Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson

Rob Hahn a.k.a. The Notorious R.O.B. and Greg Robertson discuss organized real estate in a disorganized manner.
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Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson






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Dec 31, 2018

We know that Compassis built around technology and that the real estate company has a shit ton of money—$4.4B, to be exact. But what else do we know about the tools and resources Compass offers its agents or the direction the company might take moving forward? Lucky for us, the firm’s most recent vision statementwas published online, and while it was incredibly inspiring, the presentation also raised a number of questions.


Rob and Greg welcome special guest Sunny Lake Hahn, partner at 7DS Associates, to offer a broker’s perspective as they discuss the Compass vision statement. Greg offers an overview of the presentation, covering the suite of products and services that Compass offers their agents and CEO Robert Reffkin’s inspiring personal story and message of empowerment. Sunny explains why she was impressed by the company’s COO offering for agents as well as their technology feedback loop.


Rob, Greg and Sunny debate whether Compass can provide a consistent user experience, describing how the company does offer continuity in terms of tools, resources and consumer-agent interaction. Greg shares his take on why wooing agents with a payout might be problematic, and Rob speaks to Compass’ potential play to generate revenue through preferred vendors. Listen in for Sunny’s perspective of Reffkin’s emphasis on female entrepreneurs and learn more about what differentiates Compass—and what makes it just like all the other brokerages.


What’s Discussed: 


Compass’ strategic decision to publish their vision statement

The suite of products and services Compass offers their agents

CEO Robert Reffkin’s inspiring personal story and message

Sunny’s insight on the value of Compass’ tech feedback loop

Compass’ contract provision around using the tools provided

Why Compass cannot guarantee a consistent user experience

How Compass can provide continuity in terms of resources

Greg’s take on why wooing agents with a payout is problematic

The potential for Compass to leverage the ‘referral economy’

Sunny’s view of Reffkin’s message on female entrepreneurs

Sunny’s idea for brokers to execute on the COO offering locally





The Compass Vision

Women Up

Glenn Kellman’s Gender Pay Study

The Red Dot


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Dec 22, 2018


Look into your crystal ball and ask about the future of real estate. A venture capitalist’s vision of the industry eliminates agents entirely in favor of the data a tech company can provide. A number of brokers are hoping to go back to the future and once again serve as the gatekeepers for real estate listings. Meanwhile UpstreamRE can’t seem to get a clear picture of its future at all. Will software ‘eat the real (estate) world’ as the recent a16z video suggests? Will brokerages find a way to regain control of their listings? Will UpstreamRE ever nail down an objective?

Rob and Greg start their review of recent real estate news with a discussion of the humbling Andreessen Horowitz video exposing the obvious flaws in organized real estate. They cover Alex Rampell’s argument against the narrative of agent as ‘trusted advisor’ and his thesis that metrics will eventually replace agents. Rob describes how technology might impact the future number of real estate agents and how much consumers will be willing to pay for guidance from a professional.


Greg shares his frustration with the ‘obvious BS’ surrounding UpstreamRE’s breakup with NAR, offering his take on why the alliance didn’t work and the new narrative around the company’s purpose. Rob and Greg both deliver their predictions regarding who UpstreamRE’s new vendor might be and how MLS providers may view the project’s latest pivot. Listen in for insight into the futility of broker efforts to regain control of listings and learn why UpstreamRE’s new vendor may want to ask for their money up front!


What’s Discussed: 


The Andreessen Horowitz video on organized real estate

Alex Rampell’s argument against the ‘trusted advisor’

The prediction that metrics and data will replace agents

Mike Delprete’s insight on loss aversion in transactions

Money and partnerships vs. execution in tech startups

The impact of tech on the number of real estate agents

Why UpstreamRE’s partnership with NAR didn’t work

The new narrative around UpstreamRE’s objectives

Rob & Greg’s predictions re: UpstreamRE’s new vendor

How MLS providers may view UpstreamRE’s latest pivot

The futility of broker efforts to regain control of listings



Andreessen Horowitz

a16z Podcast

When Software Eats the Real (Estate) World

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answersby Ben Horowitz

Who Is Michael Ovitz?by Michael Ovitz

Creative Artists Agency

PropTech CEO Summit


Mike Delprete on Loss Aversion

Rob’s Upstream Post

Greg’s Upstream Post

New York Times Financial Crisis 2019 Article

The Red Dot

W+R Studios


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Nov 30, 2018

We can all agree that the real estate industry is evolving quickly. Is there any way to predict who the winners in the space will be over the next few years? Brad Safalow has done nine years of research surveying hundreds of real estate agents on the housing market in general, online lead generation, marketing and technology. Curious what all that data might tell us about the future of industry players like Zillow, Redfin and Realogy? What about the potential market share of the growing iBuyer model? Or how independent brokerages might respond to the competition?


Brad is the founder of Please Act Accordingly Research, an independent research firm providing investment ideas to professional money managers and high-net-worth individuals. He began his career in the leveraged finance group at JPMorgan before joining RiverEdge Capital, a global equity hedge fund, where he specialized in small/mid cap stocks and short idea generation. Brad has been serving clients through PAA since 2009, generating 6+ action-oriented investment ideas annually, with high absolute return potential.


Today, Brad joins Rob and Greg to share a high-level overview of his report on the real estate industry. Brad shares his take on the challenges Zillow is facing with the backlash against Premier Agent 4 and its foray into the iBuyer market. Rob highlights the concentration of power in real estate and its influence on Zillow’s continued success, and Greg asks about the pros and cons of the iBuyer model and its potential share of the marketplace moving forward. Brad also shares his experience working with Redfin versus a traditional brokerage, and they offer insight around how Redfin’s national ad campaign might prove to be a seminal moment in the industry. Listen in to understand how independent brokerages like Keller Williams and Realogy are responding to the iBuyer threat and a potential shift in commission structure—and get Brad, Rob and Greg’s predictions around the winners and losers in the space over the next three years.


What’s Discussed: 


The PAA annual survey of real estate agents

A high-level overview of Brad’s report

The reasons why Zillow’s stock is taking a hit

How Zillow’s growth depends on agent teams

Why Zillow launched Premier Agent 4

How Zillow responded to backlash against PA4

The concentration of power in the industry

Why Zillow is pursuing the iBuyer model

The iBuyer’s potential share of the market

How Zillow may profit as a mortgage business

Efforts to improve the consumer experience

Redfin vs. the traditional brokerage experience

The impact of Redfin’s national ad campaign

The effects a shift in commission structure

 The fear/panic among independent brokerages

Gary Keller’s understanding of the iBuyer threat

Realogy’s doubling down on traditional strategy




The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite

W+R Studios


Connect with Brad:


PAA Research

PAA on Twitter


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Aug 15, 2018

Perhaps the most compelling piece of theatre in recent real estate history, Gary Keller’s interview at the Inman Connect Conference laid out his argument around the future of the industry. Keller’s approach is to own his own data and develop a software platform unique to Keller Williams, and a number of other franchises are buying up technology companies in order to build their own exclusive data platforms. But is this obsession with technology and controlling the data distracting brokerages and franchisors from what really matters?


Rob and Greg are on the line to discuss real estate technology and data ownership. Greg explains W+R’s focus on creating a kickass experience for agents and consumers alike and describes the company’s approach to aggregating data rather than trying to build a proprietary platform.


Rob and Greg cover the growing competition in real estate software and address who is responsible for providing agents with a technology suite. They debate the merits of designing an exclusive platform versus integrating franchise data with a particular software package to create a custom data solution. Listen in for insight around the US vs. THEM mindset around building technology and learn why Rob and Greg are calling for a renewed focus on agents—and giving them the tools to shine!


What’s Discussed: 

The overarching theme of the 2018 Inman Connect conference

Gary Keller’s aim to create his own ‘platform for innovation’

How W+R seeks to democratize the iBuyer experience

The role of AI and machine learning in a technology platform

W+R’s approach to making data useful for the end user

Greg’s take on the notion of data ownership

How Zillow has evolved to generate its own data 

W+R’s focus on improving an agent’s listing presentation

Cloud Investor Connect’s value prop for investors

- High intent, high volume

Who is responsible for providing agents with a tech platform

The consistent improvement of real estate software

The opportunity to integrate software with franchise data

The MLSs role as a tech platform vs. data provider

The definition of a technology platform as an end-to-end solution

Rob’s insight around focusing on the agent rather than technology



Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot



Inman Connect—San Francisco 2018

Rob’s Gary Keller Blog Post

Gary Keller at Inman Connect

Cloud Investor Connect


RE/MAX Q2 Earnings Call

Tom Ferry Show





Brad Inman’s Tech Platform Opinion Piece

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite

W+R Studios


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Aug 11, 2018

Today’s consumer is used to pushing a button and having magic happen. (Thank you for the insight Jeremy Waxman.) And more often than not, we are willing to pay an extra fee for things like convenience and certainty. For this reason alone, the iBuyer phenomenon is here to stay, and the real estate industry would do well to consider how traditional agents might participate in the changing market.


Rob and Greg are back to offer a different perspective on the iBuyer movement, discussing how the industry is misunderstanding the phenomenon. Greg explains how organized real estate might address the consumer experience by partnering with a large financial institution to ‘be the bank’ and Rob shares his take on FSBOs and iBuyers as opposite ends of a spectrum—with the traditional REALTOR experience in the middle. 


Rob and Greg address fiduciary duty, describing the conflict of interest that occurs when agents have the capacity to make on offer on a prospect’s home. They cover the difference between iBuyers and traditional house flippers, describing the considerable capital behind companies like Offerpad and Opendoor and the significance of Zillow’s recent acquisition of a mortgage lender. Listen in for insight around iBuyers moving into high-dollar markets and learn how agents fit into a future world where iBuyers are the default.


What’s Discussed: 


How the industry is misunderstanding the iBuyer phenomenon

  • Intention to change process of buying/selling home
  • Company to figure out user experience wins

How MLS and association execs might consider the agent experience

Greg’s proposal around NAR partnering with a financial institution

Rob’s prediction that the iBuyer movement is here to stay

The conflict of interest agents face in offering to buy a client’s home

Rob’s take on FSBOs and iBuyers as opposite ends of a spectrum

  • Working with REALTOR = middle ground

The potential ‘buyification’ of the brokerage business

Why iBuyers are not as vulnerable as traditional house flippers

The significance of Zillow’s acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America

The tipping point when iBuyers become the default for consumers

The significance of iBuyers moving into high-dollar markets

The value in agents learning to pitch investor offers to sellers



Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot



Rob’s iBuyer Blog Post

Denee Evans on Listing Bits

Zillow’s Q2 Webcast

Cloud Investor Connect

Inman News: Agents can show sellers iBuyer offers with new Cloud CMA feature

Brad Inman: In real estate’s tech platform race, I’m betting on an underdog


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Jun 13, 2018


1-2 cha-cha-cha. 3-4 cha-cha-cha. DOJ. NAR. FTC. MLS.

There was a dance of sorts held in DC on Tuesday, June 5, when the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission hosted a ‘workshop’ to discuss competition in residential real estate. But while NAR and industry players prepared for the fox trot, bringing their best arguments for maintaining the status quo around data access, the DOJ put on a little salsa music and shifted the discussion to commission transparency and coupling.


Rob and Greg are reversing roles this week, as Greg spins conspiracy theories regarding the government’s intentions and the potential consequences of its intervention in the real estate industry. They speak to organized real estate’s nothing-to-see-here approach to the discussion and review the range of views shared in the Developments in Real Estate Fee and Service Models panel. 


Greg explains why decoupling would effectively end the MLS, and Rob covers the paper prepared by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggesting conflicts of interest due to coupling. They address who would benefit if buy-side commissions went away, how such changes would impact portals like Zillow, and the surprising number of industry players who support decoupling. Listen in to understand why Rob and Greg are calling for NAR or CMLS to move on this and start leading the dance to develop solutions around commission transparency.


What’s Discussed: 


Organized real estate’s nothing-to-see-here stance at the DOJ/FTC workshop

The Developments in Real Estate Fee and Service Models panel

  • Reps from Realogy, Purplebricks, Glass House & TRELORA

Greg’s take that the industry was caught off guard

  • Prepared for data access and transparency
  • Discussion of commissions, decoupling

How decoupling cooperation and compensation would end the MLS

The NBER paperon realtor commissions and conflicts of interest

The theory that real estate commissions are high due to coupling

Rob’s concern that the DOJ has already made up its mind

Why the industry needs to move on commission transparency

Why real estate is the only industry in which the seller pays the buyer’s rep

How the potential changes might impact portals like Zillow

Who would benefit if buy-side commissions went away

The leadership opportunity for NAR, CMLS to address DOJ/FTC concerns

The surprising number of people in support of commission decoupling

Public response to the previous NAR budget transparency discussion



DOJ Residential Real Estate Workshop

Rob’s Blog on the DOJ/FTC Workshop

Brian Boero’s Buzz Saw Blog Post

‘Conflicts of Interest and the Realtor Commission Puzzle’


Our Sponsors

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Jun 7, 2018

Critics of Zillow bash the accuracy of the Zestimate, but the fact is that a home’s worth hinges on what the market is willing to pay. And with the advent of Instant Offers, Zillow is backing up the Zestimate with a check. Consider the fact that Zillow has a platform to help themselves sell homes quickly and it is easy to see how Instant Offers is a game-changer with the potential to create a ‘market-maker system’ of real estate.

Rob and Greg are back to discuss the recent GeekWirepieceon Zillow’s first home purchase in Chandler, AZ. They comment on the irony of the agent’s intention to lean on Zillow for branding as well as the company’s original business model as an auction site. Rob explains the concept of an insta-flip and how it benefits Premier Agents, and Greg offers his take on the one thing that is still missing from the Instant Offers model.

Rob and Greg speak to Zillow’s data around the number of shoppers in a particular zip code and the target market for the Instant Offers model. They address the potential profit Zillow might generate from Instant Offers, the listing lead flow the program will generate, and the possibility of discounted as-is purchases on the platform. Listen in to understand how Instant Offers is likely to foster competition in the space and learn how Zillow continues to change the game of real estate.

What’s Discussed: 

Zillow’s first home purchase in Chandler, AZ

The agent’s intention to lean on Zillow for branding

Greg’s questions around double-ending and fees

How Zillow is creating a ‘market-maker system’ of real estate

  • Provides mechanism to help sell fast
  • Every home could have bid, ask price

Zillow’s original business model as an auction site

The concept of an insta-flip and how it benefits Premier Agents

Greg’s take on what’s still missing from the Instant Offers model

How Zillow’s Instant Offers further validates Opendoor

The target seller for Zillow’s Instant Offers model

How Instant Offers differs from We Buy Ugly Houses

The listing lead flow Zillow will generate through the program

What traditional brokers should do in light of Instant Offers

The potential for a discounted as-is purchase through Zillow

Rob’s insight on the possibility of Zillow offering seller financing

How Instant Offers is likely to foster competition in the space




‘An Inside Look at Zillow’s First Home Purchase’ on GeekWire

‘Opendoor is a Bigger Deal Than Zillow’ in Inman

Our Sponsors:

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite


Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Jun 2, 2018

As Peter Parker will tell you, great power comes with great responsibility. And there is little doubt that NAR has a great deal of power. With Bob Goldberg at the helm, many have anticipated a ‘kinder, gentler NAR,’ an organization that rules with a warm embrace rather than an iron fist—serving its membership with open discussion and greater transparency. Does the recent drama over the dues increase demonstrate a more-of-the-same-old approach from NAR leadership? Or is the perceived crisis around the budget an overreaction? Is there evidence that the culture at NAR is really changing for the better?


Rob and Greg are back in the ring on the heels of the REALTORS midyear legislative meeting, going toe to toe over the recent controversy around NAR spending. They start with an overview of what went down, beginning with the Houston Association of REALTORS opposition piece in Inmanand the subsequent op-ed credited to Jim Harrison of MLSListings. Rob and Greg walk us through the retractions, rebuttals and apologies that followed as well as the board of director’s vote in DC.


Rob offers his take on NAR budget priorities, sharing the questions he has around spending on things like zipLogix, RPR and advertising to protect the REALTOR brand. He goes on to discuss the way NAR handled the spending controversy, framing it as a missed opportunity to embrace opposition as a catalyst for discussion rather than ruling with an iron fist—which may discourage membership from speaking up in the future. Greg offers his defense of NAR, pointing out that the SMART Budget Initiativeis clearly outlined NAR’s website and citing member engagement as an incredibly complex issue. Listen in for Rob’s insight around NAR’s responsibility to its members and decide whether NAR is, indeed, using its power for good.


What’s Discussed: 


The Houston Association of REALTORS’ opposition to the dues increase

How the controversial op-ed credited to Jim Harrison went too far

The questions around NAR’s spending on zipLogix, RPR and advertising

The line items Rob would like to see NAR prioritize in its budget

  • Advocacy
  • Professionalism

Greg’s perspective that there is no evidence of an NAR crisis

How NAR might have handled the spending controversy differently

  • Could have offered ‘warm embrace’
  • Opposition as catalyst for discussion

NAR’s postponement of the 2.5% annual dues increase

Rob’s take that NAR’s iron fist will discourage others from speaking up

Rob’s concern about the lack of explanation regarding NAR spending

Greg’s defense of NAR as being more transparent than ever before

  • SMART Initiativeoutlines spending objectives
  • Elizabeth presented proposed budget at T3
  • Communication with membership is difficult

Rob’s belief that NAR’s power gives them a higher level of responsibility




Houston Association of REALTORS Member Survey

HAR’s Dues Increase Opposition Piece in Inman

Jim Harrison’s Op-Ed in Inman

HAR’s Apology

Harrison’s Apology

NAR’s SMART Budget Initiative

Rob’s ‘Crisis and Opportunity’ Blog Post


Our Sponsors:

Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Apr 28, 2018

If Rob and Greg are cute when they fight, then our co-hosts are particularly adorable on this edition of Industry Relations as they take on the current controversy over the new NAR logo: Is #Logogate indicative of an alarming disconnect between NAR leadership and its members? Or did NAR leadership take the appropriate steps to engage constituents in the decision-making process—and it simply didn’t work out?


Today, Rob and Greg begin their discussion with a review of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation forum in DC on using technology to make real estate more competitive, describing the lack of understanding demonstrated by the moderator and the defensiveness of the industry players on the panel. They go on to address #Logogate, and Rob shares his take that the controversy demonstrates a flaw of governance, while Greg argues that a logo is subjective—and leadership may havesolicited member input during the process.


Rob offers insight on the ‘culture of confidentiality’ he has observed among association leaders, while Greg contends that the current leadership is more transparent and proactive than ever. They wrap up with dialogue on how Zillow may be raising the bar in real estate by entering the iBuyer space, choosing the best of its Premier Agents to represent the company in selling its inventory. Fasten your seatbelt and listen in as Rob and Greg clash on ITIF, #Logogate, and the best agents in real estate!


What’s Discussed: 


The recent ITIF forum on using tech to make real estate more competitive

The defensive posture of real estate representatives on the ITIF panel

David Kelley’s focus on broker reaction to competition as opposed to data

Rob’s call for a more collaborative approach vs. playing ‘hide the ball’

The current controversy over the new NAR logo

The disconnect between NAR leadership and its members

Rob’s take that #Logogate is indicative of a larger communication issue

Greg’s view that member engagement is the bigger problem

NAR’s proposed dues increase and assumption of budget approval

Rob’s view on the culture of confidentiality at NAR

How Zillow may ‘raise the bar’ for real estate agents

Greg’s argument that the best real estate agents aren’t on Zillow




Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

‘Blocked: Why Some Companies Restrict Data Access to Reduce Competition and How Open APIs Can Help’ by Daniel Castro and Michael Steinberg

Rob’s #Logogate Blog

Rob’s Zillow Blog


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Our Sponsor:


Cloud Agent Suite

Apr 28, 2018

Is Zillow getting into the house flipping business to make a profit buying and selling real estate? Of the users who submit an Instant Offer request, one-third sell their home within 90 days—and 10% of that third take an investor’s offer. Zillow’s main play here may just be seller lead generation.

Today, Rob and Greg talk T3, iBuyers and Zillow. Greg shares his takeaways from the T3 conference, including praise for Stefan’s keynote address and an eye-roll over the ‘no corporate sponsors’ sentiment. Our hosts discuss the recent bombshells around Dale’s departure from RPR and Zillow’s expansion of Instant Offers. Rob walks us through the details of Zillow’s announcement, explaining how sellers will now get an offer from Zillow itself when they use the Instant Offers platform. Rob and Greg share surprise at the lack of backlash around the announcement, examining the benefits for an agent representing Zillow as well as the drop in stock price in light of the news.

Greg offers insight on potential abuses of the iBuyer model, considering how predatory lenders might target seniors, the uneducated, or the poor, and they cover the impact of Zillow’s shift on other players in the iBuyer space. Listen in as Rob and Greg address the windfall Zillow is likely to earn in the form of seller leads and learn how the company could solve the affordable housing crisis—and gain invaluable PR in the process!


What’s Discussed: 


Greg’s takeaways from T3

The rumors around RPR and Zillow

Zillow’s announcement of the expansion of Instant Offers

The surprising response to Zillow’s plans to flip houses

Greg’s concerns about the iBuyer model

The recent drop in Zillow’s stock price

Why flipping is not a change in Zillow’s business model

The prospect of Zillow making a fortune on seller leads

Greg’s casino analogy for Zillow’s home-flipping venture

Rob’s take on how Zillow could solve affordable housing

Zillow’s impact on other players in the iBuyer space




Rob’s Zillow Blog Post

Ben Thompson’s Zillow Post

‘Opendoor Founders Subtweet Zillow’s New Home Buying Service’ in Inman


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Apr 18, 2018

Would the woes of the real estate industry be resolved if agents were employees rather than independent contractors? At Inman Disconnect, Rob posited that shifting from the 1099 to a W-2 model would give brokers more control and allow them to address several of the fundamental issues in the space, raising the standards of professionalism by eliminating incompetent or toxic agents—without risking their livelihood.


Today, Rob, Greg and Sunny debate Rob’s proposal, discussing the challenges brokers face in mandating trainings and mentoring for new agents who are independent contractors. Greg argues that leadership is at issue rather than employment status, contending that employees and independent contractors alike are only motivated by leaders who inspire buy-in. Rob, Greg and Sunny address the broker’s responsibilities around professionalism in the industry and weigh in on whether or not brokers can afford to fire top producers who are toxic to the business.


Rob breaks down the revenue structure in a brokerage, explaining how the shift to a W-2 model would give brokers more autonomy and abate the head-count-driven model that fuels a lack of professionalism. Listen in as Rob and Greg come to an unprecedented agreement on the role of leadership in raising industry standards and learn how the law firm model—with its division of employee-associates and partners—might be adapted for real estate.


What’s Discussed: 


Rob’s proposal that the 1099 is the cause of many industry woes

The history behind the shift to agents as independent contractors

Sonny’s take on the broker’s challenge in mandating trainings

Greg’s argument that the issue is leadership vs. control

The broker’s responsibility around agent professionalism

How great leaders attract great talent

Why it’s difficult for agents to move brokerages

Why brokers are hesitant to fire toxic agents

The breakdown of revenue in a brokerage

  • Don’t make money on top producers
  • Earn on 60/40 agents (five deals/year)

How the W-2 structure would give brokers more control

What triggers the head-count-driven model

  • Companies compensate for recruiting numbers
  • No cost to keep agent who does two deals/year
  • Brokers make LESS from superstar top producers

How the law firm model might be adapted for real estate



Inman Disconnect


Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Our Sponsor: 

 Cloud Agent Suite

Apr 4, 2018

Observe. Orient. Decide. Act.


The OODA loop is a tool for decision-making developed by military strategist John Boyd. At the Inman Disconnect Conference in Palm Springs, organizers focused on the Orient piece of the process, collaborating with attendees to design a set of principles to govern the industry moving forward. The question becomes, how might those principles influence decision-making in real estate? And will such a manifesto inspire industry players to look inward and take the necessary action?


Today, Rob and Greg debrief the Inman Disconnect Conference, applauding Brad Inman’s investment in engaging the industry. They discuss the history behind the Ahwahnee Principles, a new approach to urban planning developed by mavericks in the space in the 1970’s, and how Brad is working to emulate the design of a similar manifesto for real estate. Rob offers insight around the impact of developing a set of principles and how that might translate to action and policy change moving forward, and Greg explains how big gains can be made by people in a community changing small habits over time. Rob and Greg touch on some of the principles addressed at the conference, including low-income housing and big data. Listen in as they share their top takeaways from Inman Disconnect and how the principles can serve as a device to communicate about the way we do business.


What’s Discussed: 


The intent behind the Inman Disconnect Conference

Brad Inman’s investment in engaging the industry

The history behind the Ahwahnee Principles

  • New approach to urban planning
  • Grew into manifesto (1970’s)

Brad’s aim to develop a set of principles for real estate

The real estate establishment vs. industry ‘rebels’

The controversial issues discussed at Inman Disconnect

  • Low-income housing
  • Free, open data

Rob’s insight around the impact of principles

  • Govern actions, have consequences
  • Influence policy changes

Greg’s take on the impact of small changes

Greg’s view on big data and privacy

How the principles might translate to action

  • ‘They’ vs. ‘I’
  • Device to start conversation



Inman Disconnect

The Parker Principles: A Real Estate Manifesto

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happinessby Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Our Sponsor:

Cloud Agent Suite

Mar 12, 2018

Data is the new oil—and the one with the most insight wins.


As technology becomes more and more important to the industry, many brokerages are justifiably concerned that real estate will go the way of travel and eCommerce, eventually doing away with the agent altogether. Gary Keller is uneasy about the current shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled technology, and that is where he is drawing a line in the sand. But his controversial ‘KW First’ solution has a lot of us scratching our heads…


Rob and Greg are camped out in the lobby of the 2018 MLS Executive Workshop to talk about Gary Keller’s polarizing vision speech at the recent Keller Williams’ Family Reunion. They are joined by Sunny Lake, official wrangler of Rob Hahn and partner in charge of brokerage consulting with 7DS Associates. Tim Dain, President of MARIS, the regional MLS serving Greater St. Louis, wanders into the conversation as well.


Rob, Greg and Sunny walk us through the crux of Gary Keller’s speech, explaining his fear of the shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled technology. Rob explains his take that Garry correctly identified the problem but is misguided in his solution to paint real estate vendors and MLSs as ‘unsafe’ and move to control and protect their own data. They discuss the contrasting ‘better together’ approach being taken by Re/Max and Realogy, addressing why KW would be better served to embrace other players in the fight against agent-enable technology, and Tim explains why the MLS cannot legally ‘sell out’ brokerage data to platforms like Zillow without their permission. Listen in for debate around how much of Gary’s speech may have been theatre meant to ‘rally the troops’ and how his message might impact the upcoming DOJ/FTC talks on real estate data.


What’s Discussed: 


Gary Keller’s polarizing vision speech

  • Dangerous shift from tech-enabled agent to agent-enabled tech
  • Data not safe with vendors, MLS
  • KW will collect, protect own data moving forward

The pressure on brokerages as profit margins continue to shrink

Rob’s take that Gary identified the problem but misidentified the cause

How much of Gary’s speech was theatre to ‘rally the troops’

Why KW won’t be able to do predictive analytics

Agent hesitation to share data with the brokerage

  • 6-8% average agent adoption with Contactually

Why KW’s ‘go it alone’ approach is misguided

Re/Max’s acquisition of booj

Tim’s insight around the legal restrictions on ‘selling out’ data

  • Broker decision, not MLS

The ‘open platform’ approach of Realogy, Re/Max

The fantastic culture at Keller Williams

How Gary’s speech might impact the upcoming DOJ/FTC talks




“Did KW Just Say FU to Vendors?” on Vendor Alley

“In Which Keller Williams Completely Confuses Me” on The Notorious ROB

“The Keller Williams Vision Speech: Followup and Further Thoughts” on The Notorious ROB

“Keller Williams Sheds ‘Traditional Broker’ Shell for New Data-Driven Model” in Inman


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Mar 9, 2018

After seven months in office as CEO of the National Association of REALTORS, Bob Goldberg has made some bold moves with regard to AMP and RESO-compliance. He’s also scored big on Capitol Hill, lobbying last-minute changes to the tax reform bill. And he’s cut the NAR budget by 20% and made some significant staffing changes. But should we be celebrating Bob as a change agent just yet?


Rob and Greg come to you live from the 2018 MLS Executive Workshop in Scottsdale to argue both sides. Yes, Bob has done more in seven months that we have seen from NAR leadership in quite some time, but there is a low bar for change in the association world. The scope of Bob’s success depends on your basis for comparison, and as you may have guessed, our hosts have very different takes on the issue.


Rob and Greg take on other hot topics in real estate as well, covering the major challenges in making Upstream work, the upcoming Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission workshops around real estate data, and how a set of national standards would impact vendors. Listen in for Rob’s take on potential government mandates and Greg’s insight on the ‘holy grail’ of real estate tech—marrying data standards with permission to sell.


What’s Discussed: 


Bob Goldberg’s bold moves as NAR CEO

  • Decision to scuttle AMP
  • Enforce RESO standards
  • Staffing changes

The low bar for change in the association world

How NAR dodged a bullet with Trump’s tax reform

How the governance model affects the pace of change

How cutting the NAR budget by 20% may impact jobs

The standardization required for Upstream to work

The challenges around MLS vendors and unfunded mandates

The upcoming DOJ/FTC workshops re: real estate data

Rob’s take on making RESO standards law

Greg’s insight on how national standards would impact vendors

  • Easier for new vendors to enter space

Marrying standards in real estate data with permission to sell


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


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