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Mar 12 18

Industry Relations: Gary Keller’s Polarizing ‘KW First’ Vision Speech

by Greg Robertson

Data is the new oil—and the one with the most insight wins.


As technology becomes more and more important to the industry, many brokerages are justifiably concerned that real estate will go the way of travel and eCommerce, eventually doing away with the agent altogether. Gary Keller is uneasy about the current shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled technology, and that is where he is drawing a line in the sand. But his controversial ‘KW First’ solution has a lot of us scratching our heads…


Rob and Greg are camped out in the lobby of the 2018 MLS Executive Workshop to talk about Gary Keller’s polarizing vision speech at the recent Keller Williams’ Family Reunion. They are joined by Sunny Lake, official wrangler of Rob Hahn and partner in charge of brokerage consulting with 7DS Associates. Tim Dain, President of MARIS, the regional MLS serving Greater St. Louis, wanders into the conversation as well.


Rob, Greg and Sunny walk us through the crux of Gary Keller’s speech, explaining his fear of the shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled technology. Rob explains his take that Garry correctly identified the problem but is misguided in his solution to paint real estate vendors and MLSs as ‘unsafe’ and move to control and protect their own data. They discuss the contrasting ‘better together’ approach being taken by Re/Max and Realogy, addressing why KW would be better served to embrace other players in the fight against agent-enable technology, and Tim explains why the MLS cannot legally ‘sell out’ brokerage data to platforms like Zillow without their permission. Listen in for debate around how much of Gary’s speech may have been theatre meant to ‘rally the troops’ and how his message might impact the upcoming DOJ/FTC talks on real estate data.


What’s Discussed:


Gary Keller’s polarizing vision speech

-Dangerous shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled tech

-Data not safe with vendors, MLS

-KW will collect, protect own data moving forward

The pressure on brokerages as profit margins continue to shrink

Rob’s take that Gary identified the problem but misidentified the cause

How much of Gary’s speech was theatre to ‘rally the troops’

Why KW won’t be able to do predictive analytics

Agent hesitation to share data with the brokerage

-6-8% average agent adoption with Contactually

Why KW’s ‘go it alone’ approach is misguided

Re/Max’s acquisition of booj

Tim’s insight around the legal restrictions on ‘selling out’ data

-Broker decision, not MLS

The ‘open platform’ approach of Realogy, Re/Max

The fantastic culture at Keller Williams

How Gary’s speech might impact the upcoming DOJ/FTC talks




“Did KW Just Say FU to Vendors?” on Vendor Alley

“In Which Keller Williams Completely Confuses Me” on The Notorious ROB

“The Keller Williams Vision Speech: Followup and Further Thoughts” on The Notorious ROB

“Keller Williams Sheds ‘Traditional Broker’ Shell for New Data-Driven Model” in Inman


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Mar 9 18

What’s missing from this picture?

by Greg Robertson

I’ve be seeing a few friends post pictures like this from NAR’s “MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board” meeting going on this week(the one above is from Jon Colie’s Facebook feed).

One thing struck me. What’s missing from this picture?


The industry is changing quickly, we need as many perspectives/help/leadership/ideas as possible.

Mar 9 18

Listing Bits: Backing Ambitious Initiatives in Real Estate with Victor Lund of WAVGroup

by Greg Robertson

‘You can change anything you want to change. People can sit around and complain all they want, or they can do something about it. We’re consultants. We want to go do something about it. We’re tired of talking about it. Let’s just go do it.’


Victor Lund is involved in some of the most ambitious initiatives in the real estate industry. From Upstream to Broker Public Portal, Victor is passionate about solving big problems, and whether or not you agree with his approach, you have to respect his willingness to advocate for change. As the founding partner of WAVGroup, he serves as a consultant to large brokerage firms and MLSs with a particular focus on operational effectiveness, communications and strategic planning. Victor is also the founder and CEO of RE Technology, the leading real estate technology and media portal in the US.


Today Victor shares how he made the transition from venture capital to real estate consulting. He discusses the role of RE Technology and its unusual practice of inviting companies to read their articles in advance of publication. Victor defends his advocacy for the Upstream initiative, explaining the scope of the project and the many benefits it will provide for industry players. He also speaks to the intent behind Broker Public Portal, clearing up misconceptions around how Homesnap functions as a partner rather than a vendor. Listen in for Victor’s insight on tackling difficult challenges in real estate and cooperation as the way forward.


What’s Discussed:


Victor’s transition from VC to real estate consulting

The role of RE Technology as the CNET for real estate

Why RE Technology shares its articles before publication

How WAVGroup’s research department sets it apart

The significant disconnect between brokers and MLSs

Victor’s participation in controversial initiatives


-Broker Public Portal

Victor’s insight on the benefits of Upstream

-Ease burden of agent onboarding checklist

-Instant automation of systems migration

-Efficiency for vendors to deploy products

-Data sharing between MLSs and brokerages

-Facilitates data integration (acquisitions)

-Automate systems (photographer, records creation)

-The incredible scope of the Upstream project

-The timeline for getting Upstream up and running

-Why Upstream uses Web API rather than RETS

Victor’s Upstream pitch for small brokerages

-Premiere information management system

Why fear is the greatest challenge for the Upstream initiative

The impact of Add/Edit on an MLS and its related market

The intent behind Broker Public Portal

-Reimagine way consumers get info

-Consumer-facing website, benefit MLS

The joint venture between Broker Public Portal and Homesnap

How change of control provisions are built into the BPP/Homesnap contract

How Homesnap reinvented themselves as an industry partner

The concept of a parcel-centric database



Upstream fixes many problems, not just one

WAVes of Change


Broker Public Portal


Homesnap BPP


Connect with Victor Lund:


RE Technology

RE Technology on Twitter

Victor on Facebook

Victor on LinkedIn

Victor on Twitter




Mar 9 18

Industry Relations: Bold Moves by Bob Goldberg and National Standards in Real Estate Data

by Greg Robertson

After seven months in office as CEO of the National Association of REALTORS, Bob Goldberg has made some bold moves with regard to AMP and RESO-compliance. He’s also scored big on Capitol Hill, lobbying last-minute changes to the tax reform bill. And he’s cut the NAR budget by 20% and made some significant staffing changes. But should we be celebrating Bob as a change agent just yet?


Rob and Greg come to you live from the 2018 MLS Executive Workshop in Scottsdale to argue both sides. Yes, Bob has done more in seven months that we have seen from NAR leadership in quite some time, but there is a low bar for change in the association world. The scope of Bob’s success depends on your basis for comparison, and as you may have guessed, our hosts have very different takes on the issue.


Rob and Greg take on other hot topics in real estate as well, covering the major challenges in making Upstream work, the upcoming Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission workshops around real estate data, and how a set of national standards would impact vendors. Listen in for Rob’s take on potential government mandates and Greg’s insight on the ‘holy grail’ of real estate tech—marrying data standards with permission to sell.


What’s Discussed:

Bob Goldberg’s bold moves as NAR CEO

-Decision to scuttle AMP

-Enforce RESO standards

-Staffing changes

The low bar for change in the association world

How NAR dodged a bullet with Trump’s tax reform

How the governance model affects the pace of change

How cutting the NAR budget by 20% may impact jobs

The standardization required for Upstream to work

The challenges around MLS vendors and unfunded mandates

The upcoming DOJ/FTC workshops re: real estate data

Rob’s take on making RESO standards law

Greg’s insight on how national standards would impact vendors

– Easier for new vendors to enter space

Marrying standards in real estate data with permission to sell

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Our Sponsor:

Cloud Agent Suite

Mar 7 18

Get ready for RESO Spring Tech Summit!

by Greg Robertson

RESO Spring Tech Summit Examines Data Standards Impact, Innovation WinnersMeeting Also Set to Discuss Next Generation of Standards to Streamline Industry

“This year’s RESO Tech Summit is packed with Case Studies presented by companies who have demonstrated that RESO data standards are helping improve our industry and the bottom line for real estate brokerages and software developers in precise, measurable dollars,” said Jeremy Crawford, CEO of RESO. RESO is an independent non-profit with more than 750 active members, including NAR, multiple-listing services, real estate associations, brokerages and industry technology providers.

Case Studies will cover:

The implementation of RESO’s Organizational Unique ID (OUID) with representatives discussing the benefits to, ShowingTime, and T3.
How TRIBUS migrated to the RESO Data Dictionary, which reinvigorated its IDX platform and underlying product.
A look at the real-world implementation of RESO’s Universal Property Identification (UPI) by Austin Brokerage Jovio.
A discussion on the real-world implementation of RESO Data Dictionary standards through different paths, including leaders of California Regional MLS (CRMLS) and New England Real Estate Network (NEREN).

Jeremy is doing a great job at RESO and their conferences keep getting better and better. Have you registered yet?

Mar 6 18

Scott Quinn joins MMSI

by Greg Robertson

Looks like Scott Quinn has started at MMSI as their new Account Executive. He was recently at CoreLogic and before that President of Offutt Systems. Good to see he has landed on his feet. Congrats to Scott and MMSI!

Mar 5 18

CRMLS board gets stacked

by Greg Robertson

CRMLS Elects Rebecca Jensen, Sam DeBord to 2018 Board of Directors

“California Regional MLS is pleased to welcome Rebecca Jensen and Sam DeBord to its Board of Directors for 2018. They join an esteemed Board composed of real estate professionals from CRMLS member Associations and other prominent figures from the North American real estate industry.”

Congrats to CRMLS and its members. Rebecca and Sam are excellent choices and will make a big impact.

Feb 27 18

RE/MAX acquires booj

by Greg Robertson

RE/MAX Takes Bold Step to Provide Best-in-Class TechnologyGlobal Franchisor Acquires Leading Technology Firm booj

The acquisition exemplifies a new approach for RE/MAX that goes beyond adapting third-party vendor products to fit broker and agent needs. Moving forward, RE/MAX will leverage the capabilities of booj and other strategic partners to deliver core technology solutions designed for and with RE/MAX affiliates. The objective: technology platforms that create a distinct competitive edge for RE/MAX brokerages and agents and complement other tech products they choose to use.

So its apparent the this “tech enabled brokerage” is a thing now. It’s now going to be a bunch of chest beating to show who has the best tech. RE/MAX appears to be taking a more open approach by still working with “strategic partners”, rather than the more closed approach of KW.

In a letter to agents, new RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos stated,

“It will mean an upgrade for the RE/MAX technology suite – a complement to other Approved Supplier products you choose to use.”

A far cry from the paranoid rant of Gary Keller,CEO of Keller Williams last week.

booj is an interesting company. Their pitch has been they only had a few “select” clients and a waiting list. Plus they would never work with any firm that was acquired by a Franchisor. Well it seems that philosophy has changed big time. It will be interesting to see how their current clients react. An opportunity for some, I’m sure. I hope Ido and John got a nice payout.

I’m also curious if this will effect RE/MAX’s relationship with, which now powers the website. RE/MAX started that relationship with eNeighborhoods back in 2004, and have kept it going after eNeighborhoods was acquired by parent, Dominion Enterprises.

Feb 26 18

Did KW just say FU to vendors?

by Greg Robertson

At the recent Keller Williams’ Family Reunion convention, Gary Keller during his keynote declared “We are not a real estate company anymore” and had a slide talking about vendors that were “not safe”.

Chief Innovation Officer, Josh Team also announced, on stage, that the company would no longer deal with “bolt on” technology. Team defined “bolt on” as…

“Bolt-on technology is anytime you use another company’s technology product that you didn’t build and own,”

How fucked up is that? Imagine how the vendors on the exhibit floor felt after spending good money, on their booths, hotels, airfare and thousands of hours of time and energy to exhibit at an event where the CEO and the senior staff who put on that event insult them as “bolt on” and/or “not safe”.

To put it lightly, that was a pretty dumbass thing for KW to do to those vendors, and shows a remarkable lack of couth.

While I’m told the pitch my Mr. Keller was as masterful as ever, it’s really a shame to see a great company like Keller Williams stoop to this level. By spreading this FUD to their agents I believe they are risking their company’s best asset, culture.

Entrepreneurial, highly trained, independent, system focused, scrappy, motivated. Those are the terms I would describe KW agents.

While it seems that “tech enabled brokerages” are all the rage right now. This pendulum swings back and forth.

So while Mr. Keller’s head may be in the clouds right now, I would encourage him not to burn any boats anytime soon and that the two letters he should double down on are KW, not AI.

Feb 26 18

Susan Young joins FBS

by Greg Robertson

Susan Young to Join FBS as National Sales Executive

“I’m very excited to announce that Susan Young is joining FBS as a National Sales Executive. Susan will be working with the FBS sales team to promote Flexmls and the Spring products.
In addition to the dynamic, straightforward personality she’s widely recognized for, Susan brings breadth of industry experience to FBS from her recent-prior roles at Move Inc./ and Real Safe Agent.

Great hire. Congrats to Susan and FBS.