by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO
Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.
This week’s interview is with Greg Manship, SVP of MLS and Data Integrations at BeachesMLS (Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie REALTORS®). We discussed career pinball, running an MLS during a period of growth and the power of being stubborn. Enjoy!
Q1: You went from 20 years of MLS management positions, including as the CEO of the Intermountain MLS in Boise, Idaho, to a more vendor-driven role and then back to MLS at BeachesMLS. How has this journey shaped you as an MLS leader today?
Greg: It’s given me an overall perspective of our industry from both sides. I have been able to witness how the industry itself has evolved, along with the technology that serves it. It’s great to know that my time in these positions, along with serving in volunteer leadership, has helped shape what we have today.
Looking at software the way I did from the vendor side and now bringing that back to what I do and know at the MLS today has been invaluable in helping me with vendor relationships, new product assessment, history – bringing all of that vendor know-how back to the MLS.
That carried knowledge has helped me understand how sprints work, how product cycles operate, key things you want to look for in technology, key people you want to talk to and processes of how you want software to change for your MLS. I believe I’ve acquired a lot more patience and understanding as a result.
It has also brought me more wisdom with my relationships and taught me to work better with our partners to get things changed.
Q2: You worked in Boise, Idaho, presumably, at a time of extreme growth in one of the hottest markets in the U.S. What was that experience like? Was it business as usual or was it a mile a minute and lots of overtime as you adjusted to a new normal?
Greg: It was never business as usual. I was always looking at more efficient ways of running the business, providing new technology for our members, keeping the data clean and capturing a bigger piece of our market.
We also wanted to find ways to get as much data as we could into our MLS system.
Boise had a lot of new construction, and we tried to accommodate this inventory with modified fields and rules that would make it easier for these listings to be entered into our system.
We also figured out Coming Soon before Clear Cooperation came into existence and modified our system to handle those types of properties.
As Intermountain MLS continued to grow in membership size and listings, we continually had to make adjustments in our databases and rules for our members. We were also nimble and were able to adapt and make these changes with our leadership rather quickly.
As you know, we’re the only database in the real estate industry that has business rules that are enforced, such as price changes and the timely removal of listings. So when the market gets a little wild, there are a lot more issues around that data.
At Intermountain MLS, we prioritized making sure our data was clean with compliance software and enforcement of our rules. However, we prefaced education of our rules first and required our members to do a rules refresh every couple of years.
Then there’s the market for the data itself. As we grew in Boise, and as tech progressed, we received a lot more requests for the data, and that continues today.
Third-party industries were finding out that ground zero for clean real estate data is the MLS. At the same time, we were becoming a lot more transparent with industry data, which to this day has attracted more investment in real estate and startups.
Many companies were also starting to learn that their products were better served at the MLS level where they can create models around a lot more people. If you pursue the MLS with your product, it’s a lot easier than going to brokerages or agents individually.
Years ago, you never even saw a startup environment around MLS data as you do today. People were waking up to it, which increased the complexity of data management. We began to experience a lot of that in Boise as the market got hot.
Q3: Is your longevity in the industry a result of perseverance and grit or just plain stubbornness?
Greg: If I didn’t enjoy this industry, I wouldn’t have stayed in it so long.
I love the MLS, and I’m here because I want to see it last. I want to see our model last. I want to see it improve in places that need improvement.
So, yes, it’s a result of perseverance, but I am also stubborn. I want things to work.
At BeachesMLS, I love our relationships with the vendors, but I also want common sense to prevail with our technology.
When something goes wrong, it makes the MLS and vendor partners look bad. And I want our partners to reflect well with our members.