Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Many MLS Execs and vendors featured on 2018 SP200 list

Swanepoel Power 200

Leaders are evaluated based on the office they hold, the decision-making power associated with the office, the financial resources at their disposal, their organization’s industry significance and geographical reach, public announcements about imminent changes, their tenure and their personal influence in the industry.

Number 1 on the list this year is Gary Keller. Hard to overstate KW’s influence. They are currently the number one brand by agent count, and Gary’s writing have launched many a real estate career.

Bob Hale jumped two spots this year to #32, Art Carter made a big leap from #70 to #49. The list also included, Tom Philips, the venerable David Charron,Teresa King Kinney, Merri Jo Cowen, Rebecca Jensen, former CMLS president Kathy Condon, Jim Harrison, Matt Consalvo, Cantey Davis, Dionna Halland Anne Marie DeCatsye and Dale Ross of RPR.

Other MLS Industry folks sprinkled on the list included Errol Samuelson, who jumped two spots, Chris Bennett, Ben Graboske, Mike Wurzer, Marilyn Wilson, Victor Lund, Chip McAvoy, Gregg Larson, Denee Evans, and Mitch Skinner.

In the notable section of the report, Stefan highlighted a few people. Two of them I’m very interested in, Nick Bailey (#22), new CEO of Century 21. Nick is a Zillow alum, which could make things interesting. And of course Eric Wu, chief product developer for Zillow and Redfin errr… I mean CEO of OpenDoor (and former Trulia alum) ????

Some new blood I noticed was Leo Pareja of Remine, and taking one of my previous spots at #199, Andrew Flachner (who also happens to be a huge Demi Lovato fan, but that’s another story).

I’m also very flattered to be included on the list as at number #180, which is down from last year at #179. Yikes! I better get to more writing.

Big thanks you to Stefan Swanepoel and Jack Miller. And congrats to everyone!

BTW – Look for a new Listing Bits Podcast this week featuring Jack Miller of T3 Sixty. We had a great conversation that I’m sure many of you will enjoy.

Also, Sorry if I missed anyone, please email if I made an error.

Vendor Alley Job Board postings are up!

Not sure if you noticed but the Vendor Alley Job Board is chock full of great opportunities.

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

“The Marketing and Communications Coordinator is responsible for the execution of the CMLS communications plan and daily execution of marketing and communications projects. The ideal candidate will bring a minimum of 2 years of demonstrated success, experience and knowledge within the multiple listing services industry, including work with both senior executives and volunteer leadership. They will possess an in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry and demonstrate professional written and verbal communication skills.

Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing System (MLS)
Director of Data Quality and Compliance

“Working with the Vice President of Professional Development and Compliance with Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing System (MLS) maintain, develop and enforce MLS rules and policy.This position is responsible for the daily oversight of CVR MLS operations and serves as lead for external and internal inquiries on MLS policy/compliance issues and as a technical resource for Matrix and other MLS related services.”

Promotional Trainer

“We’re FBS, creators of flexmls, 100% employee owned, and the leader in real estate software innovation for 30+ years. We’re looking for a high-energy, self-motivated, Promotional Trainer.

This mid-level position lives within our Broker Agent Services division, which develops and sells IDX-based products and services to individual agents and brokers.”

Northern Nevada Regional MLS
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

“The Northern Nevada Regional MLS is seeking a visionary leader to begin by March 1, 2017 to continue a legacy of exceptional member service and strategic innovation and build upon the momentum that currently exists within the organization.

By focusing on keeping our 3,000 members central to the real estate transaction and moving on issues most impactful to their business, the next CEO of NNRMLS has the opportunity to keep this strong, nationally recognized, regional MLS flourishing and take it to the next level. The CEO will lead an exceptional team of 9 employees who dedicate themselves daily to the service of our members and work with a board of volunteer leadership that is engaged and enthusiastic.”

Diverse Solutions
Sales Executive

“Are you a sales professional that is passionate about helping customers grow? Do you thrive on building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with customers? Are you looking for a career where high ethical standards and hard work pay off? The Sales Executive role at Diverse Solutions provides a compelling opportunity for professionals with a proven track record to generate new customers and grow our existing business, while delivering an exceptional customer experience. You are versed in working to generate new customers as well as building and working with an assigned book of business.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty
Digital Strategies Manager

“The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty family of companies has an opening for a Digital Strategies Manager.The digital strategies director leads the online marketing efforts for the company.The role focuses on the creation and execution of digital marketing strategies designed to acquire and retain customers through interaction with the website, mobile and/or applications while delivering measureable results.This position provides leadership, mentorship and strategic direction for the digital team. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.”

One of the best parts about publishing this blog is how many people tell me that they found their next gig on this site.

See you at Inman’s Real Estate Connect SF next week

I’m looking forward to attending Real Estate Connect in San Francisco next week. I’m participating on a couple things that I think are worth sharing.

CEO Summit
This is being held on Tuesday the 15th (a “pre-conference” event) I’ve been before and its a good mix of people. I’m scheduled to give 3 live interviews.

David Charron, CEO of MRIS
Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia
Steve Berkowitz, CEO of MOVE, Inc.

I did something similar at NAR Midyear that was a lot of fun. Brad has asked me to ask each of these guys some really “tough questions”. I’ve got a few, and really looking forward to mixing it up. (And if you have a few tough questions of your own hit me up via email or leave something in the comments.)

Marketing Track – “How to Create, Build and Launch Things People Want.”

Dan Woolley and I will also be co-presenting on the Marketing Track Thursday, “How to Create, Build and Launch Things People Want.” We will be joined by the super talented Michele Serro of Doorsteps (Swipe), Winston Welborn of Hawaii Life Real Estate. Marc Davison from 1000watt Consulting will be moderating.

Getting Dan on stage is like pulling teeth, so I’m really psyched to be able to show off the brains of our operation and share our creative process.

Looking forward to seeing everyone. Just email or DM me if you want to hook up.

Scottsdale goodness.

I was lucky enough to attend Clareity Consulting‘s MLS Executive Workshop last week.  As usual, Gregg Larson put on a great event.  A perfect mix of fun and learning (and great weather).  Here’s a few highlights.

Of course a lot of the buzz was centered around Errol’s departure to Zillow.  This was announced the first day of the conference and made some interesting conversations at the kickoff cocktail party.  Not sure if Zillow’s timing on this was on purpose, but it certainly got everyone talking.

Gregg started off the conference by mentioning that we all thought that 2014 was going to be a transitional year and so far things are proving out that way.

Along with the normal shtick on pocket listings, syndication, REDPLAN, anti-scraping, I really liked the presentations about MLS providers focusing on their subscribers.  Amy Geddes gave a great presentation on maximizing subscriber experience.  Which along with Matt Cohen’s presentation on Improving Subscriber Communication and even Gregg’s daughter Amanda Larson got in the mix about using social media channels in business.  Maybe its because I recently attended a Email Marketing Summit by Marketing Sherpa but Matt’s presentation really resonated with me, you should read his summary here. I mentioned via Twitter that I think there is room for a consulting agency  just focused on helping MLS providers with membership communication.  So important.

A lot of hub-hub was created by Jon Green‘s informal study of non-MLS listings.  You can read Andrea’s article here at Inman News, although I think her title of “Study suggests MLS played little or no role in nearly half of 2013 home sales” is a bit sensational.   The founder of “Producers Forum”, Eric Trailer, spoke about their agent network and advocated for an off-MLS listings network.  I found his speaking style hard to follow.  To me the issue of off-MLS listings are a fad, not a trend.  As soon as the inventory creeps up to a normal level you’ll find these networks faded away to cocktails hours.  In my opinion they serve more as a marketing vehicle for pretentious sellers and their agents.

Gregg also interviewed Dr. Michael Sklarz from Collateral Analytics.  There has been some controversy about CA and having Michael there to take questions from the audience was a constructive thing.  The main objections I heard were from MLS providers who didn’t think AVMs are the same as a BPOs or CMAs.  Underlying some of that contreversy was that many of the brokers who are utilizing CA were not exactly being forthcoming on the usage of the data to MLS providers when requesting data.  Whether this was due to ignorance or something else remains to be seen.  One take-away, from a vendor’s perspective, is even if you are following all the rules, you have to make sure the clients who have contracted you are also doing the same.

Lisa Larson and Jeff Nieto did a bit of an “App Shoot-Out” that I thought was fun.  About 80% of the apps they previewed I hadn’t heard about and most of them were really cool.  I’m not sure if Lisa has published the list but maybe you can reach out to her or Jeff and get a copy.

Then of course was the presentation of the 13th Annual MLS Customer Satisfaction Survey.  Matt kept the presentation short this year (which I liked) and just went over the highlights.  In a nutshell LPS (now Black Knight Financial Services) and FBS are killing it.  CoreLogic is dealing with some focus problems but promise to fix them by doubling down on Matrix.  Rapattoni looks to be improving on overall customer satisfaction and Solid Earth is heading in the wrong direction, fast.

The event is also known for giving away some of the nicest raffle gifts.  Many attendees left all types of the latest gadgets and gizmos.


Dan Sales, Lucky Winner!
Dan Sales, Lucky Winner!

Homes.com did something special this year I thought was a good idea.  They gave away an all expenses paid return trip to conference next year.  That includes, registration, airfare, and hotel.   Dan Sale, CEO of  the Capital Area REALTORS of Springfield, IL was the winner.  A prize I’m sure every attendee, including me, would have loved to receive.

Many thanks to Gregg, Matt and Amanda for putting on a fantastic conference and their wonderful hospitality.



See you next week at Inman Connect NYC

Looking forward to heading out to New York City next week for Inman Connect. I’m doing a “Quick Hits” preso on the main stage (Wednesday at 10:25am) on “The Best CRMs in the Business: what should you use?”.

I’m also going to be participating on a panel moderated by David Charron dubbed, “Who Owns What? The Protection of Intellectual Property in Today’s Market”.

Also on the panel will be:
Ann Bailey, President, Pranix, Inc.
Constance Freedman, Managing Director , Second Century Ventures, NAR
Jay Gaskill, President, Real Estate Digital

For more information on the panel check out this video:

If you haven’t registered, and thinking of going let me know, I’ve got a link for a big discount.

See you there!

A (full) day in the life of Gregg Larson

From Inman News: “Behind the scenes at Real Estate Connect”-
How ideas spread and deals get done at legendary real estate conference.

“11 p.m. After hanging in the lobby for a few minutes, Larson says good night to Geddes, who goes off to her room. Larson heads up to the hotel bar to see who’s there and meets some Connect people. I leave him as he orders a nightcap.

Early the next morning. I learn that Larson’s day had not ended at the hotel bar. I find an email message Larson sent at 2:33 a.m., with the subject line, “What a fine day,” recapping the events of the night before.

“It was a long day for an old dude like me,” Larson signs off.”

2:33am? Nice par Gregg. : )

See you in New York City!

Well, after a brief hiatus I’m back to keeping the world safe! On that note I Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be attending the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York City next week. I’ve also been asked to moderate the “Technology Track” on Thursday. I’ve got a superstar list of panelists and I hope you guys will come and check us out!

strong>Thursday January 17, 20031:15PM to 2:00PM

Technology case study
How to design software agents will buy — and use.

Susan Daimler, Co-Founder, Buyfolio
Matt Daimler, Co-Founder, Buyfolio
Moderator: Greg Robertson, Co-Founder, W&R Studios

2:05PM to 2:50PM

Technology best practice forum
Mission Impossible? How to market and sell real estate software

Steve Allen from UtahRealEstate.com
Mike Sparr, CEO and Founder, Goomzee
Dan Stewart, Founder, Happy Grasshopper
Moderator: Greg Robertson, Co-Founder, W&R Studios

2:55PM to 3:40PM

Technology case study
Innovating on a new platform for old use cases

Tony Cappaert, Co-Founder and CEO, Contactually
Caren Maio, Co-Founder and CEO, Nestio
Moderator: Greg Robertson, Co-Founder, W&R Studios

3:45 pm – 4:30 pm

Technology best practice forum
Overcoming the MLS hurdle: how to get the data and get to market

Mike Wurzer, President, FBS/Spark Platform
Seth Price, Director of Sales and Real Estate Marketing, Placester
Andy Woolley, Vice President, Homes.com
Moderator: Greg Robertson, Co-Founder, W&R Studios

MLSLI’s 11th Annual MLS Tech Fair – Love on Long Island.

I’m not sure about you but my list of “go to” trade shows is shrinking. But I was pleasantly surprised last week when I attended MLSLI’s 11th Annual Tech Fair. Jenny Natale and the rest of the MLSLI staff did a fantastic job putting a great show together. Here’s a few take-aways of why I think this show has been around for 11 years.

1. Membership. MLSLI has over 20,000 members. That’s a big pool of agents to draw upon for attendance.
2. Lots of vendors. They even had a guy with helicopter drones for that aerial shot of your mansion in The Hamptons
3. Speed dating for Vendors (not what you think!); It’s a breakfast where agents could sit with vendors and ask questions.
4. Boxed lunch kept agents in the venue.
5. Great speakers for breakout sessions. (BTW: If your MLS or association is looking for someone to help you with a great strategy for Facebook and other social media sites you should really hire Stacey Harmon, she gets it.)
6. An “Appy Hour” at the end of the show where you could demo your latest CMA software over a Tanqueray and tonic. No wonder I loved this show!

Pro Tip: La Parma for Italian food, east on the Jericho Turnpike. Amazing food!

My thanks to MLSLI for all their wonderful hospitality.

See you next year!

MLS Track agenda is posted for Inman Real Estate Connect Conference.

Looks like program for Inman’s Real Estate Connect Conference has been posted. Here’s the MLS Track, moderated by the talented Merri Jo Cowen!:


MLS Solutions – Sponsored by WolfNet
Thursday, August 2nd.

1:30 pm – 1:40 pm
Welcome Remarks
Merri Jo Cowen, CEO, My Florida Regional MLS, @mjcowen

1:40 pm – 1:55 pm
MLS Data Standardization Services: Opportunities and Barriers
Joel MacIntosh, Founder and CEO, WolfNet, @joelmacintosh

2:00 pm – 2:40 pm
Standardized Data: RETS, APIs and 3rd Party Services
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? Is the industry ready for an app store ecosystem? What will the impact be on vendors who service your members? What does it all mean for agents on the street?

Moderator: Merri Jo Cowen, CEO, My Florida Regional MLS, @mjcowen
Chip McAvoy, VP, Technology Services, CoreLogic
Michael Wurzer, President and CEO, FBS, @mwurzer
Rebecca Jensen, President and CEO, UtahRealEstate.com MLS

2:45 pm – 3:25 pm
Data Access Revenue Models
When it comes to non-dues revenue from IDX, VOW and other 3rd party agreements, what’s your formula and how does it impact all parties? Who pays and what should the services include?

Moderator: Merri Jo Cowen, CEO, My Florida Regional MLS, @mjcowen
Jon Bednarsh, Co-founder, President and COO, Onboard Informatics, @jbednarsh

3:30 pm – 4:10 pm
Social, Mobile and the MLS
Explore how social media and mobile technology are impacting MLS’s, as well as how MLS’s around the country are adopting these technologies. Hear best practices and get advice from industry leaders.

Moderator: Merri Jo Cowen, CEO, My Florida Regional MLS, @mjcowen
John Heithaus, CMO, MRIS, @MRIS_CMO

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm
Updating the MLS
What’s it going to take to create the MLS of tomorrow? We’ll take a candid look at the technological, legal and business issues that need to be addressed to update outdated practices and remove some of the limitations facing MLS users and vendors today.

Agent Reboot hits the OC

I’m in Washington DC for NAR Midyear meetings and “raising professional standards” is a topic that keeps coming up. One of the ways that can help is education. Inman News has been putting their “Agent Reboot” roadshow for the past few years and it keeps getting better and better. The event is always highly rated by agents. I was speaking to Katie Lance, Social Media Director and Contributing Editor at Inman News, she says this year’s event is focusing on strategy, more live demos and less slide decks.

Next week the Agent Reboot roadshow stops in my home town of Orange County. Click on the link below for more details:

Agent Reboot – Orange County
Wed. May 23rd
8am to 3:30 pm (continental breakfast included)
$49 when they register online, $99 day of the event

The Orange County Association of REALTORS is the exclusive sponsor of the Orange County event.

If you’re an MLS or Associaiton and you are looking for ways to help your agents step up their game through education, check out the city list below and find out when Agent Reboot will be stopping by your home town.

Agent Reboot City List

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors