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Read This Now! => Hunger Makes The Best Sauce

Jan 17 17

Real Estate FinTech

by Greg Robertson

This a16z podcast: Real Estate — Ownership, Asset, Economy kind of blew my mind.

“So, right now when you want to find a place to live you’ve got 2 choices. You can rent, which means you own 0% of your home, or you can buy which means you own 100%, usually from the help from a mortgage from a bank.

But why can’t you own 80%? Or 85%? Not only would this make owning a way more affordable, but, it would also mean you wouldn’t have 300% of your net worth tied up in this one asset which is completely against all standards of diversification.

Mind blown.

Jan 16 17


by Greg Robertson

“And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan 12 17

Jim Link retires

by Greg Robertson

How a Granada Hills High grad turned an internship into a 46-year career in real estate

In 1998 Link received the William R. Magel Award of Excellence from the National Association of Realtors. “The William R. Magel Award of Excellence is presented annually to an individual who has truly excelled in his or her role as an association executive of a Realtor association,” according to the national group’s website.

I’ve had many conversations with Link over the years. He never mentioned this honor.

I learned of the award on Friday in a conversation with industry veteran Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli, the 2016 president of the California Association of Realtors and a past president of the SRAR.

He’s known Link for 40 years and said that his influence extended beyond the Valley.

“I can tell you on every big committee, not only on the state but on the national level, Jim was always asked to serve,” said Zicarelli. “They used Jim for research and development and strategy. He’s a pretty savvy guy and has the personal touch dealing with people. He’s done remarkably well, not only for himself but four our association. We’re the fourth largest in the state now.”

Tim Johnson, the association’s COO, was tabbed to be the association’s new CEO.

I only met Jim a couple times, doubt he would remember me. But one thing I always remember about SRAR was they were the first Association/MLS to implement Wyldfyre. Some of you might remember SRAR’s EVP, Mary Lou Wiliams too. She had retired about 4 years ago. Pretty gutsy move to install a new system like that back in the day.

Good luck Jim!

Jan 12 17

Clareity’s “DASH!” gaining traction

by Greg Robertson

Best Broker Tech for 2017: Clareity’s DASH!

“DASH! is the broker version of Clareity’s popular Single Sign-On Dashboard, a product that serves over 200 MLS and Association customers. Unlike common intranet platforms, Clareity is able to offer its integration library with over 250 SSO enabled real estate apps and service partners. This makes set up simple for brokers, and daily workflow seamless for staff and agents. This one centralized, broker-branded platform lets agents access the MLS and have one-click access to every product offered by their brokerage. Most importantly, DASH is a communication platform that allows brokers to message with their agents during their daily work flow and create a personalized experience for every user.”

Boy, do those blue and green logos on the right hand side sure look good!

Jan 11 17

Bright MLS launches new website

by Greg Robertson

Check it out. Looks good.

“A new era of MLS is here.

The real estate industry is undergoing exponential change. The physical,
political and philosophical boundaries of MLSs no longer fulfill what
brokerages need to conduct business. We are changing that.”

I just love the audacity of this copy. I have a feeling the scale of this will be a lot bigger than anyone thinks.

Jan 9 17

Swanepoel Power 200 includes over 10 MLS executives

by Greg Robertson

Well its that time of year again. The 2017 Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) was released today.

“Each year the Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) holds a mirror up to the industry and asks: Who are the most powerful and influential people in residential real estate?

Power is an elusive concept, defined as “the ability or right to control people, companies or the industry.” But power can also exist even when it is not exercised. The concept is not easy or straightforward, so you can just imagine the healthy debate involved in creating this list every year.

But we all agree what power is not. It is not a popularity contest. It is not based only on a single criterion such as head count, office count or revenue. And it is never “pay to play.”

The list includes a lot of familiar names in the MLS industry.

Bob Hale is the highest ranked MLS executive on the list, coming in at #32, here’s the parsed list…

#32 Bob Hale, President and CEO, Houston Association of Realtors
#59 David Charron, President and CEO, MRIS
#70 Art Carter, CEO, CRMLS
#114 Teresa King Kinney, CEO, Miami Association of Realtors
#131 Tom Philips, CEO, TREND MLS
#133 Jim Harrison, President and CEO, MLSListings
#143 Merri Jo Cowen, CEO, My Florida Regional MLS
#145 John Mosey, President, Northstar MLS
#153 Rebecca Jensen, President and CEO, MRED
#159 Kathy Condon, President and CEO, MLS Property Information Network
#198 Matt Consalvo, CEO, ARMLS

Some notable vendors also made the list

#37 Dale Ross, CEO, RPR
#43 Chris Bennett, General Manager, CoreLogic
#57 Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer, Zillow Group
#129 Marty Frame, President, RPR
#147 Gregg Larson, CEO, Clareity
#152 Marilyn Wilson & Victor Lund, Founders, The WAV Group
#175 Alex Lange, CEO, UpstreamRE
#177 Mike Wurzer, President and CEO, FBS
#179 Me : )
#196 Mitch Skinner, Managing Partner, Larson/Skinner

and last (#200) but not least, Marty Reed, Vice President, Black Knight Financial Services. Yay Marty!

Also Kirby Slunaker, CEO of REColorado and former CMLS President, Shelley Specchio, new CEO of MIBOR was named on a list of “Trendsetters”

Congrats to everyone!

Jan 7 17

The Business of Design in Real Estate Tech – Listing Bits Episode 3

by Greg Robertson

Damien Huze, CDO at W+R Studios, talks design

You can also download the Listing Bits podcast on iTunes

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 Woolley 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?)

Resources Mentioned:

Welcome to the W+R Studios Team Damien!

The New Face of Our Brand

W+R Studios hires chief design officer, prepares for launch of Cloud MLX

Connect with Damien Huze:



Jan 5 17

Can your MLS do that?

by Greg Robertson

Agents are just loving Cloud Streams, here’s why

Jan 4 17

Is XOME and Real Estate Digital (RED) being sold to FNF/Black Knight?

by Greg Robertson

Rumor alert!

The Vendor Alley Tip Line is lighting up with rumors that FNF/Black Knight (unclear) might be acquiring XOME and RED, or even Nationstar as a whole.

Know anything? Share your wisdom in the comments.

Jan 2 17

MLS executives make Inman News’ list of “Real Estate Influencers of 2017”

by Greg Robertson

Inman News yesterday put out a list of the “Real Estate Influencers of 2017“. Here’s what they said about the people on this list…

“The Inman Influencer List salutes industry professionals who shape, change and influence the industry. They bring a mix of credentials, viewpoints and backgrounds from all walks of the real estate business. Some are creative, intuitive and gifted. Some have power, reach and charisma. And some are controversial, rabble-rousers and disrupters.”

The list appears to be close to 150 people. Over 50 of them women. Here’s a list of MLS notables on the list

Bob Hale
Art Carter
David Charron
Jim Harrison
Rebecca Jensen

Rob Hahn, Victor Lund, and Kevin Hawkins represent some of the consultants on the list.

Chris Bennet, Jeremy Crawford, and Pace Davis were also included.

Zillow Group appeared to have the most people represented with about 11 people, including Errol Samuelson, and Jay Thompson.

Also there was this guy.

Congrats to everyone!