It was around mid-September when I saw the first Spring demo on a tablet. I stood there in our back room holding an iPad searching for listings on a beautiful UI. I knew we were on to something. I couldn’t stop smiling as I held the next chapter in the story of Solid Earth in my hands. The mobility thing is certainly exciting, but that’s not what was making me so happy. Our development team – with a few tweaks – had successfully morphed from LIST-IT guys/girls into Spring guys/girls. It will be difficult for me to explain exactly how big that is, but I’ll try. Imagine you’re a manager walking into a Goodyear tire plant and announcing that from now on they’ll be making skateboards. Blank stares? Running for the exits? Self-immolation? Yes, yes and yes. Innovation, a term we’ve been throwing around happens only when you, your group and then your organization take that plunge. Once everyone accepts that this is serious and it means a major shift in outlook for everyone in the building, the work begins.
That work started about 8 months ago when we hired a CTO, switched to Agile Development and released an internal white paper on Spring. Then we told our clients. “Hey, we’re shifting our focus and here’s how and why”. Their reaction was understandably somewhat dubious. Who could blame them. But, they’ve been understanding and very patient – mostly. So, we’ve lost a few employees and gained a few, but our core group remains and I’m proud to say that while we’ve just completed the “end of the beginning” of the Spring development process, that process is underway and by all appearances sailing along beautifully.
Which brings me to NAR and what happend on the show floor this past weekend.
Keep in mind our booth is RIGHT up front. As soon as you walk in the main door of the show, you hit our gray carpet. As those doors opened on Friday night for the grand opening, I was a little edgy to say the least. As we saw client and industry friends, the anxiety turned to a sort of relief. All the things we felt like were gambles turned out to be right on target. Mobility is clearly going to win in this industry and sooner than we might expect. A consumer-agent portal is another innovation that appears to be gaining steam (thanks Bob Hale), the mantra of “giving the broker similar weapons as Zillow and Trulia” is a very popular sentiment these days and getting down to “what MLS really is” is something we’re all very excited about.
Demos of Spring went very well. No negative responses unless you consider saying “not yet” to someone really wanting it now a negative. The Solid Earth team really performed and I want to thank them very publicly here. We have plenty of work to do, but the path is a little clearer and we’ve passed a major first obstacle.
Here’s Greg Robertson’s interview with me from the show floor.