by G. Sax, Head of Communications, 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. The series aims to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.
This week’s interview is with Wesley Wiggins, Senior Director, MLS & Industry Development at Zillow Group. We talked about safety, wearing hats and cleanliness…sort of. Enjoy this brief journey through Wes’s job history!
Q1: When I look in the mirror, I see you, which would be a creepy thing to say if that wasn’t just a metaphor for how those of us who work in the real estate industry have a tendency to wear many different hats at different organizations throughout our careers.
What have been some important shaping factors for you as you have passed through MLS roles in Tucson, Arizona; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Jupiter, Florida; on into your role at Zillow?
Wes: The main thing is getting a good understanding of what brokers and agents as a whole need by listening to them. This is especially true in MLS and association roles.
Your job in those roles is to serve that audience, and it can be really easy to just decide what they need when people don’t come out and tell you. But you really have to ask them. Don’t assume.
I talk mostly to MLSs today, but there is spillover into the brokers and agents that serve in leadership roles at those MLSs. This slightly different perspective has been great, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Being an MLS and association executive gave me a profound respect for the people at the root of all that we do in real estate technology and in organized real estate.
Q2: Speaking of different hats, you are listed as the VP of Real Safe Agent. Can you explain a little bit about what Real Safe Agent is and what you think of the efforts of NAR and RESO to bring safety fields into the Data Dictionary?
Wes: Real Safe Agent is a good product. The best products and services are solving a problem. REALTOR® safety has been a real problem over the last 10 to 15 years, and that product helps agents establish a safety network via an app to thwart crime.
Having those fields in the MLS is just another step toward safety and security, and I commend the effort.
We have been trying to bring a message of safety to the masses for many years with NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Week, but that’s kind of surface level.
When I was in Jupiter, Florida, I brought a guy in to teach safety, including karate moves. It was always a full class. If we make the right tools available, people will take advantage.
Q3: I want to go way back into your personal record to when you were the Manufacturing Supervisor / Cleanroom Manager at Texas Instruments.
Fifteen years at TI is nothing to shake a stick at. What drove that longevity and what did you take from that job that has served you well in what is now 20+ years in real estate?
Wes: What kept me in that job was the challenge of it. Semiconductor technology, like real estate tech, is always changing. We always wanted to come up with a better, faster chip and beat our competitors. It was a lot of pressure, but it was the good kind of pressure.
I became more of a coach than a manager. That work involved identifying a goal, putting the key players in place and then getting feedback from the players as to how they were performing and what they needed from me and the company.
There is a certain precision to that job and even the job I have today. It’s not like baking a cake. You can’t just measure out the sugar and flour and other ingredients and be done with it – no offense to the many creative bakers out there.
What I mean is that there are steps in measured increments beyond the main ingredients that you have to take in order to be successful. I am especially drawn to that kind of work.