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Jun 3 16

Pro Tip: Get Vendor Alley in your inbox

by Greg Robertson

Did you know that you can get all Vendor Alley post delivered right to your inbox?

Here’s how:

Just scroll down on this page. On the right hand side of the page, just after the Blog Roll, you’ll see this.

email form

va inbox

You’re welcome.

Jun 2 16

Eater UI

by Greg Robertson

I was poking around Eater today, looking at some restaurants in Portland for a trip I’m making next week. I really love the way they executed the UI in regard to location and restaurant.

As you scroll down on the restaurants (on the left) the map moves with you and the icon highlights. And of course if you jump click on any map icon the restaurant information jumps ahead. I’ve seen parts of this executed on other sites, but not this well.

Inspiration is everywhere.

Jun 2 16


by Greg Robertson

My thanks for ReferralExchange for sponsoring Vendor Alley. ReferralExchange is an Agent-to-Agent and consumer-direct real estate referral service. Here are some interesting tidbits about the network:

– Invite-only network. Must be recruited to join.
– 17,000 agents currently in the network, 100% zip code coverage
– Most agents in the network have 8 years experience (minimum of 3 years and 20 transactions/$5 million per year to even be recruited)
– Majority of agents have been in the network for 5+ years
– Agents come from all leading national and boutique brokerages nationwide

I gotta say I love this business model. Freaking genius. They also recently got a nice shout out in Steve Murray’s REAL Trends newsletter.

Jun 1 16

Are we doing it wrong?

by Greg Robertson

This Inman Article on “Millennials rank workplace values – No. 1 might surprise you” came up in my email again.

The article reference a study done by Deloitte, with a infographic from Statista:


We’ve been doing a fair amount of hiring this year, and true to the title I am surprised by number one, which is millennials believe in a good work life/balance. Of course we all want a good work/life balance. But, I’ve been a bit taken aback by this. Because it comes off from prospective job candidates like, “I want to make sure I have time for my family and friends.” or “I don’t want to travel too much”, or “Do I have to come to the office every day?”. I think back when I was first searching for a job I wouldn’t even dream of asking such questions. I was raised to show up on time, work my ass off, and hope to get ahead.

I find myself now trying to temper my initial knee jerk reaction to questions like this with a bit more patience and awareness. Because maybe they are right.

May 30 16

Freedom is never free

by Greg Robertson



May 27 16

Slow and steady…

by Greg Robertson

Message from Art Carter from August Partners on Vimeo.

Andrea Brambila reporting for Inman News.
The nation’s biggest MLS gets even biggerCalifornia Regional MLS takes another step toward becoming a statewide entity

“As part of their agreements with CRMLS, the North Bay Association of Realtors and the Marin Association of Realtors will be offering CRMLS’s MLS service to their combined 4,500 members. The North Bay association covers Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties while the Marin association covers Marin County.

Members of the two associations currently belong to broker-owned MLS Bay Area Real Estate Information Service (BAREIS). Brokers and their agents will have the option of staying with BAREIS, switching to CRMLS, or belonging to both MLSs.”

It’s interesting to see CRMLS take a less dogmatic approach to their goal of a state-wide MLS, they just try to find a way to win, market by market.

Art Carter

“Given the slow-moving nature of politics, we absolutely want to respect local marketplaces’ wishes, but we do feel the whole entire state should be served by a single database that contains every listing in the state of California.”

He believes it will happen someday. “Whether it’s through our efforts or some of the other initiatives going on, I believe at some point the brokerage community will get what they want and need out of aggregated data,” he said.”

I want to believe that brokers see this, but listening the various Upstream panels it seems that aggregating all market data is something that might be a casualty if half the market is on Upstream and other is not.

Art again…

“There is a better way. There is the possibility of tearing down these borders. We’re not going to go anyplace that we’re not asked, but I think brokers and agents up and down the state need to know there are solutions to the pains that they’re facing and if they find those solutions viable, they need to talk to the leadership of their local associations,” he said.

I still think the ItsMyBusiness campaign is well executed, its more about “listing access” than CRMLS. Smart.

May 27 16

Lobby Bar Bucket List

by Greg Robertson

redwood-room-at-the-clift-hotel-san-francisco-ca130 iconic American hotel bars everyone should have a drink at

“To create the ultimate American hotel bar bucket list, we’ve honed in on 30 hotel bars that stand out as icons among their peers. From the birthplace of the Mint Julep to a menacing bar housed in an old jail, the drinks always taste better here”

How many can you check off already?

May 26 16

Miles Davis and software design

by Greg Robertson

It’s the 90th anniversary of the birth of Miles Davis. The birth of cool, so to speak. I’ve been reading a lot about him today and some of his quotes struck me as being good advice for anyone designing software.

I love this one…

“I always listen to what I can leave out.”

and this…

“It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

And then there’s this story about a Miles and my favorite, John Coltrane.

“Onetime Davis bandmate John Coltrane was capable of life-altering saxophone solos. Hear his efforts on “Psalm,” which is like being slowly led by hand to the glorious summit of a cloud-scraping mountain, or “I Want to Talk About You,” whose extended cadenza is the musical equivalent of a boxer skillfully working a speed bag. But Davis wanted none of this. When Coltrane tried to rationalize his lengthy solos by explaining that he couldn’t find a way to stop, Davis quipped, “You might try taking the fucking horn out of your mouth.”

The great ones always transcend.

May 23 16

Vendor Pro Tip: AAA Battery Caddy

by Greg Robertson

I love my BOSE QuietComfort® 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones, especially on log plane flights, but they eat AAA batteries like a motherf*cker. Usually it’s because I forget to turn them off. So I got accustom to carrying a lot of AAA batteries in my laptop bag. I carried them loose in an outside pocket in my bag and they were always hard to find. Not any longer.

Storacell by Powerpax Slim Line “AAA” Battery Caddy

aaa caddy

This holds 6 AAA batteries. It’s also orange so its easy to find in my bag.

You’re welcome.


May 23 16

RED launches 3 new websites

by Greg Robertson

Looks like the team at RED (Real Estate Digital), (or is it XOME/Solutionstar/Mr. Cooper?) has been busy lately.

The new Long & Foster site is now fully responsive. But what I really thought was interesting was their “Smarter Home Search”

LF Smarter home search

I also liked the look of their search results page.

LF Search Results Page
Keeping in tune with their brand, the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services website now has multi-currency functionality. BHHS multi-lingual price

And it looks like BHHS Florida Realty website is keeping it simple while focusing it’s home page on seller leads.

BHHS FL home page

The valuation is driven by a company called Quantarium, which is new to me.

BHHS HomeWorth

I think these sites give a good perspective on how far franchisor and regional broker websites have come.