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Jul 7 19

Inman interviews Maëlle Gavet, chief operating officer of Compass.

by Greg Robertson

Inman News:

Gavet spoke at length with Inman about the results of Compass’ technology push, her working relationship with Reffkin, the departure of multiple executives and what exactly Compass has accomplished. Her remarks have been edited for clarity.

Seems that the latest shakeup at Compass was a much bigger thing that I thought. Even some press on The Real Deal on “…tension between CEO Robert Reffkin and COO Maelle Gavet on how to run the company — on everything from decisions marketing strategy to product development.”


Maëlle Gavet:

“To be perfectly honest with you we both very much believe in the fact that a partnership requires some type of debate, this is very important. Robert and I are different people by background, by gender, by approach. We both spent a lot of time building this partnership.”

Translation: We hate each other.


In the internal letter [Reffkin] sent out in January that announced this three-month push, he had said you’re ‘bottom line, responsible for the entire initiative,’ and [Malik] will take the point on product marketing. He also said [Seidman] and [Sirosh] will have delivered everything agents need to bring the core of their business onto the Compass platform. At the end of this push, two of those people are gone and you’ve had your duties shifted. Is it fair to say the push underdelivered in [Reffkin’s] eyes? Is that an uncharitable reading?

Maëlle Gavet:

I understand where you’re coming from, but that’s not exactly what happened. Let me start by talking about the results. I think the results have been good. We have hired close to 200 people in product and engineering since the beginning of the year, which is a big number. We acquired Contactually based out of Washington D.C., which was an important acquisition for us. We started displaying the listing agent on every listing whether or not its a Compass agent. We launched a new geo-agnostic search experience. We revamped entirely our iOS and Android app. We’ve done a lot of things.
It’s actually more because Robert felt that the product and engineering team was on a good track and delivering that he decided he wanted to be more involved in the product.

Really? I mean, really? Since when does the CEO of any company shift their focus on divisions that are “on a good track and delivering” instead of areas that need the most help?

The interview is very revealing. You get a real sense that Compass is in trouble. Maëlle comes across as some sort of corporate robot, which is such the antithesis of the perception of Compass, CEO Robert Reffkin.

The sad part is it’s the same self inflicted wound a lot of leaders make in this space, “over promise and under-deliver.” I also have a feeling that more changes are coming.

Jul 2 19

Join us at Boost- Our MLS Staff Summit!

by Greg Robertson

The idea is simple. I go to a lot of conferences and meetings. And I learn a helluva lot and network with a lot of executives and vendors in the MLS industry. The relationships and learning have served me well throughout my career.

But, I don’t really see a lot of the people that are doing the real work. The support and trainers at MLS organizations and large brokerages that deal directly with agents. So I wanted to create an event just for them. A place they could learn about our products but also meet and develop relationships with other people in the industry that may be doing something similar to them. And I wanted to make it fun. That’s what Boost is all about.

So if you have any support or training staff members you want to show some love, have them join us in Huntington Beach!

The Work:
1. Immersive classes about all Cloud Agent Suite products
2. Presentations and Q&A with W+R support personnel
3. Presentations and Q&A with W+R Designers & Developers
4. Product feedback/enhancement session
5. Membership in online Facebook Group
6. Formal Certification (support/training) on all Cloud Agent Suite Products.

The Fun:
1. Welcome reception
2. Beautiful hotel steps away from the beach (included)
3. Food included (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
4. I heard a rumor that some point we might be on a boat!
5. Team building sessions
6. Cool swag! (of course!)

This event isn’t for CEOs or leadership, but for those in the trenches working with agents in the training and support departments of MLS organizations.

We have already sold over half the tickets. Click here and use the promo code “vendoralley” and save $100. Boost: MLS Staff Summit

Jul 1 19

C.A.R. announces pitch battle at upcoming REimagine conference and expo

by Greg Robertson
Bring it!

California Association of Realtors seeks innovators for competition

“The trade organization announced its “Innovators Workshop” competition Friday, saying in a statement that it wants to solicit transformative real estate ideas from “industry gurus, engineers, software developers, and entrepreneurs alike.” Applicants to the program don’t have to be real estate professionals themselves, but their ideas should fill some unmet need in the industry and “have a value proposition that is easy to understand.”
From the pool of people and groups who apply, C.A.R. will choose six finalists to present at “What’s Next – A Real Estate Tech Challenge,” which will be part of the group’s REimagine Conference and Expo in late September. The finalists will have to try to persuade a group of judges that their ideas are the best ones in the group.”

Inman News

I really love these live “pitch battles”. I did one last year at NAR iOi Summit. Almost like a Shark Tank they really force you to hone your message down meet the time restriction. Plus the questions you get from the judges really help fine tune your messaging. Perfect for a new or newer product you are launching.

Applications for C.A.R. Innovators Workshop are due August 28th. More information can be found here – > Workshop Application

Also if you are interested in NAR iOi Summit, it’s being held in Seattle this year, August 22-22. Deadline for the pitch battle submissions is July 7th. You can find out more information here – NAR iOi Summit

Good luck!

Jun 27 19

Zillow using MLS photos to improve Zestimate?

by Greg Robertson

Zillow Unveils Smarter, More Accurate Zestimate That ‘Sees’ Unique Home Features, Incorporates Greater Real-Time Data

“The Zestimate revolutionized real estate when it launched in 2006, using facts from public records to estimate a home’s value. With today’s update, it can now, in a sense, “see” in photographs features that humans would instantly understand, such as curb appeal and natural light. The new Zestimate uses neural networks and computer vision to distinguish between high and low-end finishes and to incorporate the value of features like updated bathroom fixtures, fireplaces, and remodeled kitchens. The Zestimate also now uses real-time data from for-sale homes, including list price and how long a home has been on the market.”


Very smart. You gotta hand it to Zillow for gaining rights to generate derivative data from MLS photos. I would think that photographers would object to such a use case.

Jun 24 19

Listing Bits Episode 49: A Better Way to Follow Up with Prospects – with David Etheredge of SavvyCard

by Greg Robertson

Ever wonder what happened to all the business cards you’ve handed out over the years? Wish there was a better way to engage with prospects beyond simply giving them your contact information and hoping for the best? The SavvyCard platform affords real estate professionals the opportunity to provide immediate value to new leads, sharing information relevant to their initial conversation with the prospect. And most importantly, SavvyCard gives the agent control of the follow-up!

David Etheredge is the cofounder and CEO of SavvyCard, a lead development platform designed to facilitate proactive, tech-enabled follow-up with prospects. David and his team are committed to helping real estate agents, brokers, associations and affiliates build a direct relationship with buyers and sellers through technology and networking tools that put the customer experience first. Prior to SavvyCard, David managed software development teams for Disney Interactive, Microprose and Hasbro Interactive and cofounded a boutique digital marketing agency.

Today, David shares the origin story behind SavvyCard, explaining the platform’s intent to facilitate proactive follow-up by way of a digital business card. He discusses the SellerShare feature, describing how it can be used to engage sellers in promoting their own listing on social media. David also walks us through best practices for following up with prospects, addressing the data around how quickly agents should follow up and offering ideas for how to provide value. Listen in for David’s insight around the role of advertising in growing a business and learn why real estate professionals should take advantage of social platforms to promote new property listings!

What’s Discussed: 

David’s background managing software development teams

How SavvyCard originated as a better way to engage prospects

How progressive web apps will change the way content is distributed

How SavvyCard facilitates tech-enabled, proactive follow-up

Engaging sellers in promoting their listing on social via SellerShare

The data around following up within 10 minutes of meeting a lead

Following up with a relevant article or service recommendation

Why it’s valuable to post new property listings on Facebook

David’s insight around the role of advertising in growing a business

SavvyCard’s intent to become a part of the real estate toolkit



Connect with David:


David on LinkedIn

Jun 24 19

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Director of IT – FMLS

FMLS with over 60 years of doing business in Atlanta is looking for a Director of IT. This is a full time permanent position with competitive benefits and pay. If you are looking for a challenging role with a company that is looking to grow, yet having a work life balance, this may the position for you.

For details on this job posting and more please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board.

Jun 21 19

Industry Relations Episode 36: The Fundamental Flaws in the Traditional Brokerage Model

by Greg Robertson

Traditional brokerages got 99 problems. They’ve got to compete with iBuyers. They’ve got to compete with 100% commission models. They’ve got to innovate new products and services. They’ve got to figure out a way to make money off those products and services. And they’ve got to worry about potential industry regulations and the insane amount of capital flowing in to would-be disruptors. So, what can brokerages do to address the fundamental flaws in the traditional model—and survive the next five years?

Today, Rob and Greg are discussing the top issues traditional brokerages face and what they can do about it. They address the implications around Compass’ renewed focus on product and Wall Street analyst John Campbell’s comments regarding the tipping point Realogy and other traditional brokerages face.

Rob and Greg weigh in on the fact that brokerages LOSE money on top producers and the challenge of monetizing products and services for agents. Listen in for insight around the future of traditional models like that of Realogy and RE/MAX and learn how agents and brokerages might adapt to the disruptions facing the real estate industry.

What’s Discussed: 

The public interest argument for representing the buyer’s side

The implications around Compass’ renewed focus on product

John Campbell’s comments on the tipping point Realogy faces

The issues around productivity in a traditional brokerage model

Why brokers need to make money through products + services

How brokerage iBuyer initiatives are really listing lead programs

Why Upstream doesn’t address the problems brokers face now

The fundamental flaws in the traditional brokerage model

The future of Realogy, RE/MAX, Redfin, eXp and Home Services

What agents might do in a world with 60% iBuyer market share

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Scratch That Podcast

Gradually … Then, Suddenly! Podcast

The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience

Nick Kremydas on Twitter

Glenn Kelman on Scratch That EP010

‘Is a Compass IPO Coming Soon?’ in Inman

John Campbell’s Comments in MarketWatch

Inman Connect


The DOJ’s Scrutiny of Cooperating Compensation on IR EP035

Rob’s Future of Brokerage Black Paper

Jun 17 19

PSA: People on airplanes behaving badly

by Greg Robertson

John Whitney recently posted a photo of an airplane passenger sans shoes …relaxing. Like others, I used to think those people wiping down their sitting area on planes were over-reacting. I’m starting to change my thinking.

These might do the trick:
SONO Travel Safe Medical Grade Disinfecting Wipes (3 Pack)

Jun 11 19

Listing Bits and Industry Relations nominated for 2 “Inman Innovator Awards”

by Greg Robertson

I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 podcasts I produce nominated for Inman Innovator Awards. I believe this is the first year of this category (INNOVATIVE VIDEO/PODCAST SHOW).

Rob and I are on our 36th episode of Industry Relations and both of us are having a great time. I think of it as the directors commentary (nod to The Talk Show) for both our blogs.

Listing Bits has also been fun. Getting to have conversations with people I admire and respect has been a great experience and I plan on doing many more. Two of my favorite episodes include my conversations with Marc Davison of 1000watt and Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin.

Also nominated in the same category is Emily Chenevert’s excellent podcast, ScratchThat. I’m also a big fan of Russ Cofano’s Gradually Then Suddenly podcast too. And if you are an agent, Tom Ferry’s podcast, The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience is a don’t miss.

There are other categories too, but I’ll write about those for another post. Good luck to everyone nominated!

Jun 10 19

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

MLS Director – San Antonio Board of REALTORS

The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) is currently seeking a dynamic candidate to serve as the MLS Director. SABOR represents 11,000 REALTOR members and through its Board of Directors works to provide tools and services to be successful in the real estate industry. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a strong track record of innovation, project management, and possess a customer-centric mindset.

Look at this gig and more at the Vendor Alley job Board!