Good design

What lumberjack shirts are good for…

via Roger Ebert:


Ed Roberts, “father of the personal computer”, dies at 68.

I must have read almost every book on the history of the personal computer. One of my early favorites was Accidental Empires, which was later made in to a documentary, Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires. One of things I thought was an interesting factoid was that Microsoft was actually founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Not Seattle. Why New Mexico? The answer is Ed Roberts.

Ed Roberts

In no small way Dr. Roberts is a big reason why I got in to computers. I found it particular touching that as his illness grew darker Bill Gates had reached out to him with letters and phone calls and last week flew down to be at his bedside.

He was a big deal.

The fact he died on the birth of a new innovation in personal computing, the iPad, seems fitting as well.

H. Edward Roberts, PC Pioneer, Dies at 68 -New York Times

Remembering Ed Roberts -The Gates Notes

Ed Roberts (computer engineer) -Wikipedia

Cutting edge tools for Real Estate Search

2 snippets on the future (one as close as this Saturday) of real estate search.

Zillow just amazes me. While the industry keeps bickering these guys just keep innovating. I need to find another South African (Dave Gibbons from Zillow voice can be heard on the video below) to narrate my Cloud CMA and Dwellicious videos, his voice is great.

For the complete story check out, Zillow Blog: Introducing Zillow on iPad: Home Shopping Re-invented

And also check out these two grad students at MIT. Real estate meets Minority Report!


I love this quote from Jonathan Ive of Apple on the iPad design.

“I put to designer Ive the matter of all the features that are missing from the iPad. “In many ways, it’s the things that are not there that we are most proud of,” he tells me. “For us, it is all about refining and refining until it seems like there’s nothing between the user and the content they are interacting with.”
From Stephen Fry‘s Time Magazine article

Read more: Time Magazine

The Realtor and the iPad

The Apple iPad, real estate software, and sales. – Part I

Okay so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and writing a post about the upcoming release of the Apple iPad. This post is going to focus on how I see real estate professionals using the device, Part II I will focus on how I see real estate vendors using the device. You might also want to check out Gahlord Dewald’s article on Inman today as well.

The Realtor and the iPad:

One thing that’s really important and people should understand is that it’s important that your apps are 100% web based and they work on Apple’s Safari browser. Lucky for us Cloud CMA works great on Safari! Another important thing to remember is that many popular real estate apps, available in Apple’s App Store, will be ready to rock right out of the box. Lots of choices and it will be interesting to see how they translate from the iPhone/iPod Touch to the iPad.

Many MLS systems will not run on the iPad and if your agent website uses Flash consumers sitting on their couch with their iPad searching for listings (the iPad doesn’t support Flash) on your website will get a poor experience.

While I think it will be possible for some web-based real estate software applications to be used on an iPad I think the real win will be with displaying output: reports, graphs and interactive charts (which will also be a challenge for developers to create without using Flash.) Just imagine flipping through pages of a CMA while sitting at the kitchen table with a seller. But there is a danger here, which I’ll get to later in Part II.

So I think web apps that generate output and allow manipulation via “What If” scenarios of that output will be awesome, for example:

1. What if the interest rate went to 6%?
2. What if I lowered the total commission to 5.5%?
3. What if we listed the house below $500K, what does that do historically to the DOM?
4. What if we based the List Price on avg. $ per square foot instead of the median of the comps.?

This will make a listing presentation a truly interactive and collaborative experience.

Or imagine real estate agent handing their buyers an iPad as they go out on tour. Any comments and ratings will instantly update the buyer’s final report output.

Will REALTORS embrace using the iPad for searching the MLS? Not likely. Will users use the device to fill out forms? More likely. Will REALTORS use the iPad to show reports (i.e. PDFs)? I think this is a no-brainier. As a software company we are excited about seeing the possibilities with the iPad and what new software applications the real estate industry will come up with. We’ve certainly got more than a few ideas ourselves!

Cloud CMA now includes Yelp.

Cloud CMA integrates Yelp!

My business partner Dan Woolley likes to refer to Cloud CMA as a “platform”. Meaning he can develop all sorts of fun and useful report pages based on the data available. And our preferred method for non-MLS data is the use of APIs (application-programming interface). An API is basically a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a web-base software application or Web tool. Currently Cloud CMA uses about 15 different APIs.

We get all sorts of ideas for different report pages for Cloud CMA. Today we released something that has been in works for quite awhile.

We are very excited about this new Yelp integration with Cloud CMA. Now we can show a report page with the closest restaurants, and their Yelp score, to properties in a Buyer Tour or Property Report.

So real estate agents will “foodie” clients can now automagically include this in their Cloud CMA reports. And when their clients are viewing the reports as a PDF they can click right through to the restaurant’s Yelp page.

Bon Appétit!

Cloud CMA – When it rains it pours!!

Ever since Dan and I came down from the Empire State Building in New York we seem to be going at lightning speed!

[See photos from our launch of Cloud CMA at the Empire State Building here.]

We had a great time in New York at the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference. It was good to see everyone and show them what we’ve been working on. The response was fantastic!

At the event Dan and I were on a few panels, Dan moderated the Connect Tech portion of the conference and the content and attendance was great.

I had a chance to participate in the “Start-up Shoot Out!” This is where 7 entrepreneurs got to pitch their product. Then investors and audience members would weigh in on what product they liked the best.

You can see a video of the panel(s) at Inman News (you must be a premium subscriber) The first video is “the entrepreneurs” on stage, the second video is where “the investors” give their opinions on which product they would invest in.

All 3 investors singled out Cloud CMA and iPromote. In the end Nabewise won the grand prize, but Cloud CMA also received a prize of $2,500 in free advertising on Inman News. Read the full story here.

Then the guys at 1000watt Consulting posted a great review of Cloud CMA on their popular 1000watt Blog. And I quote…

“The application – which, as the name suggests, is a Web-based CMA and property report tool – evidences a deep mindfulness of end-users. Greg Robertson and Dan Woolley at W&R Studios, the brains behind CloudCMA, have raised the bar on UI design for real estate software by applying this sensibility.”

It was really great to hear they thought so highly of the product because we really respect those guys.

Then earlier this week we launched our first MLS customer, IRES in Colorado. The entire IRES staff and the wizards at RealGo have been a pleasure to work with. So far the response has been great from IRES members. Here’s an snapshot from IRES’ Facebook page: