I wanted to put down a few thoughts and observations about last week’s MLS Cloud Conference hosted by Bob Hale and the Houston Association of REALTORS.
Additionally I uploaded a bunch of photos from the event. You can see them at the Vendor Alley Flickr Photo Stream
When I first got there I did hear a few of the attendees muttering if they would gain anything by attending a conference held so closely to NAR Midyear meetings in Washington D.C. That combined with it being held the week after Memorial Day seemed to heighten the crowds expectations. But from what I could tell those expectations were soon met.
Bob Hale came up first to set the tone. Bob does a great job of honing in on the important issues and serving up some plausible solutions to these issues. He spoke about giving consumers what they want and about how the MLS needs to engage with NAR and others. But I can’t confirm or deny I heard him speak about forming a “National Association of MLS.” : )
To me a key measurement of a good speaker is how many other speakers reference them in future talks and in the hallways of the ballrooms. By that measure Bob was king.
This business would be great if it weren’t for the damn customers.
Brad Inman was the first keynote and talked about the “post PC” world we are living in. He told us to all get an iPad and kiss our towers and notebook computers goodbye. He had some interesting observations about the employees of his new company, Vook. Apparently nobody at his company likes to sit at a desk anymore, they like to stand, and not eat meat apparently. Although I thought one of the funniest moments (unintentionally) was when Brad made a remark of how he didn’t like the way that some NAR staff talked down about their membership. To me was pretty ironic since MLS execs (and vendors) behave in the same way, if not worse!
I D Mess
I think a lot of people thought the conference would only focus on MLS public facing websites but the topics were much broader in scope. I was kind of hoping for a throwdown between Alex Perriello, CEO of Realogy and Joe Horring of Realty Alliance. Joe was more bombastic but sadly no pile drivers or fisticuffs.
Another thing that I enjoyed was that they had a lot of vendor love going on. Bob freely put up a lot of vendors to showcase their products and services. Some of the vendors did a great job of talking about a broader message and weaving their products in to that message, but sadly most were just doing a 15 minute long commercial.
Schmooze and booze
On the hospitality side things were great. The hotel was centrally located so you could walk to a lot of restaruants. The HAR staff was very helpful and any hosted bar that serves Tanqueray Ten is number one in my book! Here’s a quick tip if the event is held at the same hotel next year. Mo’s, walking distance from the hotel, has bar doesn’t close until 1AM. Just sayin….
Other highlights were presentations by Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley from MOVE. Really great presenters. Errol used this insane picture of a view from a beach with fireworks, a comet and lightning storm to symbolize the state of the industry (You had to be there.) I heard more than one comment on John Heithaus’s presentation and his ability to use a Glengarry Glen Ross clip without swear words.
Some other random stuff I thought was cool. Channing Dawson of HGTV used the term “Home Lust” or “House Lust” a lot (can’t remember which one of these terms he used). A really great piece of jargon I had never heard before. It appears that someone else was paying attention because Robert Drummer of iMapp when he heard the term immediately went online to check to see if the domain was available. It was. And now HomeLust.com belongs to him! Classic.
Best Audience Question
The best question asked at the conference came from David Charron during Ann Bailey’s update on the CIVIX settlement.
David Charron: Is RPR going to help pay for the CIVIX settlement?
Ann Bailey: MLS providers should contact their RPR reps directly to work out details.
and so without further delay…
Vendor Alley Public Service Announcement
I think its great that RPR is willing to help out with this effort so in the interest of public service here are the names and contact information of all RPR reps that MLS providers should call and request cash assistance with CIVIX:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 949.910.6285
Ernie Bottom -East
Email: email@example.com Phone: 262.785.0633
Kristen Carr – Southeast
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 561.441.9494
Email: email@example.com Phone 315.559.5238
Kristen Hernandez – West
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 214.471.3795
A full list can be found at http://blog.narrpr.com/about/industry-relations. You’re welcome.
Compelling content, great speakers make this event a must attend. My congrats to Bob Hale and his team plus a special thanks goes out to Sam Scott, Rene Galvan and Shawn Dauphine for their wonderful Texas hospitality See you next year!
[Cupcake Photo Credit: Lisa Herrin]