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Darren Bailey: ‘Tech needs to catch up quickly to provide brokers and agents the modern experience they deserve’

By January 29, 2015 One Comment

Director of application management services at Metropolitan Regional Information Services Inc., a multiple listing service supporting 40,000 real estate pros in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Time at MRIS: Two years

What he does: I am responsible for leading a team of architects, developers, support engineers and data and business analysts at MRIS.

Age: 41

Degree: MBA from Tiffin University

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Social media: LinkedIn

I first became interested in real estate and the housing market while taking a quantitative analytics class at Mount Union College. While completing research for an undergrad project exploring the economic impacts of the U.S. economy, I learned that housing was a primary driver of the economy. This project was my first introduction to statistical analysis and the importance of the housing market. After that class, I was able to distill most challenges down to a game of numbers.

Fast forward to today and I have over 18 years of experience developing, building and leading software development teams. Currently, I’m the director of application management services at MRIS. I oversee the software development and application life cycle, and lead teams responsible for enterprise architecture, development, support, and process and data analysis.

Within the past 24 months, the industry has focused on determining how we can leverage massive amounts of data. Continued advances in technology allow us to decipher agent and consumer information to build out new, innovative tools tailored to meet the needs of brokers and agents. A driving factor in my work is building these solutions to help our customers do their own jobs in a more efficient manner.

One business challenge facing brokers and agents is that they’re frequently out of the office at showings, so we are looking to create native iOS and Android apps that help them do their job more efficiently without sitting down at a desktop computer. The technology challenge with these initiatives is actually a design problem; smaller devices offer less usability, and building apps for them with full functionality can be more difficult.

Prior to joining MRIS, I was a co-founder and head of technology at a startup focused on delivering subscription-based business intelligence and analytical solutions. Prior to that, I was the director of advertising technology for the “Washington Post,” where I was responsible for ecommerce, the firm’s customer relationship management platform, and other business back-office technology and systems. I began my career with Presteligence, a software development firm for the media and publishing industry.

Darren Bailey, Workspace

Bailey’s workspace.

Favorite Twitter account.


Favorite food?

Texas barbecue.

Favorite book?

The Goal” by Eli Goldratt.

Favorite city?

This is a toss-up between Austin, Texas, and San Francisco.

Favorite band or singer?

Lately, I’ve been listening to Coldplay, Billy Joel and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

What do you hate about technology?

I don’t hate technology, but I dislike the strong dependence many people have on it. It seems commonplace for so many people to always be heads-down looking at, or typing away on, their phone. I understand the need to get work accomplished, but emails and texts just can’t replace personal interaction. The dependence on social technology diminishes the value of personal interaction so I think it is important for people to take time away from technology to help curb our “always on” mentality.

What is one thing you would like to fix about the real estate industry?

The industry itself tends to be behind on new technologies, but the benefit is that we’re able to watch technology mature and choose proven platforms and architectures for our solutions, mitigating risk of poor adoption and technology obsolescence.

Do you think technology can change the industry?

I believe technology is already changing the industry. When looking back and comparing generally available technology from five to 10 years ago to today, there has been a revolution. Ten years ago the iPhone didn’t exist, then came GPS-enabled smartphones and location-aware applications. Now we are seeing wearables, beacons, sensors and the like.  The “Internet of Things” is here and will continue to influence the tools and functionality required for all parties in real estate — brokers, agents and consumers.

In or out of real estate, is there one problem, large or small, that you would like to solve?

One of the biggest technology challenges facing the industry today is the lack of universal application programming interface (API) access across the real estate ecosystem. The first APIs were released by tech firms in 2000 as a standard way for third-party developers to integrate with their platforms. While some real estate technology providers including MRIS were early adopters of API development, the industry overall is just now catching up.

Why is this important? Modern applications today have a seamless and well-integrated (including third-party data and systems) user experience. Without an API-first approach, this type of application architecture and design is difficult to achieve while considering minimum viable product and speed to market.

Today, many technology providers are connected via the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) interface to develop desktop applications and mobile apps. If an API was used for on-demand access, there would not be as much unnecessary back-end development and ongoing data refreshes.

As technology providers, we continue to face rapid advances and frequent disruption in our field. With the advent of the Internet of Things, individuals are now expecting their enterprise applications to look, work and act like their personal-use applications (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). As an industry, we need to catch up very quickly in order to provide brokers and agents the modern experience they deserve across every device.

What motivates you?

Family, helping and watching others succeed.

Would you like to participate in our real estate hackers profile series? Email

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