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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, we conversed with the Hair Extraordinaire and all-around nice guy, Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS, the creators of Flexmls, and a long-time RESO Board of Directors member. We talked about APIs, the Universal Property Identifier (UPI) and Fargo, North Dakota. Enjoy!

Q1: You were one of the first well-known real estate organizations to talk about APIs when you launched the Spark API at FBS. What clued you into that way of thinking about data transport for real estate so early, and where do you think the industry is today with API adoption?

Michael: The answer is simple for me: Mobile. The iPhone was coming around in 2008. Mobile and IDX-supporting tools like WordPress plug-ins and the RESTful APIs that developers were using were quite the norm outside of real estate, and Twitter and Facebook were taking the online world by storm.

As far as I know, we were the first in the industry that began using a RESTful API approach. The industry was talking about moving past RETS to something more broadly, and we wanted to be ahead of the curve.

It’s sort of like today in that you need an implementation before you can have a ratified standard. We wanted to show that an API could provide a variety of services in real time and that it was easy to use.

That actually came about in a gap of time when I wasn’t on the RESO board. We wanted to do it as a standard to spur the industry.

When we came out with Spark, we soon had two endpoints: RESO and us at FBS. We continue to use traditional RESTful practices.

Q2: In a recent Universal Property Identifier (UPI) Workgroup meeting, you publicly threw your support behind implementing the UPI at FBS. What will that actually entail, and how much time and effort do you predict it will take? 

Michael: We’ve been talking with Mark Bessett and Matt Casey, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the UPI Workgroup, to see if FBS can help move the UPI Registry concept forward, which seems to be the next major step for the group. Mark is working on those next steps now, and we look forward to working with him and Matt. We also are working on using the UPI for Flexmls, and that work would be aided by the registry, so we’re hoping that moves forward. 

Q3: FBS is based in beautiful Fargo, North Dakota. What is the greatest misperception there is about Fargo?

Michael: That everybody talks like Marge Gunderson from the movie Fargo.

Funny story… When the Coen Brothers and their crew came to Fargo to film that wintry opening scene, there was no snow, so they filmed it in Grand Forks. That’s what the movie should be called.

Some people do talk like Marge, but the ones who do vehemently deny it the most.