Release Night

Nov 1, 2007 Michael Wurzer

We’re just an hour or so away from pushing our latest release live. We have a single code set managing all of our hosted customers, and so we’ll be upgrading over 100 MLSs tonight, one of the beautiful things about web software.

We’ve added a ton of new features but mostly what this release is about is making the interface more elegant. We’ve taken several core applications and harmonized them into a single interface so users can view big beautiful photos, navigate and search by maps, see all the listing details and history, compare listings statistically and graphically, as well as discuss the listings with each other. We had many of these features already but now they are together, and in that togetherness lies power. Lots of power.

There’s an excellent theory of software development that says simpler is best. In many ways, that’s right. Apple raises this to fine art, providing just the features users need when they need them, making their stuff brilliantly easy to use. Probably out of necessity, we’re developing towards a variant on this philosophy. We most definitely want our software to be easy to use but we also want to respond to our customers’ unique needs. This is important in the real estate software business because real estate remains local. Sure, standards are critical, but property in Alaska is different than property in Florida. Our software has to embrace those differences, and yet remain easy to use. That’s an enormous challenge, one I believe we’re meeting. Again, we’re upgrading 100 MLSs tonight, with a single software application that respects the differences of those MLSs and, at the same time, brings them together with data sharing technology and a common mapping platform. This release is looking far to the future.

For our customers who may be reading this, you’re in for some change when you wake up in the morning. Change is hard. It may be frustrating. I encourage you to embrace the change, have fun with these new features. I know you’re trying to sell a house today and that the changes may make that harder on this day. The payoff for that frustration will be in the next hundred or thousand or more days, when the flexmls Web system will do things that amaze and delight you and your customers. That’s our objective. We call it Net Results. It’s a slogan but one we mean.

There are those who believe MLS software vendors are obstacles to progress. All I can say to such naysayers is they should hang around our shop for awhile. Listen in on our conversations with our customers. Come to our annual Summit. Heck, read this blog. We’re partnering with our customers to create something new. Tonight a new MLS interface is being birthed. It’s just a beginning and we have lots of ideas for more and we know you do, too. We’re listening.