Somebody else has probably already solved that problem. So, how do we create a platform where developers can team up to move adoption forward? How much does accessibility to the experts serve as a game-changer in the switch to Web API?
Jon Druse is a Senior Developer at W+R Studios, a software company dedicated to building tools for the real estate industry. Prior to W+R, he served as a Software Engineer and Interaction Designer with Socialcast, Sleepy Giant, and Central Desktop and cut his teeth as a Senior Developer at PhishMe, Inc. Jon has 11-plus years of experience in the industry, and he was recently responsible for leading Cloud Agent Suite’s shift away from RETS, making W+R the first vendor to put Web API into production.
Today, Jon explains why direct access to ‘people with answers’ was critical to his success on the project. He describes how Web API is less error-prone and requires fewer requests than RETS yet displays in the same format. Jon also discusses the minimal differences among Bridge, Trestle and Spark when it comes to replication of a data set. Listen in to understand why collaboration among developers is key in moving Web API adoption forward and learn how Jon was able to make the transition happen at W+R in just 6 months!
How John set up the Web API feed in W+R’s Cloud Agent Suite
Why accessibility to ‘people with answers’ was crucial to Jon’s success
RESO’s push for an industry shift from RETS to Web API
The intention behind RESO’s Replication Workgroup
How Web API outperforms RETS in terms of time and accuracy
How a common schema will solve for maintenance in Web API
The 3 vendor-MLS partnerships delivering data through Web API
The minimal differences among Bridge, Trestle and Spark for replication
Jon’s insight around how to move Web API adoption forward
How Jon taught himself to program working tech support at a high school
Connect with Jon:
In a world where national brands like Zillow and Realtor.com dominate search results, how can individual brokerage websites compete? And how do real estate brokerages stay relevant as the iBuyer market continues to grow? Eric Stegemann believes the firms that adapt and take on alternative options for transacting will be well-placed for the future—and adopting the right real estate tech is a big part of that solution.
Eric is the founder and CEO of TRIBUS, a custom brokerage platform vendor tasked with providing medium and large real estate firms with made-to-order websites, intranet, email marketing, transaction management and CRM systems. Eric became a licensed agent at the age of 18 and started his own tech-oriented brokerage, River City Real Estate, at 21. In short order, River City became the largest independent brokerage in St. Louis due in large part to its real estate tech innovations, which became the framework for TRIBUS. Eric is often called upon to speak at industry events, including Inman Connect and the NAR Annual Conference.
Today, Eric explains why brokerage websites still matter in the age of Zillow and Trulia, discussing what differentiates a TRIBUS site from the national brands. He shares his conservative approach to growth for TRIBUS and offers advice for aspiring vendors in terms of building trust and fixing your mistakes. Listen in for Eric’s insight around the challenges facing brokerages today and get his industry predictions on MLS consolidation, the changing role of the agent, and potential winners in the iBuyer market.
How Eric started selling real estate to pay for college
What inspired Eric’s shift from broker to software vendor
The meaning behind the company name, TRIBUS
TRIBUS’ aspiration to be a zebra rather than a unicorn
Eric’s take on the challenges facing brokerages today
Eric’s insight on why brokerage websites still matter
How TRIBUS customer sites rank in Google search results
How local content differentiates a TRIBUS site from Zillow
TRIBUS’ pioneering collaborative search mechanism
How brokers can build their own iBuyer programs
Eric’s top advice for vendors on persistence and presence
Eric’s predictions on MLS consolidation + iBuyer success
Connect with Eric: