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Listing Bits: The Upstream Pivot with FBS CEO Michael Wurzer

by Greg Robertson on May 22nd, 2017

I had a chance to sit down with Mike Wurzer again at NAR Midyear to discuss the recent announcement about Upstream, well, not really being “upstream” anymore. This was recorded before NAR announced the details to their additional funding. More on that in a later blog post.

The first step of problem-solving is to assign blame. Right?

That seems to be part of Upstream’s tactics in explaining their delayed progress at NAR’s May Legislative Meeting in DC. They succeeded in raising the heartrate of today’s guest – by implying that a lack of cooperation from vendors is to blame for the snail’s pace of the project. Upstream also made a big announcement regarding what they term as a pivot, but may be more appropriately called a 180.

Michael Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, an employee-owned company committed to exceeding customer expectations. Their signature product, Flexmls, is a standards-driven technology platform connecting real estate professionals to their customers with collaboration tools that deliver timely and accurate information. FBS products serve 185 organizations and 2,000-plus agents in the real estate sector.

Under Wurzer’s leadership for the past 20 years, FBS has worked to constantly evolve and embrace change. They were among the first to build a web-based system, striking a balance between the stability of being an established company and creating a culture of innovation. Today he examines the Upstream pivot in detail, discussing how the Upstream messaging has evolved over time, the pain points the initiative was working to address, and the need to foster collaboration among industry players.

What’s Discussed:

The major players in the Upstream initiative
How the Upstream messaging has evolved over time
The major Upstream pivot announced at NAR’s Legislative Meetings
How the pivot was influenced by feedback from experienced MLS professionals
Greg’s take on the fundamental change in premise of the Upstream initiative
The pain points the Upstream project was working to address
– Ability to sync listings
– Integration with third party products
The buy-in for Upstream from big brands
Upstream’s explanation for its delayed progress
The need to foster collaboration among industry players rather than assigning blame
– All focused on solving broker problems
The CMLS campaign to highlight the value of the MLS
The controversy over RPR’s team of developers
The confusion re: the meaning of a ‘live demo’
The ability to enter a listing from third-party system as a RESO objective
The evolution of technology in the real estate software space
– ‘We’re building the airplane as we’re flying it’
Success stories in MLS system consolidation
The beauty of competition in shaping market dynamics
Zillow’s next steps in light of the Upstream pivot
The need for clarity of communication re: syndication
What the Upstream pivot means for AMP
Wurzer’s prediction of what’s next in real estate tech innovation
Upstream as ‘another option’ rather than a revolution


Realtor Magazine Article

“Upstream Returns to Earth” by Matt Cohen

Connect with Michael Wurzer:


One Comment
  1. David Charron permalink

    Yet another great podcast. Wurzer surely is one of the smartest people in the room> Well done guys!

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