Future of MLS Technology: Open Source Software

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a presentation at the Clareity MLS Executives Workshop in Scottsdale, AZ. It was on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, as I actually wrote a whole business plan way back in the day on introducing Open Source software to the MLS industry. I abandoned that plan when I realized that I’m not a coder, not a programmer, not a hacker, and finding a CTO who is all three is/was near impossible.

But perceptive longtime readers might notice that many of my writings and suggestions on the MLS over the years has always had a bit of that “open source” mindset to it. For example, my posts on Project Trim Tab and the Modular MLS concept have always had a bit of that “build on an open platform” slant to them.

I have long since accepted my limitations; I’m a lawyer by education, marketer and product development guy by experience, and a strategy consultant and writer by trade. I’m not a technologist, not a coder, not an engineer. But I wanted to give that presentation to the MLS Executives Workshop because I felt that most of the audience was also not technology experts, coders, or engineers. If I could translate some of the concepts from the world of technology to myself, then perhaps I could translate it and explain them to a business audience.

Hence, this presentation.

Now, I often give the same or roughly the same presentation over and over again. That works great in real estate where the topics and issues are often evergreen. This one, on the other hand, likely won’t be given again given how specific and specialized its recommendations are. (Of course, that could change, but if so, I can adapt it for the unique audience.) I still wanted the idea out there, though, especially because this one is all about giving away ideas, not having plans, and leveraging the power of community.

So, in the open source spirit of sharing ideas, letting other people take charge, and being willing to help if I can but not willing to try and make something out of this, I recorded a video of myself “presenting” this presentation in Keynote. I’ve uploaded it to YouTube to share with all of you, and would like to present it to you now.

Thanks for watching, and here’s to hoping that you are inspired to act! Especially if you are one of the code poets of our industry.

I am giving it away, giving it away, giving it away. I’m happy to help if I can, but the future of the MLS technology is properly in the hands of the people who do real technology.


PS: You know the music to this could only be this one, right?

PPS: I’ve had some people ask for the slide deck. Consider these slides open source, which means that you can use them for your own presentations, but if you improve the slides, please share them with everyone else (including me). 🙂 You should be able to get to a Keynote and a PowerPoint version on Google Drive.

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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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4 thoughts on “Future of MLS Technology: Open Source Software”

  1. DiscoverMLS floated some ideas in this direction about 6-7 years ago. While they weren’t yet proposing a full open-source license, they offered a community version at no cost with a possibility (at least I thought there was a possibility) of going open source.

    I’m sure the DiscoverMLS founders will correct me here but had the community version received more traction, (having come to real estate from the world of Linux/Red Hat) I would have been urging them to go open source.

    The opportunity is there and your presentation sums it up very well. Every Linux needs a Linus so it will be interesting to see who takes you up on this challenge.

    • The difference is the market size of MLS is extremely limited. 600-700 ish and shrinking, right? Perhaps the goal is bringing MLS’ to other countries?

      I think the only way to pull this off is one of the big MLS vendors open sourcing their existing backend. I don’t see any other way to get traction. What MLS is going to try an unproven/untested open source platform with no support and subject all their members to that (potential) mess?

  2. You are a great presenter and your open source preso was one of your best! You helped clarify many open source questions for me. It was poetically followed by Alex’ Upstream wrap up, which was/is ironically more a closed source intitiative!

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