Fathers Know Best

Jun 17, 2007 Michael Wurzer

About five years ago at the NAR mid-year convention in D.C., I was chit chatting with Warren Koeller (one of the founders of Risco MLS and Lockbox, which were bought by FNIS and GE, respectively) and casually asked if he was going to be at the next RETS meeting. Warren kind of chuckled, which, without anything more, said to me that he’d “been there, done that.”

I’ve always enjoyed talking with Warren, as he’s been one of the true leaders of the MLS industry over the last thirty years. Despite my respect for Warren, as I heard him chuckle, I thought his skepticism over the standards was not warranted. I thought the standards would be ushering in a revolution. That was five years ago (at least), and, suffice to say, there’s been no revolution and, as I head off to another RETS meeting this week, I can’t help but think back to the experience and wisdom behind Warren’s chuckle.

I think Warren also would chuckle at Zillow and their inevitable march toward approaching MLSs for listing data feeds. They just recently started asking brokers for listings. They need critical mass, and their earlier attempts haven’t come close. Maybe they’ll get there if some of the big brokers decide to participate, but my guess is that critical mass will only come through the cooperative model of the MLS.

I’m tempted to conclude with something like, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” But I don’t think that’s true either. Change is real and we’re in the midst of some serious changes in the MLS industry. I just think the sources of change may not be as obvious as others believe.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially those who’ve been there and done that.