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Blow it up!

by Greg Robertson on November 21st, 2016

Matt Cohen, Clareity Consulting:

Just How Easy Should Software for Professionals Be?

“If everything else was equal about the software capabilities, training and support, availability, system speed, vendors and so forth, of course the scales would be tipped in favor of the easy software. But typically, easy comes at a cost. There’s a spectrum that runs from “full of features, information, and flexible and difficult” to being “light on features, lacking information, and inflexible and easy”.  Good software design is often the result of an effort to find the right balance.”

Something struck me about Matt’s take on “professional software”. And by “struck me” I mean it bugged the shit out of me.

“And apps with more customization capabilities (that provide the ability for agents to differentiate) are always more complicated to figure out than those that provide no options.”

It sounds like too much of an excuse. Full featured software doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes shitty software, is, well, just that, shitty software.

I have a deep respect (and a lot of compassion) for the traditional MLS Vendors. But, today’s MLS system has not just been designed by a committee but many, many, many, committees over many, many years. Usually some feature needed to be added to get the contract signed (and that board member is probably dead by now.) And nobody really needs a feature that schedules a listing alert to only go out the first Tuesday of every month anyway. Fuck!

Reminds me when I asked an MLS executive when we were first laying the ground work for Cloud MLX. I asked, “How many fields to most agents search on? 25?, 30?, 50?”.

He said, “Greg it’s less than 15”.

Mind blown.

So blow it all up. All of it. Start from freaking scratch. A simple way to search, basic auto-prospecting, an easy way to share, and listing input. Done. And then going forward make it really really really hard (like raising MLS dues hard) to add any new features.

Matrix 360 = Matrix 1
flexmls = rigidmls
Paragon = Straight Line MLS
Rapattoni MLS = Smith MLS

Boom!

From → Cloud MLX, MLS, Opinion

7 Comments
  1. Thank you for this post, Greg. Great reminder to us all.

  2. Matt Cohen permalink

    Hehe, I knew that post would get you going. I love your example: “And nobody really needs a feature that schedules a listing alert to only go out the first Tuesday of every month anyway.” Except for the agents using the prospecting function to keep a client up to date on house value in their neighborhood. Oops. The glory – and problem – of the MLS is that it is everything to everyone. It’s great that you have built a product that doesn’t have to be – there’s no problem with that. And in the future we’ll no doubt see lots of simple, specialized apps – we can all see it going that way. But when you have a tool that needs to work for every agent, appraiser, etc. that you’re customizing and licensing for your market, it’s going to be more complex. Of course, bad software is bad software, to paraphrase what you said. Yep, there’s ‘cruft’ in traditional MLS software – plenty of bits put in to get some contract or other – but getting rid of the complexity, and the need for it, is not as simple as you make out.

  3. Jon Mabe permalink

    Love this post. I feel the same way Greg.

  4. @Matt My point about the listing alert is that a simple drop down menu with a “Monthly” option should suffice. The UI/UX of giving the agent an option of “first Tuesday of every month” listing alert is ridiculous. And every other agent suffers because of it!

  5. Matt Cohen permalink

    @Greg. Agreed on the “monthly” simplicity versus power in that case – so far as I know. What I don’t know is why it was developed that way. Maybe there was a use case that justified it. Or maybe you’re right, that it was a capricious decision made in a ‘design by committee’ situation with no thought behind it. I can’t say – I wasn’t there – but I want to assume that there are some talented product managers at these MLS vendors and that there were one or more reasons it was designed as it was.

    Again, it’s easy to make simple software when you can pick and choose your users and use cases. That’s a luxury that MLSs haven’t had – at least in the current licensing model. Of course, the model is starting to change.

  6. Dave Howe permalink

    Don’t forget BIG Buttons Greg!

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