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CEO’s Message: Entering a World in Which We Are Not Always so Sure

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

I am writing today in support of what I believe is one of our most important functions here at MLSListings – education. We take seriously our responsibility for doing everything possible to keep our brokers, agents, leaders, and staff knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects relating to their careers and businesses, the marketplace we share, and the state of our MLS.

While our educational mandate has always been challenging it has been made even more so by the rapid pace of change that has swept over our industry at the national, regional, and local levels over the past two years.

In one-way or another the American real estate industry has always occupied a strategic position on the leading edge of research, development, and technology. But even those hectic legacy demands have been surpassed by today’s public expectations that real estate professionals be:

 

  • More responsive to consumers,
  • Compliant with increased regulation,
  • More productive,
  • And, most important of all, reach or exceed levels of profitability established by the increased presence of Wall Street and public ownership.

Over the past two years these forces have become even more powerful and are presently approaching a frantic level because of the impact of innovative and digital disruption. Significant change has already occurred. Examples of how these forces are impacting not just our industry but also our entire world seem to be everywhere.

At the present time, MLSListings is renewing our strategic intent-driven business plan. As part of the planning process we recently conducted a detailed industry briefing to assist our elected leadership to better appreciate and understand how technology is going to impact the real estate industry moving forward. We brought in a nationally- recognized expert in applied technologies who spent over 2½ hours discussing how connectivity, smart technology, drones, wearable technologies, virtual reality, holography, motion fusion, robots, and artificial intelligence will impact real estate in the near term future.

Even here in the United States, we not only recently watched the amazing suggested exploits of our own neighborhood businessmen and women through the movie The Big Short, but we are now watching real time with equal horror as our political system continues to descend to levels never before thought possible in a first world nation.

Only history will be able to document the true impact of these events. But certainly one thing is abundantly clear. One of the realities of the world we are currently living in is that every one of us must undertake the responsibility of gaining a personal, credible, and intellectually accountable understanding about what is happening in our world and what we should be doing about it.

This then takes us to the key subject of this discussion. I have just returned from an industry meeting comprised of some very bright executives who listened carefully to a number of presentations regarding a new industry program called the Upstream Project. When it was finished few had any cogent questions and even fewer were impressed by what they heard.

The Upstream Project promises to be one of the most far-reaching and impactful programs this industry has ever experienced. The Upstream project will absolutely and powerfully impact every individual in our industry. It will change how everyone in the industry does business, how everyone in the industry relates to everyone else and it will touch every transaction. Powerful forces and brilliant persons have envisioned this new approach and are designing, developing, and preparing to implement its every dictate … yet none can, will, or have described its true mission, impact, or consequence.

Every individual currently engaged in the real estate industry both across the country and in our region, including leaders, brokers, agents, mortgage and title personnel, and consumers will be affected. As a matter of personal responsibility each of us must undertake on our own to articulate and understand how the Upstream project will impact our professional lives.

I am not editorializing, passing judgment, or sounding an alarm. In the spirit of encouraging education, I am raising a wake up call. It is up to each of us to learn all we can about Upstream now so that we can prepare for the impact it could have on our futures. 

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