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Sep 5 18

KW acquires SmarterAgent

by Greg Robertson

Keller Williams is building a new consumer-facing app to challenge Zillow and Redfin

“You’ve heard Gary [Keller] talk about the agent-enable tech versus the tech-enabled agent, and so the idea of a Zillow or Redfin coming in and buying SmarterAgent then having access to all 400,000 agents’ mobile apps out there being used by millions of people was something that was concerning to us,” Team said.

Team said the acquisition is a signal to Keller Williams agents that the company is serious about its investment in technology and revealed that the company has quietly acquired a number of other tech platforms in the past four months.”

Nice scoop for Inman News. It’s starting to feel like 1999 again. But the quotes from Mr. Team seem a bit all over the place, the quote above is a good example. Maybe they weren’t ready to announce yet? No mention of SmarterAgent’s patents. I know they did a deal with CoreLogic but I’m not sure if any of their patents were covered by CIVIXX.

I am happy for Brad and Eric they have been at this quite awhile and created a great business. Congrats!

Sep 4 18

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Digital Marketing Analyst – W+R Studios

“We are seeking a talented and motivated individual to empower the organization to be more data driven across the Marketing, Finance, and Product teams. A successful candidate will have a strong understanding of data manipulation, data relationships, spreadsheets, queries, and business intelligence tools. The position will perform deep analysis of performance data for internal consumption as well as relentlessly pursue better ways to incorporate analytics into content related projects and processes.

For more information on this job and other please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board today!

Sep 4 18

Thoughts on NAR’s iOi Summit

by Greg Robertson

I had heard about this event a few months ago, and had been asked if I was going to attend. I was skeptical about it, but when I received an invitation to apply to participate in the “pitch battle”, I went ahead and applied. As I previously mentioned I was surprised that we were selected.

The event was designed by Bob Goldberg, NAR’s CEO to bring the disruptors “inside the tent”. To foster “innovation, opportunity & investment”. Basically Mr. Goldberg wanted NAR to be part of the conversation.

Color me impressed. Not only was the event very well produced, but I enjoyed meeting and seeing other vendors, some old (like me) and some new in the space. I loved vendors pitching agent safety apps, new CRMs, new front end of choice apps, 360 photo apps to help with disaster recovery efforts, real estate photo augmentation, using lockboxes help with in-home medical care, and a way to level up agent performance. What I found most impressive is none of these new startups seemed to be making money by selling ads. Bliss!

BoxBrownine won the “Pitch Battle”. And KW Labs won the Hackathon. You can read more about them here.

And true to his word, Mr. Goldberg did bring in a few heavy hitting investors to the conference too. Of course Mr. Goldberg couldn’t help himself in touting NAR’s own success in the investment arm of his organizations, Second Century Initiatives and REach. He interviewed Ron Hirson, Chief Product Officer from DocuSign. Which recently went public and made NAR a small fortune.

As Mr. Goldberg hit the stage to wrap up the conference, I was thinking about what was missing about the event. And then it hit me. Zillow. I heard nary a mention about Zillow from any of the presenters, or startups in attendance. Not from some sort of mandate, but just…because.

Which to me was the most impressive. Bob Goldberg did seemingly the impossible. He held a tech conference where nobody was talking about Zillow.

Aug 28 18

UtahRealEstate.com releases Amazon Alexa Skill

by Greg Robertson

Available Now – UtahRealEstate.com’s Amazon Alexa Skill

URE is changing the way consumers find homes for sale and interact with real estate professionals. Users with an Alexa-enabled device can enable the URE skill, called UtahRealEstate.com, and then make requests such as “Alexa, ask Utah Real Estate about homes for sale in the city of Salt Lake City for the last week.” The Alexa-enabled device will then read back listing details, and if there is a screen available on the device, the skill will display results visually, including photos of the property. The skill also provides credit to the listing agent and brokerage for every property.

So fun! I just hope it complies to IDX rules. 😂

Aug 27 18

RPR lays off 10% of staff

by Greg Robertson

Dynamic changes on horizon for Realtors Property Resources®

“NAR CEO Bob Goldberg established a clear vision for the Association and RPR moving forward,” said Young. “RPR’s core mission is clear, ensure that REALTORS® remain essential to the transaction through access to tools, features connected to nationwide parcel-centric data and reports. RPR’s growth in the future will be driven by programs which refocus the RPR team to develop a deeper understanding of the daily life and business of agents and brokers.”

Over the course of several months, RPR conducted internal assessments of its technical processes, organizational structures and strategic initiatives. As a result, the platform will reduce its overall staff count by 10%, allowing it to meet its 2019 budget directives, while reimagining its market level communications and support programs with its network of broker, MLS and association partners.

Aug 27 18

See you at NAR iOi Summit this week

by Greg Robertson

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to apply to compete in the “Pitch Battle” at NAR’s inaugural “iOi Summit“. I thought it was a long shot but maybe good opportunity to get the word out about Cloud CMA’s new feature, Cloud Investor Connect. Surprisingly I made the cut. I’m told there were over 100 applications, but they choose only 16 to compete.

CRMLS, MRED and SFAR have sponsored to another portion of the event, a hackaton.

So if you are going to be in SF, I leave tomorrow morning, drop me a line.

Aug 24 18

RIP Senator John McCain

by Greg Robertson

I don’t get too political on my blog, but I thought I would share this Twitter thread from Benjamin Wittes. I’ve made it a bit more readable below.

I want to tell a story about John McCain–a story that took place at the Polish embassy, back when Poland was still a committed democracy of the sort that would host a book party for the release of @anneapplebaum’s book, “Gulag” (which you should read).

Anne will correct me if I am misremembering the details here–as it’s been a few years. But McCain, as I recall, introduced Anne to the assembled audience, which included a large number of Gulag survivors.

His short speech moved me as much as any other speech–on any subject–I have ever seen a politician give. For starters, he had clearly read the book (you should too)–which is a bit of a project. Gulag is long. It is exhaustive. And it is brutal and unsparing.

While McCain had many thoughts about the book, he said that the part that really hit him in the gut was Anne’s description of prisoner tapping codes–by which prisoners would tap on cell walls in specific patterns to make out letters to communicate with those in adjacent cells.

He described the code as Anne portrayed the Gulag prisoners using. And then he described the modification that he and his fellow prisoners used–the Cyrillic alphabet being somewhat different from our own. Then he paused and said that he still dreamed in that code sometimes.

And then he tapped.

The room was silent.

It’s been 15 years since this happened, and as I say, I could be misremembering details. I suspect, however, that I am not the only person who recalls vividly being stunned by this speech. I have never heard another politician give a speech like that.

That’s all I got.

I disagree with our president. I think John McCain is a national hero. Rest in peace.

Aug 23 18

MRED launches new website

by Greg Robertson

Midwest Real Estate Data launches new website

MREDLLC.com’s new look is thoughtfully organized, prioritizing easy access to the MLS and providing quick links to the extensive support and services available. Visitors will also enjoy prominently displayed access to training courses and rotating spotlights on new products in MRED’s ever-increasing list of helpful offerings for its customers.

“Our customers deserve the best, and that’s what we aim to provide in every aspect of what we do,” said MRED President/CEO Rebecca Jensen. “This website redesign was truly done with agents in mind to make their daily lives easier and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.”

They did a great job with this. The top nav was way too cluttered in the past and the whole site had a early 2000s feel to it. Another thing I wanted to highlight was their logo refresh. I’ve put the old and new logo together for comparison.

I think this was incredibly well done. They already had a recognizable logo, so really no need to create something brand new. Taking away the gradient and changing to font (Gotham) gave it a more modern feel. Plus the rounded corners to the star box give a hint of an “app”. Sometimes little things can make a big difference.

Aug 21 18

Please help Kevin and Ibby

by Greg Robertson

The Greenes need our help

“On July 20th, Kevin & Ibby’s 13-year-old son, Lockwood, woke up with a low-grade fever. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the fever didn’t abate and Lockwood’s health deteriorated significantly. After being admitted to the hospital in Greensboro, Lockwood’s vitals went south quickly and he alternated between skyrocketing blood pressure to a near cardiac arrest event.

After he was temporarily stabilized in Greensboro, a decision was made to rapidly transport Lockwood to Duke’s Pediatric ICU in Durham, NC for specialized treatment. Admitted to the Duke Medical Center Pediatric ICU in early August, Lockwood was finally diagnosed with atypical Kawasaki disease. This virus-based disease is vicious as it attacks the coronary system with devastating short & long-term consequences.

Lockwood is by no means out of the woods yet and will be at Duke for a minimum of two more weeks if not carrying through the month of September. The Greene family is facing a long road to recovery including a new normal facing their family of five.

Any help is welcome and truly appreciated. “

A lot of us has been following Lockwood’s progress on Facebook and know its been a rough ride for both Kevin and his wife Ibby. I can’t imagine the ups and downs they have been going through as parents. I’m sure any support would be appreciated.

Please visit their GoFundMe page by clicking the link below:

GoFundMe -> The Greenes need our help

Aug 15 18

Industry Relations Episode 27: Building the Quintessential Technology Platform for Real Estate

by Greg Robertson

Perhaps the most compelling piece of theatre in recent real estate history, Gary Keller’s interview at the Inman Connect Conference laid out his argument around the future of the industry. Keller’s approach is to own his own data and develop a software platform unique to Keller Williams, and a number of other franchises are buying up technology companies in order to build their own exclusive data platforms. But is this obsession with technology and controlling the data distracting brokerages and franchisors from what really matters?

Rob and Greg are on the line to discuss real estate technology and data ownership. Greg explains W+R’s focus on creating a kickass experience for agents and consumers alike and describes the company’s approach to aggregating data rather than trying to build a proprietary platform.

Rob and Greg cover the growing competition in real estate software and address who is responsible for providing agents with a technology suite. They debate the merits of designing an exclusive platform versus integrating franchise data with a particular software package to create a custom data solution. Listen in for insight around the US vs. THEM mindset around building technology and learn why Rob and Greg are calling for a renewed focus on agents—and giving them the tools to shine!

What’s Discussed:

The overarching theme of the 2018 Inman Connect conference

Gary Keller’s aim to create his own ‘platform for innovation’

How W+R seeks to democratize the iBuyer experience

The role of AI and machine learning in a technology platform

W+R’s approach to making data useful for the end user

Greg’s take on the notion of data ownership

How Zillow has evolved to generate its own data 

W+R’s focus on improving an agent’s listing presentation

Cloud Investor Connect’s value prop for investors

– High intent, high volume

Who is responsible for providing agents with a tech platform

The consistent improvement of real estate software

The opportunity to integrate software with franchise data

The MLSs role as a tech platform vs. data provider

The definition of a technology platform as an end-to-end solution

Rob’s insight around focusing on the agent rather than technology

Sponsors:

Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot

Resources:

Inman Connect—San Francisco 2018

Rob’s Gary Keller Blog Post

Gary Keller at Inman Connect

Cloud Investor Connect

GreatSchools

RE/MAX Q2 Earnings Call

Tom Ferry Show

Contactually

Booj

Remine

Zap

Brad Inman’s Tech Platform Opinion Piece

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite

W+R Studios

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website