On July 29, I left the employ of Zillow. As I told Paul Hagey at Inman News, the task of soliciting direct data feeds from MLSs turned out to be more daunting than either I or Zillow had expected. While I had detected some significant movement in the industry as a whole, particularly a lessening in the stridency of the complaints I heard when I first joined Zillow in early 2012, I could point to no compelling value proposition that the MLSs wanted, and that Zillow was willing to offer in exchange, that would lead me to believe the results would change in the near future. We both recognized that reality, frustrating as it might be, and decided it was time for me to move on.
In the two weeks since, I have fielded no end of questions about where I want to go next. My phone has rung with callers looking for advice on new ventures they are starting up, or have already begun. Believe it or not, many of them start with questions about how to get data out of the MLSs, or what they can do with that data once they have it. It seems I’m not the only one frustrated with the state of data licensing in this industry. The confusion is rampant.
So what does an out of work former MLS CEO and former Zillow VP with nearly 25 years of industry experience to reflect on and draw from? Why, he starts a blog and a consulting service, of course! It gives me a platform from which to comment on happenings in our business, and to offer opinions that I might not have been able to offer previously for fear they would be attributed to the company for which I worked rather than recognized as strictly personal observations.
Please don’t expect any acerbic retribution on my part against any of my former employers. That’s not my style. And besides, even though I don’t work there any longer, I have the utmost respect for Spencer Rascoff and the team he has assembled at Zillow. One had only to watch the interview with President Obama earlier this week to see the culmination of weeks, months of hard work by an entire team of public relations and marketing professionals to have a feeling of utter awe for that achievement and for the company. As Greg Robertson put it, “Well played, sir. Well played.”
So where do I go from here? Frankly, the paths are many but the choices few. I am looking for the next calling, but have no preconceived notions about what that might be. The most interesting career changes I’ve made have almost always been unexpected, spontaneous, and surprising. Some of them worked. Some did not. But the roads taken have always been interesting. I’m looking forward to what’s around the next bend and to sharing my adventure with you.
For this post:
Cause: Unexpected unemployment
Effect: Unassisted outplacement