It was the biggest CMLS conference by attendance and sponsorship. I remember when it was a small group (Northwest Council of MLS), say less than 90, for the whole conference. Compare that to today, where FBS took out over 90 of their customers to dinner on Thursday night. Things have changed. I may be biased but I also have to say it was the best location as well. The weather was perfect. The hotel was fantastic. The food was amazing. You have to give it up to Art Carter, Patty Connor and the rest of the CRMLS staff for pulling off such and incredible event.
Before the event I heard a few people complaining about the agenda. They were wondering why all the “non-industry” speakers. Art Carter made it clear from the beginning, he wanted to craft an event, “I would like to see”. As it turns out the outside speakers were a huge hit. So much so, I bet future conferences you’ll see more of them than less.
Then there were the parties. My company held an “Open House” at our W&R Studios headquarters down on Main Street on Tuesday night. It was a huge hit, even if it required you to go big on the first night. Trulia and Zillow held separate events, one at Red O restaurant in Newport Beach (very che’che’). And of course there was Mini-Kiss event at Hurricanes on Wednesday night (I heard the band was spotted later and a local I-Hop around 1:30am, can you imagine the stares?)
Again, I may be biased, and I think I say this every year, but CMLS 2014 was best CMLS conference ever.
And then Craig Cheatham took the stage.
It was about 4:15PM on Friday afternoon and Art had a big smile on his face. He even commented, “If you are wondering why I have a big smile on my face its because I see so many of out there.” Having Craig Cheatham, the CEO of The Realty Alliance, as the last presenter was no coicendence. It was a master stroke from Art and did exactly what he hoped, keep people in their seats for the entire conference.
It’s hard to blame Mr. Cheatham for what happen next. And I have to give him credit for showing up, the expectations were pretty high. But he seems to be just a messenger, and a poor one at that, to the whims of The Realty Alliance masters he serves. Kind of like a Roger Goddell, with much less pay and prestige.
The Realty Alliance had gotten the MLS industry’s attention with Mr. Cheatham’s declaration last year, of “You’ve got 10 days”. One year later they had nothing to show or really talk about. Mr. Cheatham’s responses were, at best, oblique. I think John Mosey, CEO of Northstar MLS, put it best in a follow up question, Mr. Cheatham’s statements were “clear as mud”.
The subsequent interview was, at best, awkward, at worst insulting and a waste of everyone’s time. It’s a shame because the audience was full of MLS professionals who truly wanted to help make things better. It reminds me of the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
But lets move on, and not waste anymore time on these Keystone Cops.
My thanks again to everyone at CRMLS, the CMLS board of directors (you too Sarah), for putting together a truly spectacular event. And see you next year in Kansas City!