Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

My interview with Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf

The first 4 months at Lone Wolf have been an awesome learning experience for me. Lone Wolf and W+R Studios have always had mutual customers, and I was always aware of the forms and transaction management business but now I’m getting a full immersion course. What I’m learning the most is this, at scale, it’s a tough business. I know that competition is starting to rise in this space, I would only say to them, be careful what you wish for.

With that in mind, I sat down to talk with Lone Wolf’s CEO, Jimmy Kelly. I was surprised but not surprised that he agreed to do this interview with me. I don’t think we made any edits or cut anything out, it’s about 30 mins long and worth the watch. Jimmy answered all my questions, even the tough ones (check out the timeline), and I still have a job!

Hope you enjoy and see how running a form business during the beginning of a worldwide pandemic is a little like Lucy and Ethel working at the chocolate factory.

Timeline:

:40 – Introduction to Jimmy, and history in software industry

4:20 – Greg and Jimmy discuss forms changes and frequency of requests

5:15 – Looking back on pandemic, COVID requests, and response from Lone Wolf

9:30 – Greg asks about product outages, instability. Jimmy discusses what’s going on at Lone Wolf.

12:00 – Greg: What do you say to customers who’ve heard that before?

16:05 – Jimmy discusses future of Back Office. 

17:45 – Greg: Are Transactions (zipForm Edition) and Transactions (TransactionDesk Edition) eventually going to merge? 

20:00 – Greg: What do you say to customers who want you to focus on current issues rather than innovating/buying companies? 

23:45 – Jimmy previews what he’s most excited about coming soon from Lone Wolf

29:00 – Greg: What can you share about Stone Point Capital acquiring CoreLogic? 

31:30 – Is Greg a thorn in Jimmy’s side?

“Prepare for the death of social”

I’m attending the Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland. I’m told it’s the biggest conference on content marketing in the country. It’s my first year here and its been great. Highly recommend it to any inbound marketers out there.

One of the speakers, and the founder of CMI, Joe Pulizzi, gave a great presentation about the future of marketing. One of his slides struck me. It said simply…

“Prepare for the death of social”

The premise is that social media is reaching a tipping point. Fake news, lack of privacy, hackers and the fact that sooooo many people/companies are pushing ads on social media that it’s becoming somewhat of a cesspool. A platform people will not trust any longer.

I know many agents who leverage social media in their business. Also, many vendors rely on selling ads as a business model. And a lot of those ads (most) are on social media platforms (Facebook).

Joe doesn’t know if this will be one year from now, 3 years, or 5 years. But it’s still good advice.

Be prepared.

Happy Holidays

W+R Studios had their Year End Meetings this week. We put this video together as we were doing our ugly sweater workshop.

#MannequinChallenge

Halftime

Like many of you we started off the year with a plan. We made some goals, both product-wise and financial. We hired, we fired and made tweaks to our org chart to help steer our company towards those goals. One of the best things I’ve done in the past few years is having monthly meetings and go over our how we preformed in comparison to our goals month over month. Every month those metrics are tracked and we can see the progress over time. Looking back at those slides tells a story.

And now, quickly enough, its June. It’s Halftime.

Time to look at what went well, what didn’t go so well, ponder on any surprises and to see what (if any ) of our assumptions were wrong or right.

Whether you run a big company, an association, MLS or hustling for some sales, now is a good time to reflect. I’ve been doing that for the past couple weeks. You should try it.

Are we doing it wrong?

This Inman Article on “Millennials rank workplace values – No. 1 might surprise you” came up in my email again.

The article reference a study done by Deloitte, with a infographic from Statista:

chart

We’ve been doing a fair amount of hiring this year, and true to the title I am surprised by number one, which is millennials believe in a good work life/balance. Of course we all want a good work/life balance. But, I’ve been a bit taken aback by this. Because it comes off from prospective job candidates like, “I want to make sure I have time for my family and friends.” or “I don’t want to travel too much”, or “Do I have to come to the office every day?”. I think back when I was first searching for a job I wouldn’t even dream of asking such questions. I was raised to show up on time, work my ass off, and hope to get ahead.

I find myself now trying to temper my initial knee jerk reaction to questions like this with a bit more patience and awareness. Because maybe they are right.

Details emerge on MRIS/TREND MLS consolidation, and its bigger than you think.

Looks like my intel was correct. MRIS and TREND MLS are indeed consolidating. But I think there is much more to this than it seems. In a email Tom Phillips of TREND MLS stated:

“So I wanted to personally share with you that TREND and MRIS are announcing our commitment to consolidate, in order to fulfill a joint vision for the next era of MLS. This consolidation will go beyond a simple joining of forces. It will create an entirely new organization that welcomes other MLSs, associations and brokers who share this vision, to invite them to participate in the formation of the new organization.”

Along with this announcement was a link to a PDF what they call, “The MLS: Evolved”

Well written and concise. I especially like their mission statement, which was also in Tom’s email;

“To preserve compensation and cooperation, promote the expansion of an orderly and efficient marketplace, and provide participating brokerage firms greater control of and access to their listing content.”

So its pretty obvious they are going for a more “broker friendly” MLS. They think data share agreements are in the past. The report also talks about tiered level of MLS access with a base option and other options to add more products/services.

After I read the document a thought occurred to me, why stop at MRIS and TREND? The model they are creating and with the technology now (which was one of their points) why couldn’t this be the start of a national consolidation of MLS providers around the country? Both MLS providers are already in multiple states, so who says how many other states they could go to? 10, 20, 50?

The key here I think is that nobody has laid out a vision/plan. While admittedly this is more a beginning framework than a plan, they have taken a pretty clear leadership position.

So I think the MLS community should watch this consolidation with great interest. If David, Tom and the other stakeholders can execute this consolidation, and get broker buy-in, you might be seeing something entirely new, and possibly the future.

Revenue and profit

The recent announcement that Zillow is going to pay $108 Million for dotloop got me riled up. Then Dan forwarded me this article from Jason Fried, co-founder of Basecamp. So good, and keeps everything in perspective.

How much are we worth? I don’t know and I don’t care.

“Startups these days are bantered about as if they were in a fantasy football bracket. Did you hear Lyft raised another $150 million at a $2.5 billion valuation? But Uber got tossed another $2.8 billion at a $41.2 billion valuation! Then there are the companies barely off the ground getting VC backing with 25x valuations, despite having no product or business model.

Entrepreneurs by nature are competitive. But fundraising has become the sport in place of the nuts and bolts of building a sustainable business.

Can you spot the developers in this picture?

Main Street Coders550
#W&RStudios

Errol Samuelson is out of the penalty box

errol comeback
Looks like Move, Inc.’s “power play” time is over (Errol is Canadian, so I can’t stop with the hockey references).

Look for an exclusive interview with Brad Inman. It’s posted now.

Also looking forward to see Stefan’s live interview with Errol at the T3 Conference in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks.

Just don’t call it a comeback.

What does the modem say?

Love this super geeky post about what the sounds mean during a modem handshake.

The sound of the dialup, pictured

“As many already know, what you’re hearing is often called a handshake, the start of a telephone conversation between two modems. The modems are trying to find a common language and determine the weaknesses of the telephone channel originally meant for human speech. Below is a spectrogram of the handshake audio. I’ve labeled some signals according to which party transmitted them, and also put a concise explanation…

Remember when a 57K modem was the shit??

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors