The DNA of today’s CMA!

This is Part II in our “Does the world really need a new CMA program?” series in which we blog about the creation of our latest web application, Cloud CMA.

The DNA of today’s CMA!

You can’t have a conversation about the history of the CMA program, hell the history of real estate technology, without mentioning John & Jerra Morris.

John is one of the most, if not the most, interesting and smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. Jerra, John’s wife, is just about the most pleasant person on the planet. She is the perfect foil for John’s manic lifestyle.

Most people have never heard of J. Williams. They know John and Jerra’s next company Advanced Access.

Here’s some interesting things about John.

Vietnam Vet. Check.
Owned a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica, California. Check.
Raced sailboats (big ones). Check.
Top producing Realtor. Check.
Professional level racquetball player. Check
Flew hanglinders. Check.
Licensed airplane pilot. Check.
Licensed helicopter pilot. Check.
The best fucking salesman on the planet. CHECK!
Founder of J.Willams ( a company named after his wife’s father)
-creator of Sellmore CMA, ShowPro, and Easy Flyer and OneSource. -Check
Founder of Advanced Access – Check

So what does John do now?

He’s a race car driver of course!!! He also happens to owns a racetrack in Nevada too. Silly you, wasn’t that obvious???

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John Morris

When I saw him last, he had a friend of his fly his new Cessna plane (John has a helicopter too) to pick me up in Las Vegas. We then flew to, and landed on, his racetrack. When we landed and I swear he looked many years younger than the last time I saw him which was a few years back.

Anyway, I could talk for hours about John. We met back, in the mid 90’s, because John wanted to include MLS photos in his Sellmore CMA program. This was pre-internet. At the time, Dan Woolley, one of my partners at IRIS had “hacked” Moore Data’s Compass MLS system and figured out how to access their photos. We made a simple script that would match the comps in Sellmore and dial in to the Compass MLS system, then grab and insert the respective MLS photos. This was a huge innovation at the time. No other CMA application could boast MLS photo integration, even if it was sort of a hack. John’s other innovation was the ability to add mapping. He had a license for Thomas Bros mapping application and quickly saw the potential especially for a Buyer Tour type report.

When I think of the biggest innovations of J. William’s Sellmore, ShowPro and EasyFlyer programs (“The System for Sucess Suite” -say that five times fast in a demo!) I have to say:

Content, layout and structure of the reports
MLS photo integration
Mapping

My company, IRIS, ended up acquiring J. Williams’ assets and rewrote the System for Success Suite, which became the Lightning CMA Plus Suite. While the program was much more integrated and we did a deal with Rand McNally for nationwide coverage of mapping, the reports were essentially the same as the original Sellmore and ShowPro reports.

Fidelity, now LPS, ended up acquiring the Lightning CMA Plus products from HomeSeekers/Realigent. Dan and I ended up joining eNeighborhoods. That’s where the next innovation came.

Neighborhood Demographics
School Information
Recent Home Sales

Neighborhood demographics and school information was/is eNeighborhoods bread and butter. By “blending” this data with MLS data in to Buyer Tour reports we knew we had a winner. Plus the recent home sales data was pulled from county recorder offices so we even had FSBOs (non-MLS properties) for a more complete CMA.

But when you look at the rDesk CMA/Buyer Tour and eNeighborhoods CMA/BuyerTour you can see they are remarkably close in content, look, and feel to Lightning CMA Plus (Sellmore). If fact many other CMA programs have copied the old Sellmore content.

So you could say, that every CMA program out there has some of John Morris’ DNA. : )

So that’s the challenge. Dan and I feel like were fighting our own shadows. But as the saying goes; The only new stuff you’ll ever learn is history you haven’t read.

Next up, Cloud CMA logorama!

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4 Responses to “The DNA of today’s CMA!”


  1. 1 Kristi October 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Awesome 🙂

  2. 2 Jerra Morris October 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the kind comments, Greg. We think the world of you and your team!

    Jerra 🙂


  1. 1 Does the world really need a new CMA program? « Vendor Alley Trackback on October 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm
  2. 2 How to make a cloud. « Vendor Alley Trackback on December 3, 2009 at 2:40 am

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