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RISMEDIA, June 17, 2010—When do we start? Some MLSs already have begun, so the answer is yesterday. The successful creation of MLS 5.0 will require vision, leadership, and courage. The technology is not the challenge—people, organizations, their habits and models of the world are the challenge. The words of Peter Ducker, father of modern management, have never been more applicable: “Every organization has to be ready to abandon everything it does, to reinvent itself.”

There will be controversy and debate between knowledgeable and well-intentioned people. Association and MLS leaders, staff and volunteers, brokers and agents must collaborate to create the MLS of the future; otherwise, their MLS of the present will become a relic of a bygone era.

Our industry is going through nothing less than a paradigm shift driven by technology and generational forces. As stated by Joel Barker, author of Future Edge, “When a paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero.” MLSs and Associations, large and small, rich and poor, must assist brokers in creating compelling arguments for membership and compelling arguments for consumers to use the services of real estate professionals.

MLS and the industry today can become the creators of the future instead of the victims of circumstance. Creating a future by design instead of a future by default requires the ability to deal with massive and increasing amounts of information in a rapidly-changing and participatory environment.

The answer is not just an MLS, but the MLS of the future, MLS 5.0, which incorporates the consumer, and makes the REALTOR® a participant in the conversation, not just a cog in the transaction.

What is the Alternative?
The list of alternatives is already growing: Craigslist, Google and others, some not yet created, all in the spirit and built with the concepts, philosophies and building blocks of Web 2.0 and putting property information in context for the consumer. For real estate professionals, now is the time to create your compelling argument for what you do and what you charge. The same holds true for MLS.

Tell us what you think or request the full article series to date. E-mail thefutureofmls@point2.com.

Saul Klein is CEO of Point2 Technologies Inc., author of MLS 5.0 – The MLS of the Future Whitepaper, a licensed real estate broker in California for the past 32 years and former president of the San Diego Association of REALTORS®. Klein is also creator of NAR’s ePRO Technology Certification Program and NAR’s Web 2.0 & Social Media Course.

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