Friday Flash: Oof

I’m liking Bob Goldberg as NAR CEO.

Dale Stinton was a tough guy. Bob is, shall we say, a lighter presence. He’s amiable and engaged. He passes the “I’d like to have a beer with him” test.

And he’s also not afraid of action. Last week, he ended RPR’s AMP initiative – something about MLS databases – and stated his intention to pursue a 20% cut to RPR’s overall budget in 2019.

My opinion remains that RPR should be shuttered completely.

But props to Bob for doing something.  

I have to say, reading Inman’s story on this, a couple things really hit me.

First this:

NAR also acknowledged that AMP was behind schedule and had yet to launch, though did not respond to a question asking what the project’s specific problems were. “Yes, after a two-year commitment of funds from NAR and with pilot testing still not started, NAR’s CEO and leadership team determined that AMP was not a core area of focus for NAR or RPR,” [NAR spokesperson] Wiskerchen said.

Two years, millions of dollars and… nothing? Oof.

Then this:

“RPR’s goal has always been to support the core competence of its members by creating a national platform of property information; suspending AMP development allows RPR to refocus on that mission and our core member benefit products, as well as ensure delivery of Upstream so that brokers have more control over their listing data,” said RPR CEO Dale Ross in a statement.

This spin on bad news coming from Dale Ross is arrogant. It’s insulting. It’s an obnoxious belch of strategic self-justification.

Please keep cutting, Bob.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has re-launched its Beta Brokers initiative, a celebration of small, independent real estate companies doing interesting things.

1000watt worked with Sherry Chris and the BHGRE team on this, and we love the idea. A national franchise brand promoting small indies is gutsy, but entirely consistent with both Sherry and the brand she leads. Open. Inclusive. Willing to learn, share and recognize inspiration from wherever it may come.

Google is now using artificial intelligence to tell people using its Flights service when a flight is delayed before the airlines disclose – or even know – this.

This piece from Fast Company explains it well:

What we’re seeing with Google Flights is a fight being picked–and the weapon of choice is sheer information. With the service, Google is saying that its own intelligence on a topic is more reliable than the source that most of us rely upon.

The set-up here is adversarial, with Google using its power to pry open a recalcitrant industry. I tend to think AI will play out differently with real estate. Consider startups like Buyside (predicting demand for a specific property) and First.io (predicting who within an agent’s sphere is ready to transact). These services support the agent and broker.

Real estate’s diffuse structure and tangle of data often impede progress. In the case of AI, I think these things deflect what could be a frontal assault into more complementary territory where we can find balance between human and technological value.   

Real estate brokers have always competed for talent. But in many markets they are now locked in an endless internecine war that’s bleeding coffers and distracting leaders.

I’m starting to think that if anything drives the widespread adoption of the W-2 model in real estate, it will be this.

Enjoy the weekend.

[Disclosure: First and Buyside have been 1000watt clients.]

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