Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Blow it up!

Matt Cohen, Clareity Consulting:

Just How Easy Should Software for Professionals Be?

“If everything else was equal about the software capabilities, training and support, availability, system speed, vendors and so forth, of course the scales would be tipped in favor of the easy software. But typically, easy comes at a cost. There’s a spectrum that runs from “full of features, information, and flexible and difficult” to being “light on features, lacking information, and inflexible and easy”.  Good software design is often the result of an effort to find the right balance.”

Something struck me about Matt’s take on “professional software”. And by “struck me” I mean it bugged the shit out of me.

“And apps with more customization capabilities (that provide the ability for agents to differentiate) are always more complicated to figure out than those that provide no options.”

It sounds like too much of an excuse. Full featured software doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes shitty software, is, well, just that, shitty software.

I have a deep respect (and a lot of compassion) for the traditional MLS Vendors. But, today’s MLS system has not just been designed by a committee but many, many, many, committees over many, many years. Usually some feature needed to be added to get the contract signed (and that board member is probably dead by now.) And nobody really needs a feature that schedules a listing alert to only go out the first Tuesday of every month anyway. Fuck!

Reminds me when I asked an MLS executive when we were first laying the ground work for Cloud MLX. I asked, “How many fields to most agents search on? 25?, 30?, 50?”.

He said, “Greg it’s less than 15”.

Mind blown.

So blow it all up. All of it. Start from freaking scratch. A simple way to search, basic auto-prospecting, an easy way to share, and listing input. Done. And then going forward make it really really really hard (like raising MLS dues hard) to add any new features.

Matrix 360 = Matrix 1
flexmls = rigidmls
Paragon = Straight Line MLS
Rapattoni MLS = Smith MLS

Boom!

NARlando 2016

Many of you are already in Orlando, personally I don’t arrive till tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’ve got a jammed pack weekend! Here are some of things that we have going on.

W+R Studios booth!
Stop by and see our newly redesigned booth. Our booth number is 1185. No ping pong this year, but sit in on a demo and get a free t-shirt!

MLS Association Executives Session
November 4, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (that’s this Friday)
Hyatt Regency, Windermere Ballroom Z

Brian Donnellan has asked me to moderate a panel with Mike Wurzer, Matt Cohen and Chad Curry on the future of real estate technology. We are going to geek out on future tech and what it means for real estate. (I’m just glad not to talk about Upstream)

AMP Presentation
November 5, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Katie and I will be demoing our Cloud Agent Suite (Cloud CMA, Cloud Streams and Cloud MLX) and highlighting recent integrations we’ve done with the AMP API.

ListHub Party
November 5, 2016 5PM-9PM
ICEBAR – 8967 International Drive, Orlando FL
W+R Studios is co-sponsoring the ListHub party. We will have a cool photo booth set up for attendees.

Corelogic Party
November 5, 2016 8PM-11PM
B.B. King’s Blues Club – 9101 International Dr. #2230, Orlando, FL
W+R Studios is also co-sponsoring the Corelogic party as well (what can I say, we like to party!)

Come by our Suite!
Katie and I will be in our Suite at the Rosen Centre giving private demos. We have a few slots open so reach out to Katie if you like to talk about adding the Cloud Agent Suite to your MLS or brokerage.

Other than that I’ll most likely be at the lobby bar (but you already knew that.)

Just remember, DON’T GO BIG ON THE FIRST NIGHT!

See you soon!

P.S. We are going to miss you Skinny!

Cloud MLX Webinar

Cloud_MLX_vertical_1_blueIt was great seeing everyone in Las Vegas last week. And to be honest I’m still not fully recovered. : )

Anywho, Katie and I had a lot of questions about Cloud MLX and since there wasn’t really a good wifi connection in the Heart Bar we only did a few demos. As you may know Cloud MLX was named “2016 Most Innovative Technology” by Inman News. But as luck would have it we had a Cloud MLX webinar scheduled for CRMLS members this Wednesday at 9AM PT. So if you are interested in seeing what all the hype is about I wanted to give you the info to take a look.

Just click on the link below and it will get you signed up.

Register for Cloud MLX Webinar – CRMLS

Or if you’d rather get a private demo, just contact Katie and she’ll set up a time.

Inman Connect wrap up

Sam DeBord had a great wrap-up of Inman Connect. Nice mention of W+R Studios and Cloud MLX.

Inman Connect speed wrap: Provoking, flipping and dropping bombs

This company is doing CMAs better than MLSs. It has better listing alerts. Now it has a superior user interface. What’s next?

Indeed.

Hunger makes the best sauce

GregDanAward
Dan and I want to send a big thank you to Brad and everyone else at Inman News for the unexpected honor of winning this year Most Innovative Technology Award for Cloud MLX. We also want to thank all of you who have supported us over the 25 years we’ve been in real estate technology. We are just getting started with Cloud MLX and can’t wait to show you more. Thanks!

P.S. Looks like Katie was pretty stoked too.

Cloud MLX Nominated for Inman Innovator Award

Cloud_MLX_symbol_blue

Cloud MLX Nominated for Inman Innovator Award, Most Innovative TechnologyOver 15 MLS providers have given green light to offer W+R Studios’ innovative new MLS front-end alternative to their membership

“Dan and I have been creating real estate software solutions together for close to 25 years. We are very honored to be included as a finalist for the Inman Innovator Award,” says Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios.

“The MLS is the real estate agent’s most used technology tool. We think innovations like our search bar, that gets smarter the more an agent uses it will change how they perceive what an MLS system can do for them,” concluded Mr. Woolley.

Looking forward to ICSF in a couple weeks, looks like Brad and crew are putting on a great show.

Cloud MLX named as finalist for Inman Innovator Award

Cloud_MLX_symbol_blue2016 Inman Innovator Awards

“The Inman Innovator Awards are given each year to recognize and celebrate industry innovation and accomplishments.

Who qualifies?
In some cases, a specific app, technology or business process qualifies someone for consideration. In other cases, the company as a whole consistently tries new things, adopts new technology or creates a new culture or approach to real estate.”

Super stoked that Cloud MLX made the cut as one of the most innovative technologies in real estate!

Cloud MLX named “Best In Show” in Clareity’s Midyear 2016 report

Matt Cohen wrote an epic post recapping NAR 2016 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo Report. It’s a must read for anyone who didn’t attend the show or was there but stuck in a lot of meetings. I’m bummed I missed the FBS Party which sounded perfect (live music, good food and great conversation).

Of course Dan and I are really stoked that Cloud MLX was named “Best In Show” in Clareity’s post. Here’s a taste…

“As with their other products, the focus is on striking the right balance between ease of use and functionality. This product looks anything BUT the same-old MLS technology.”

We are super proud of our team at W+R Studios for the hard work they put in to getting Cloud MLX launched.

Please get in touch with Katie if you want to schedule a demo.

Cloud MLX -Bringing sexy back

mlx blog image

Yours truly…

W+R Studios launches Cloud MLX, an alternative front end to existing MLS systemsNew product can also serve as a hub for existing products, Cloud CMA and Cloud Streams.

“Greg Robertson, W+R Studios co-founder, stated “Real estate professionals can’t do business without access to MLS data, yet most traditional MLS systems are difficult to use and hard to navigate. We believe MLS members deserve more choices.”

Cloud MLX is designed to get agents up and running and searching the MLS with little or no training. It’s intuitive search bar, mapping, and the use of hashtags gives MLS members better tools to connect with other agents and work smarter with clients.

Super proud of the W+R Studios design and development team. The product is amazing. Cloud MLX follows what we always strive for in our software; simple, fast and beautiful. Here’s one of our on-boarding videos highlighting searching.

We are up and running in CRMLS and would love to add your MLS. We will be giving demos at NAR Midyear this week. Please get in touch with Katie if you want to schedule a demo (during or after the convention).

This release is just the beginning. I can’t wait to show all of you what we believe is going to be a great asset to your MLS.

It’s raining APIs

Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS
Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS
Mike Wurzer must be rolling his eyes every time he reads Inman News lately. Its 2016 and the industry has finally caught up with him and his company, FBS. Back in May of 2012 (yes you read that correctly, 4 years ago) FBS announced its Spark Platform, which includes the Spark API. Which gave software developers two great things, an easy way to get MLS data and permission to sell their products to any of their flexmls customers. The Spark API allowed us to get Cloud CMA up in running in “long tail” MLS markets that we may not have served due to size or some other challenge.

Now, along with AMP, two others have joined the fray. Zillow and CoreLogic. Zillow with its Retsly Connect initiative and CoreLogic with its Trestle initiative. So since a big component of these initiatives is to target software developers to make cool stuff, and I happen to run a software company that makes cool stuff I thought I would give a quick run down of the pros and cons of each.

AMP
PROS:
Owned by NAR. RPRs effort to provide a back-end database to MLS providers has announced they have MLS providers representing over 200,000 agents interested in AMP. That’s a lot of agents, and as a software company I like the size of that market.
CONS:
Owned by NAR. Nobody that I know have has seen any API documentation, and it still isn’t clear how the revenue model would work for 3rd party software developers integrating with AMP.

Zillow’s Retsly Connect
PROS:
Owned by Zillow. Sexy technology, we used their Public Records API in Cloud Streams and were impressed. Retsly Connect looks equally cool, and lots of bells and whistles I think MLS providers would like (which is why I think Bob Hale signed up).
CONS:
Owned by Zillow. They have a chicken and egg problem. They currently have only 6 MLS providers signed up (and I think a third of them are in Canada). So, they are going to need to get some sort of traction for developers to write for the platform, but also need more coverage to entice developers to do so.

CoreLogic’s Trestle
PROS:
Big company. Knows data. They have over 300 MLS databases. Some of them the largest MLS providers in the country. That a HUGE market potential. If the Spark API provided the “long tail” MLS markets, CoreLogic would provide the freaking Elephant.
CONS:
Big company. Not launching until Q3 of this year. No API info, no revenue model announced.

For the record our plans at W+R Studios is to be platform agnostic and make our products work on any platform our customers want. But, I still want to give
a couple words of advice:

1. Try and stay away from an App Store model. I’ve been a big proponent of an “Agent App Store” in the past but it has been very brutal to get agents to change their purchasing behavior. Maybe in the post “front end of choice” world things might change, but that’s a big if.

2. Your initiative must include data access rights AND permission to sell. Make it an opt-out for MLS providers. One without the other will not scale. If I build something fast and it takes 6 months to get approval from your MLS committee to sell it, then these initiatives are essentially worthless.

In the end competition is a good thing. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting times for real estate technology. Sometimes all it takes is just a spark.

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