Archive for the 'startup' Category

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:

gr

It’s that time of year again…

W&R Studios

INTERNAL MEMO

Date: 12/4/2009

RE: Secret Santa

There will be no Secret Santa this year. This is due to the fact that the company consists of only two people.

Thank you,

Management.

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???

radhistory1

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!

gr

Does the world really need a new CMA application?

Yes. We think it does.

This is Part I 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.

Anyone that knows Dan and I knows that we have had a history creating CMA software applications. In fact many of our friends were surprised when our new software company, W&R Studios, first launched Dwellicious, a social bookmarking site/tool for real estate, rather than a new CMA application.

Old Hat

Old Hat

To be honest both Dan and I had a “been there, done that” kind of feeling about building a new CMA application. But after successfully launching Dwellicious and Dwellicious Pro our thoughts came back to how we could really do something innovative and fresh with MLS data, APIs and the input and distribution of reports.

So in the next few weeks we are going to write about our process in creating this next generation CMA web application. We are already well under way. Some of you seen we have a name and logo already chosen at http://CloudCMA.com

We also want to talk about the history of CMA programs. Remember SuperCMA? How about J. Williams’ “System for Success Suite”? (Sellmore? ShowPro? EasyFlyer? Anyone, anyone?) I’ve heard there are still a few Lightning CMA Plus users out there.

We think it is also important to discuss how things have changed with MLS, listing data, the real estate market, and the web. A good CMA is a core application/tool for a real estate professional, so we think starting from there is a good idea.

We really have some great ideas about this new app. And it’s always a fun time creating something new. We both definitely have our head in the clouds! ; )

gr

Real Estate Walkabout – Episode I

Okay, I’m back from the Inman Connect conference. The conference was great and W&R Studios was very busy. Dan moderated a workshop called “Connect Tech”, that was well received. Dan was also a judge on two panels, one having to do with new business ideas (Connect LaunchPad) and Connect Create (I’ve already written about this here).

We also took part in StartUp Alley. This was two heavy trafficked sessions where we got a chance to demo Dwellicious to a lot of new people. The response was great!

startup alley sign

SA Table

And as many of you know we (Dwellicious) didn’t win the Inman Innovator Award for “Most Innovative Technology”, that honor went to Closing.com, so congrats to them. I was kinda bummed, but buoyed by the great feedback we had received at the show. We even got a few unsolicited “shout outs” during the final session!

Walkabout New Logo

But enough about the conference, I’ve got a job to do, and that’s to spread the word about Dwellicious and how it can help agents and brokers engage with today’s buyers and sellers!

I have a few stories to tell about a few office visit, but I thought I would start off with something I like to call, “How I roll”.

My new license plate frame!

My new license plate frame!

My Rig.

My trunk.  Extension cord, Check!  Flyers, Check! Projector. Check!

My trunk. Extension cord, Check! Flyers, Check! Projector. Check!

MacBook Pro
OSX 10.5.7
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM

iPhone 3Gs
32GB

I use FireFox 3.5 as my primary browser and Tweetie for my Twiiter client on my phone and computer.

My strategy:


I’m going old school.

Drive by local real estate offices and try to get a meeting with the broker. If the broker is not available I leave a Dwellicious Pro Flyer along with my card. Then I follow up later in the week. The end result I hope to do is have a meeting with the broker and get included on their weekly/month sales meetings with their agents.

So that’s how I roll. Check back later this week when I write about my first office drive bys and my first broker meeting.

gr

Congrats to Redfin…

Being a startup (albeit self funded) ourselves I thought this was really great to hear that Redfin recently announced they had turned their first monthly profit.

Having a product like Dwellicious we keep a pretty good eye on all major real estate portals and are constantly impressed with their site and the great group of people they have put together.

Here are some others in the industry talking about their success and what it means:

The School of Redfin revisited

Redfin Profitable

Redfin Turns Profitable, Real Estate Industry Shudders

I would have to agree with Rob Hahn‘s comment, one of 104 others, which are worth a read, on TechCrunch, where he states…

“I rather think it’s fanciful to think the real estate industry is “shuddering” as you say, Michael. I think I have a pretty decent sense of the industry’s trends, and the truth is more like, “real estate industry is excited”.”

Color us excited too! So congratulations to Glenn Kelman and his team’s success.

Dwellicious featured on Web 2.0 Blog “Inside the Webb”

Recently we were approached by Jake Rocheleau who writes for a blog, called “Inside the Webb“, which focuses on popular Web 2.0 sites.

Jake had very good questions, you could tell he had really explored the site. So check out Jake’s site and tell us what you think!

logo


Interview with Dwellicious – Organizing and Sharing Your Real Estate Bookmarks