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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.
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Jan 28, 2017

Michael Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, Creators of Flexmls. FBS is a 100% employee-owned company, and every employee-owner is committed to exceeding customer expectations. Flexmls is a standards-driven technology platform connecting real estate professionals to their customers with collaboration tools that deliver timely and accurate information. Their products serve 185 organizations and 2,000-plus agents in the real estate sector.

Before taking over for his father at FBS, Wurzer enjoyed a seven-year career in law, primarily defending publicly traded companies in class action litigation. He also worked as the Assistant General Counsel for Aveda, a botanically-based hair and skin care manufacturer for beauty professionals. The method of thinking employed in legal analysis and writing provided unique preparation for his eventual work in the field of real estate tech.

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. On this episode of the podcast, Wurzer examines the staying power of the MLS, real estate software product integration and the implementation of industry standards. Listen in to find out how building relationships provides the foundation for FBS’s success.


What’s Discussed: 

- How a law background benefits Wurzer in the real estate tech industry
Talent in writing and communicating have been integral to his work with FBS
- The evolution of real estate tech community-building online
- The continued need for integration among real estate software programs
- Wurzer’s take on new initiatives like AMP and Upstream
- The source of anti-MLS sentiment
- The challenge of implementing standards in real estate tech
- How to solve the industry’s permissioning problem
- Wurzer foresees expanding agreements so that belonging to one MLS will provide access to a broader pool of data that can then be used
As long as the broker has permission, the vendor should have permission
- The necessity of reinventing yourself in the real estate tech business
FBS is actively developing leadership that embraces change

 

Connect with Michael Wurzer:

Email mwurzer@flexmls.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/mwurzer
Blog https://www.flexmls.com/blog/

 

Jan 24, 2017

The Notorious R.O.B., Robert Hahn, is Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, a real estate consulting firm that specializes in developing and implementing corporate strategy including product management, brand marketing and social networking.

Hahn has a wide range of experience. His holds a BA in Philosophy from Yale and a graduate degree from NYU School of Law. After working briefly for a firm, he took a 98% pay cut to work as a magazine editor. Hahn’s diverse resume also includes positions at USA Networks, Inc., Kinesis Marketing and Realogy.

Hahn launched his consulting career in 2009 with the formation of 7DS Associates. He also writes a popular real estate blog, The Notorious R.O.B., and co-hosts the real estate podcast Trialogues which addresses technology, marketing and leadership in the real estate industry.

Hahn is a sought-after keynote speaker and change agent who thrives on speaking his mind and shaking things up in the real estate industry. On this episode of the podcast, he speaks to the nature of his consulting work, his candid approach to identifying industry challenges and the impending mood shift regarding standards for agents and brokers. Listen and learn what’s next for Hahn as makes an exclusive announcement about a new venture.
  

What’s Discussed: 

- The pros and cons of consulting
The “eat what you kill” model means you must continually prove value
- The differences between commercial and residential real estate
- The “tyranny of politeness” in the industry and why Rob and Greg feel a responsibility to speak their minds

- Hahn’s take on the biggest issue in real estate
The preamble to the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics outlines the fiduciary responsibility of agents and brokers
- Why it’s difficult for consumers to evaluate realtors
Lack of transparency
Infrequent contact
- How realtors themselves can help raise standards
- What’s next for Hahn and the details of an upcoming partnership

Connect with Robert Hahn:

Website

Twitter 

Jan 7, 2017

Damien Huze is the Chief Design Officer at W+R Studios. He was born in Paris and grew up in a creative environment, watching his parents design ads on the floor of their home office. When Huze was ready to apply his own talent, the internet was just taking off. He found his medium in building websites, first for his band and then his father.

Huze has known W+R co-founders Greg Robertson and Dan Woolly since the inception of the company in 2008 when they connected over a shared approach to software design. At the time, he was running a design shop called Wake Interactive where his small team did design work for tech-driven companies including Verizon, Target and even Jennifer Lopez. Huze consulted for W+R studios, designing their corporate identity and contributing to the UI/UX of their flagship product, Cloud CMA.

Wake Interactive’s bread and butter was designing usable websites, but Huze eventually wanted to shift his focus to product design. When the opportunity came along to join the W+R team in 2015, he was ready to lead their rebranding effort and apply his talent to design from a product standpoint. On this episode of the podcast, Huze addresses the creative process, the benefits of creative thinking in business and how to view processes as a design task.

  

What’s Discussed: 

-What the creative process entails

-Generating ideas can be frustrating and ugly

-The aha moment when you find a solution is addictive

-Why Boulder is a best case environment for software design

-The level of work happening in the field there is tremendously motivational

-The potential for transformation in the real estate industry

-How businesses benefit from creative thinking

-Design goes beyond simply shaping the way things look

-Processes are a design task, i.e.: hiring, support, etc.

-How Huze approached the rebranding effort at W+R

-A brand survey revealed that the name was the most valuable element of Cloud CMA’s identity

-The rebrand was based on the word “cloud” and employs a very simple mark

-Huze’s team developed Cloud Agent Suite with complementary products identified by color

-Why continuity is the key to a polished image

-An internal transformation was required for W+R to be well-managed from a brand guidelines standpoint

-The changing value proposition of real estate agents

-Agents continue to provide crucial representation as they assist buyers in navigating the process of putting in an offer

-Agents provide local knowledge for buyers who will be joining the community

-Why focusing on one aspect of an agent’s job that is underserved is the best approach to software design

-A product that tries to do too much for too many people is a product that is not great at any specific thing

-The best way to reign in a product manager who is adding too many features

-The goal is to build a product that fixes a problem

-The designer’s job is to figure out if the product manager’s assumptions are correct by asking a lot of questions (Why?) 

Connect with Damien Huze:

@huze

Instagram

Dec 26, 2016

Renwick Congdon is the CEO and founder of Imprev Inc., a trend-setting marketing technologies company based in Seattle. He began his career in the 1980’s as a top-producing loan officer, helping the agents he worked with create personalized marketing fliers and eventually developing software to automate the process. A serial innovator, Congdon went on to write code for the PC and Mac desktop software program Flyerware, which instantly created personalized real estate flyers for agents and brokers.

In 2000, he built Imprev in his garage (literally!), and the company has flourished. Imprev designed the first Enterprise marketing technology solution for real estate brokerage firms, the first multilingual real estate marketing application, the first private-label Marketing Center for a leading franchise, and helped to pioneer MLS integration for automated, data enabled marketing materials. No real estate marketing technology corporation works with more agents or brokers.

An authority in the industry, Congdon speaks regularly on marketing trends and technology. He was an Inman News Innovator Award finalist in both 2004 and 2011, and he serves on the board of directors of the Seattle chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization, a network of more than 8,000 business owners in 40 countries. On this episode of the podcast, he speaks to the benefits of Imprev’s marketing automation, how they became the go-to platform for real estate franchisers, work-life balance and trends in real estate technology.

  

What’s Discussed: 

 

-Why Imprev’s marketing automation platform works especially well for the real estate industry

-Real estate is the only industry where the salesperson is responsible for conceptualizing and creating the marketing as well as distributing it

-With Imprev, a listing automatically triggers the generation of a website, fliers, postcards, video, social media pushes, etc.

-Why Imprev invests in a very large QA team

-Having “too many testers” allows their customer service team to be very small (two people serving 260,000 agents)

-How establishing the ‘why’ of your business can improve work-life balance

-Imprev’s ‘why’ is to have a great place to work with a product they believe in, strong customer relationships

-Renwick’s regret re: not having a partner

-Some venture capitalists won’t invest if you don’t have partners

-Why it is better to let a customer go rather than adding services (i.e.: CMA, CRM) that don’t fit your business model

-Why ease of use is key in developing a platform

-The first time someone gets on the platform, they can use it

-The second time, they are comfortable

-The third time, they’re an expert

-The beauty of automation

-Find the agents that do something the best and codify their best practices for everyone

-Trends in real estate and real estate tech

-Taking one piece of data from a property and using it to pull valid information and market to a particular group

Resources Mentioned: 

Simon Sinek’s Start With Why 

Project Upstream Thought Leader Survey

Results of Imprev’s Fall Thought Leader Survey 2016 

Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report 

 

Connect with Renwick Congdon:

Imprev

@renwickcongdon

 

Learn More About Renwick Congdon:

 

 

Dec 22, 2016

Aloha and welcome to the inaugural episode of Listing Bits! Greg comes to you from Ko Olina, Hawaii, where he is attending Hawaii Life’s Worthshop 6, and chatting with real estate tech leader David Friedman.

Friedman describes himself as a Jewish kid from New York who went to engineering school during the dot-com boom. Interested in startups, he discovered that the real estate brokerage space lagged behind the curve in tech and set out to build a platform during the recession. That idea grew into the formation of

Boston Logic Technology Partners, Inc., an information technology firm whose mission is to help real estate brokerages grow faster by implementing their software and companion services.

As president of Boston Logic, Friedman leads the team in developing the company’s strategic vision. Working with investors, managers and clients, he is involved in the daily operations of the business including hiring, sales and fundraising. He is a metrics oriented sales manager, internet marketing strategist and coach with proven experience as an entrepreneur, growing a company from idea to profitability.

On this first episode of the podcast, Friedman talks about the rapid pace of innovation and growth in the real estate technology vertical, the future of Boston Logic and industry trends in big data and AI.

What’s Discussed: 

Why chaos causes innovation

  • The success of a business over time has no correlation to broader economic trends
  • During a recession, many become entrepreneurs by necessity

Why the real estate industry has been behind the curve in technology

  • When times are good (i.e.: during a boom), people don’t feel the need to innovate

The exponential growth of the real estate software realm

  • From 2013-2014, funding for the formation of new companies went up 4X

How advancements in technology have dramatically increased the pace of innovation

  • Hosting space on the cloud is cheap
  • Building on top of open source architecture allows for the development of a working prototype in weeks (not months)

Why tech tools working together via data connectivity will be the next wave in the industry

The big investment Boston Logic secured from Providence Equity

How Boston Logic will employ the funds from Providence Equity’s backing

  • Invest in the core business
  • Look at acquisitions for growth

The traits of Boston Logic’s ideal client

  • Small or large brokerages
  • More tech forward than the average brokerage
  • Current platform isn’t keeping up, isn’t integrated, or lacks a data sharing component

Trends in real estate tech

  • Utilizing big data in a new way – making dormant data an asset
  • AI – using bots to replace call center employees

 

Resources:

Worthshops.com

 

Connect with David Friedman:

BostonLogic.com

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook 


 

 

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