Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

America

“I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7 year old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be President? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion: he’s a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.”
-Colin Powell
October 19, 2008

More Vendor Alley Stickers in the wild!

These two industry pros know how to rock their Vendor Alley Stickers. Want to get yours? We have a few more left, just follow these instructions.

Steve

Hearing the news today that Steve Jobs was resigning as CEO from Apple felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have always been heroes of mine.

Unlike that of Gates, Jobs resignation is just so tragic. I likened it to as if Bob Dylan had announced he could no longer play the guitar or sing. Gates got to choose another path but Jobs poignant “Unfortunately, that day has come” tells you he had no choice.

I know that loving what I do for a living makes me a lucky man. Not many people have that opportunity. And for me the process of creating and being around other creative people is absolutely the best part of my job. Sure there are disagreements and sometimes a lot of yelling and screaming. But the journey of creating is really the reward. It would be impossible to give that up.

When we started W&R Studios Dan and I decided to start fresh. After 15 years of using Windows computers we switched to MacBook Pros. We never looked back.

I think we did it for the the same reason Steve Jobs plays his favorite Dylan album.

Inspiration.

Curt

He stands over 6 and a half feet tall, he once rode his motorcycle (a Harley-Davidson) from Washington state all the way a Houston, Texas; and back! ( A trip covering over 5,000 miles), this year, he quipped, “I flew”. He lives mostly off the grid, doesn’t own a television, is the current VP of Business Development at MOVE, has a Cary Grant type of accent to his voice (meaning I can’t figure out what country the accent comes from, if any), his name is Curt Beardsley and is in my estimation one of the best minds and speakers in real estate today.

I met Curt in Kirkland Washington back in 1996. Back then I was trying to launch our product, “Lightning“, in the market in Western Washington. I met with a few brokers showing the latest innovation with Lightning. Moore Data had just introduced photos to its MLS software Compass. My business partner Dan Woolley had, for lack a better word, hacked the system so that Lightning could also display photos from the Compass MLS system. A huge feat that raised a lot of eyebrows. I still remember people looking under our table at trade shows thinking we had another computer running Viewpoint (Moore Data’s proprietary MLS access software). One of the brokers suggested I meet with a couple guys that were doing some innovative stuff, on this new thing called “the Internet”. The broker made the introduction and the next day I went to meet them.

At that time Curt was the co-founder of a company called True North Technology. When I arrived they had a small office with a single “partner’s desk”. Or maybe it was just two desks facing together. His partner was Kevin Knoepp. I showed them Lightning and our ability to display Compass photos. I could tell both of them were impressed. Dan’s hack had brought me some street cred. (Although later he confessed that at our first meeting he never heard anyone curse as much as I did.) We were a small company in real estate technology (IRIS) and so were they. What I didn’t know at the time was that Curt and Kevin were working on what would be the first web-based MLS system.

We became friends, kept in touch, hung out together at real estate conferences, traded stories and tried to grow our respective companies. True North began getting some traction, and starting launching their new MLS system with MLS providers around the country. Not long after that they were acquired by another upstart in the MLS game, GTE. GTE had a MLS software called System 4, led by Errol Samuelson. Serendipity.

Errol is no slouch when it comes to speaking and bringing big ideas to this space. If you are lucky you’ll get to see both of them speak. Any panel in which Curt or Errol are participating leave the other panelists looking like the amateur hour. Curt is a perfect fit for the cerebral Errol and the real estate industry is better for their partnership together.

Curt brings more an academic vibe to his talks. His vibe is one of a well liked professor. If the TED conference wanted someone to talk about real estate I would send Curt. His mix of data and a passion about the idea of a “Home” is very inspiring. This is striking compared to others in the space. An article I read last week in the New York Times quoted Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia; “There was a time when owning a home was a symbol of you had made it. Now it’s O.K. not to own” and continued “I’m in no rush at all to buy”. Pete doesn’t get it. Curt does.

If you have been in this business a long time you can get jaded. To actually listen to someone who inspires you is a tall order. Curt’s mix of idealism and creative energy is beautiful thing to watch and fills that tall order in more ways than one.

Farming vs. Mining

Dan Woolley tweeted about this blog post from Wil Shipley yesterday. Thought it was a good read, so here you go.

Farming vs. Mining

“In the mining model of software companies, the charismatic,
flighty founders and their investors stand to make a lot of
money. Their workers, their customers, and their secondary
investors all get boned, because these companies and their
products tend to suck.”

Source:

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RE/MAX is whack!

This is dope yo….

Clareity 2011 MLS Executive Workshop Recap

Gregg Larson and crew have certainly come up with a winning formula for Clareity’s annual MLS Executive Workshop.  Last week was Clareity’s 10th anniversary for holding the event and it was sold out almost as quickly as the announcement was made.  I’m sure they have 10 more years ahead, here’s why:

1.  Location.  While most of the country is freezing, the event is held in Scottsdale and the weather was absolutely perfect this past week, just beautiful.

2.  Don’t skimp.  They are great hosts.  Premium booze.  No drink tickets, and good food.  ‘Nuff said.

3.  Prizes.  Gregg is very generous with the prizes too.  I don’t think you will ever find an event where so many high tech prizes are given away.

4.  Inclusion.  Vendors and MLS executives are both featured in panels.

5.  Good content.  Matt Cohen keeps the sessions relevanat and topical to today’s issues.

6.  Audience participation.  Seems like you get more Q&A than other meetings I’ve attended.

7.  MLS Satisfaction Survey.  They announce the results at this event.  Pure genius.

Highlights for me include the listing syndication discussions.  Feels like there is a change in the air on this topic.  Also every year it seems like Gregg puts two industry vets on stage who may be on opposite ends of a topic.  This year it was Sami Inkinen from Trulia and Errol Samuelson from MOVE.  It’s great theatre to watch both participants answer questions and be cordial to one another.  Even though you might sense they would rather the other one not exist.

The theme of the event was innovation.  Two of my favorite presentation were the one given by Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS and another by John Heithaus of MRIS.  Mike has been talking a lot about the concept of an “MLS App Store” and the possibilities are very exciting to a 3rd party vendor like myself.  John Heithaus is relatively new to this crowd but not real estate, his fun quirky presentation was informative, provoking and entertaining.  Tough mix.

But my favorite presentation was by Art Carter.  Art spoke of the need for standards and how everyone in the room was responsible for helping this effort.  Yes I know this is a old topic, but somehow Art made it fresh.  Part of it was the message he was delivering, most of it was the fact that he was something to you don’t see a lot of nowadays; Genuine.

My thanks to Gregg and Matt and the rest of the Clareity crew for a truly awesome event.  See you next year!

Check out the Vendor Alley Flickr Photostream for photos from the event:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vendoralley/sets/72157626202301528/

“NASA never built a rocket…”

Great video about IBM and innovation.

It’s a bit longer but worth it. If you’re like me you might have this image of IBM of being a stodgy, “everybody wears a suit” type of company [kind of like PRC back in the day ; ) ]. This video, directed by Errol Morris, with music by Philip Glass, highlight some IBM’s innovations over the years.

One quote caught my attention (It’s about 30:40 in to the video). “NASA never built a rocket. NASA never built a space craft, NASA never built a computer.”

Which got me thinking about all the different vendors, from all the different industries out there. Those that make things. Getting to be part of creating products is the best part of what I do. If your lucky enough the things you create change everything, like being able to land on the moon.

Blues Brother John Mosey is becoming a meme!

I’m calling it. First Mosey showed up on Vendor Alley in his “Blues Brother” outfit at the Tarasoft party. Now I see him all over the interwebs!

On Gregg Larson‘s blog, no less than in 3 different photos. Now Goomzee has footage of John getting his groove on with a tamborine! It’s about 22 seconds in to the video.

Could John Mosey become the MLS industry’s first meme? Maybe. Here’s my humble submission.

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