Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Greater Las Vegas Association MLS Tech Forum – See you there!

I look forward to GLVAR MLS Tech Forum every year. Stephanie Hill puts on a great event. The event is next week and this year the one and only Stefan Swanepoel will be doing the keynote.

Surprisingly enough they asked me to kick off the event by moderating a panel on technology. So I reached out to a diverse set of people I really respect and who are much smarter than me, Greg Fischer, Sarah Trent Miranda, and Jeff Turner. But I wanted to be a little counter intuitive, and ask the panel, “What technology do agents actually need?”

So if you are in Las Vegas, come join us!

The W+R Studios Speakeasy

It was great to have the COVE Conference in Huntington Beach. One of the highlights was hosting a party at W+R Studios office. We turned it in to the “W+R Studios Speakeasy”. We made a short video of the event, please enjoy.

My thanks to Diane Ruggiero for letting us tag along with her event.

See you in Austin!

Really excited about seeing and catching up with everyone at CMLS next week!

I’m going to be giving my “Industry Update” again, this year. I’m told it was the highest rated session of CMLS last year in Las Vegas (and the lowest). I’ll be onstage Friday the 15th at 8:50am, Lauren Hansen will be doing an introduction, so don’t go big on Thursday night!

Restaurant UI/UX

Maybe this is something that has already happen to you, but it was new to me.

Last night at dinner the waiter came by and asked a late arrival at our table, “Sparking or flat water, sir?” The guest answered, “Sparkling, please” and the waiter removed his glass and left the table. My assumption was he was going to get his glass filled. Almost as quickly as the glass was removed it was quickly replaced by another glass by someone else on the wait staff.

I thought it was a simple mistake, another waiter thought the glass was missing from the place setting. But then we noticed that the new glass had a slight tinge of blue. While others at the table (the ones who had requested flat water) had no color.

We quickly realized that from now on any member of the restaurant staff could fill each guests glass with the right type of water without asking.

How cool is that!

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.)


See you soon!

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

CMLS 2014 afterglow and hangover

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!

Today is Bob Hale Day.

The city of Houston has proclaimed today, October 25th, 2013, Bob Hale Day!

bob hale day

And I thought that every day was Bob Hale Day! Congrats Bob! #bobfest

The Passion Of Bob Hale

Bob Hale, CEO of H.A.R.
Bob Hale, CEO of H.A.R.
The fight to keep the option of associations and MLS providers to give their members a choice of providing a public facing MLS site could have no better hero than Bob Hale.

He seems to be everywhere. And when he isn’t there, his name is still on the lips of everyone. In D.C. you had a sense that Bob was fighting for much more than the right for MLS public facing websites, he was fighting for his legacy.

I can’t say that I know Bob all that well. But when first meeting him and his wife Susie you got a feeling that these were “good people”. From time to time he does send me a text or a quick email with an insightful comment on a blog post I have written. I think he gets my weird sense of humor. His name has been so prevalent in our industry a few years ago I came up with the Vendor Alley awards, and the top “Vendy” I dubbed “The Anyone But Bob Hale Award”. I was glad to hear he liked the homage.

A quick story. I was visiting Houston a couple months ago and had a chance to get a tour of the HAR Central Office. Sam Scott graciously led me around introducing me to staff members. Towards the end of the tour we stopped by Rene Galvan”s office. Papers with handwritten notes were strewn across Rene’s desk. Bob was seating at the end of Rene’s desk just finishing up a phone call. They had been working on the MLS policy back then, and it was apparent they had been working for hours (days) and more hours (days) to come. “Hey buddy,” he said, “How you doing? Welcome!” His phone rang again, “I gotta get this”, and he was back working the phones. Lyndon Johnson would be ashamed. My impression was its not easy being Bob Hale, it takes work. A lot of work.

When I walked in to the the MLS Policy committee meeting last week Bob was at the microphone. He was summarizing the importance of MLS public facing websites. Answering questions, fielding counter arguments, always with a glint in his eye….in the arena.

The fight isn’t over. More challenges lie ahead. His biggest yet might be finding a decent hotel room in Boise at the 2013 CMLS conference. But this year, if I had to give out the “Anyone But Bob Hale Award”, I would have to give it to…Bob Hale.

CMLS 2011 Recap – Killer Clowns and Killer Content.

CMLS 2011 – What a week!

It’s taking me a little longer to recover from CMLS last week. I think it mostly had to do with one of the best lobby bars I been to in recent blurry memory (open till 2AM!). You have all heard by now that is was the largest CMLS ever with over 500 people in attendance. Which is very impressive since it was a bit of the beaten path. Wes Wiggins had originally committed to hosting the conference prior to him taking the top spot at RMLS- Florida. Phil Tedesco is a class act and he and his team did an excellent job of putting together a great conference along with Sarah Carlton and the CMLS board of directors.

A few highlights:

I enjoyed the “What keeps me awake at night” segments. The lights dimmed, and a single spotlight shown upon the speaker. My favs were Curt Beardsley and Mark Lesswing. If anyone has video of either please forward to me so I can post. Just great stuff.

The send off of Peter Shuttleworth (who is retiring) was also fun and Peter is a good sport.

Congrats to Jim Harrison who was elected in to the CMLS Board of Directors.

I also enjoyed the videos shot of non-industry people who were asked questions like “What is an MLS?”

Brian Boero , of 1000watt Consulting gave a talk about implementing what he called an MLS “data socket”. This concept has been talked about before, but Brian put the idea in to focus.

The booth placement for vendors made for lively conversations and a few bumps as people made the gauntlet down “vendor alley”. Which brings me to my announcement of “Best Booth of CMLS 2011”. The honor goes to 10K Research. Great signage, marketing materials and spot on messaging made it my favorite. Great job to the 10K team!

10K Research-Best Booth of CMLS 2011
10K Research-Best Booth of CMLS 2011

I wasn’t too thrilled at the Old Tucson Studios “Hootenanny'”. After a 50 minutes bus ride you were treated to a park full of “killer clowns with chainsaws” sneaking up on you. But I digess…

The last session was also fun. Executive Trainer Brian Taylor asked for a “Lone Nut” to come up on stage and ask the audience to follow him on a big bold idea. It was no big surprise when Russ Bergeron stood up to applause and took the stage committing to supporting RESO‘s effort for real estate data standards. He then asked everyone to join him in this pledge. I have a video of what happened next below (sorry for the screen orientation issues):

You should also check out Matt Cohen’s blog post on the event here.

I’ve lost count on how many CMLS conferences I’ve attended ( I think it’s 12) and they just keep getting better. It’s the perfect blend of education, networking and a good time.

I took a few photos which you can check out at the Vendor Alley Flickr Photostream by clicking this link

Next stop Boston, where MLSPIN will be our host of CMLS 2012. See you there!

Inman Anticipation…

Like many of you I’m heading up to San Francisco next week for the Data Summit and Real Estate Connect conference, both hosted by Inman News. So here’s a prelude to some of the things I’m looking forward to and thinking about:

I will be attending Inman’s Data Summit. The event will be hosted by Gahlord DeWald and Rob Hahn. I always enjoy getting together with Gahlord, he is a smart guy and I always learn something so it will be interesting to hear he perspective on the data issues plaguing the MLS/Real Estate Industry. Rob Hahn, aka “The Bard of the Long Form Post”, will be hosting too. Rob is always good at making me re-think my current assumptions or at least giving an interesting perspective.

Dan Woolley will be moderating the “Connect Tech” session once again this year and I’m sure he won’t disappoint. Traditionally a geek fest Dan always seems to bring together great minds for interesting conversation about XML and whatnot. The Connect Tech sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 and start at 8:30AM and end at 12:00PM.

This year Mike Wurzer takes a break from moderating The MLS Innovation Track (Brian Boero will ably take on the task) on Thursday July 28th, starting at 2:00PM. I’ll be on a panel entitled “Managing Your Distribution Channel and Vendor Relationships Profitably and Responsibly”. On the panel with me will be Curt Beardsley of Move, Inc. So please join me as I try not to look stupid sitting next to Curt.

I’m also a big fan of Brad Inman‘s Welcome Address. This year he will be speaking of “The Post-PC World”. But a lot of the hosting duties appear to be taken over by Chris Smith, Inman’s newly hired “Chief Evangelist”. I’ve seen Chris speak at an Agent Reboot Conference and just sat in on a webinar he hosted yesterday. Chris is the real deal, and a very talented speaker who really knows his stuff. The question remains can he go deeper to the the larger issues involving the real estate industry and not just do a presentation on “The Top 10…..”, I think he can, but as an “evangelist” does he even have to?

I’m also look forward to hearing from Joe Bebbia of Airbnb, which for some reason really fascinates me. It will be good to get Ron Conway’s perspective on things and I think David Pogue will be a good draw as well.

But the “Belle of the Ball” might just be Zillow. After a being valued at just about a Billion dollars these guys have to be pumped, and what a perfect conference to strut their stuff. But don’t think the other guys will be sitting still, word on the street is that there will be at least 1 big announcement next week ( I know, I’m a big tease).

Plus doesn’t it seem like there is a lot more parties this year? Almost every night there are one or two parties to go to. I sure hope my liver is ready.

Parties aside to me the next big issue, which we are already having to face, is the advent of these patent lawsuits. As an independent software developer I can tell you that its a big issue that I’m afraid is only going to get worse. It’s not just a real estate issue, this post by Craig Hockenberry spells it out best.

I arrive Sunday evening. I hope to catch up with everyone. And remember Vendor Alley’s first rule of conferences….Never, And I Mean Never, Go Big On The First Night!

See you there!!

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