MoxiWorksNews June 11, 2020

I was wrong. Here’s what I’m doing about it.


A letter from MoxiWorks CEO, York Baur  |  June 11, 2020



In the wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, I’ve spent the last two weeks having a lot of meaningful, and, at times uncomfortable, conversations. I’ve spent the last two weeks listening and learning from our Black employees in ways that truly opened my eyes to everything I wasn’t paying attention to before.


I thought I wasn’t part of the problem. I thought I was educated. But the hard truth is I was and I’m not.


MoxiWorks has always had a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination, but only having a policy is not enough. As I learned the last two weeks, it’s not enough to not be racist, you must be actively anti-racist.


I was also reminded that the Civil Rights Act and I are the same age (56), and that the ACLU celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. That really put things into perspective: how could we have made so little progress in all this time?


As the leader of a company, it’s on me to hold us accountable for how we take these learnings and turn them into action. I believe that education and knowledge are an antidote to ignorance and discrimination, so the first step needs to be ongoing education. But education alone isn’t enough. We need to act. Act to make sure that education is a forever process. Act to right wrongs every time we see them, not just when it’s obvious or convenient. And act to make sure our business practices not only prevent discrimination, but actively encourage equality and diversity in all forms.


I also know that our reaction to the most recent examples of racial injustice can’t just be a one-time big bang for it to truly lead to systemic change. It has to be rolling thunder. We have to work together on this indefinitely to not only make continuous improvement, but to prevent the backsliding that’s caused my needing to write this 56 years after we agreed as a nation that this shouldn’t happen.


This is a time when business leaders need to take action more than ever. I believe that we influence what happens in the daily lives of our employees and communities more than any other institution. Therefore, it’s on us to continually foster diversity. In addition to being the right thing to do, it’s also the right business thing to do. And I’m not just talking about the obvious positive impact on customers. I’ve spent my entire career in tech, almost all of it in Seattle. As a result, I’ve witnessed countless times how diversity of race, gender, background, experience, knowledge, personality type and opinion lead to better decision-making internally.


I’ve always believed in the concept of thinking globally and acting locally. We must act to ensure that we truly make a change this time. What’s right for each individual and each company will vary immensely but doing nothing is almost always worse than doing something. Just start. Act.


So that’s what we’re doing. We’re starting our rolling thunder with a few key action items that we plan to continue growing in order to stand with our Black community and champion diversity proactively at MoxiWorks.



We are actively encouraging our employees to self-educate. We’re sending books, online content, and documentary suggestions out to the company. We’ve committed to having diversity experts address our company on an ongoing basis. And we’re providing forums for our Black and other minority employees to give first-hand accounts of their personal experience at MoxiWorks and beyond.



We are committed to a continuous discussion on diversity, racism and discrimination so we are creating space for them to happen. We started company-wide discussions last week and plan to formalize these so that they become a part of our company culture forever. We’re also looking at our recruiting practices and expanding them to source a more diverse pool of candidates, as well as making diversity as a desirable hiring criteria alongside the typical skill, attitude, and experience qualifiers.



We are using our MoxiFund charitable giving vehicle to make contributions to organizations that are working day in and day out to change the systemic racism in our country. We’ve given more than $100,000 to local charities since the inception of the MoxiFund, and will now begin using some of these contributions to combat racism and foster diversity in our communities beyond what we can do ourselves.


The Path Forward

As leaders, as companies, we must commit to not just acting in this moment but continuing to act. We are all in this together, but we must ensure our actions speak even louder than our words to truly make a real change. For me, that change will be part of how I leave the world a better place than how I found it.


I look forward to a future where diversity is a value and an asset. Not just a buzz word in corporate America and our daily lives.


Act. Self-educate. Look at this through a new lens. And listen – just listen – to the experiences of others.


Listening with respect,

York Baur, CEO

In The News August 1, 2018

“Trash-talking” and “distortion”: What a tech rival is saying about Compass

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE  CEO of MoxiWorks claims his competitor has overstated its market share, agent retention rate.

In The News July 31, 2018

MoxiWorks CEO Calls Out Compass for ‘Trash-Talking’ Real Estate Industry

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE  RISMedia has obtained the following open letter from MoxiWorks CEO York Baur to Compass, a technology-centric real estate company based in Manhattan.

MoxiWorks July 30, 2018

An Open Letter to Compass From a CEO

Dear Compass,

I have to call you out on your boastful approach to an industry that we all know and love. While we agree that there’s a great opportunity to employ technology in ways to make both the consumer and agent experience better, we don’t think you need to resort to the trash-talking and grandstanding that we’ve heard from you – you’re better than that, and frankly we don’t want you to tarnish an industry that has funded the creation of the very technologies you now claim credit for.

You claim to have started the tech talk in real estate. In your recent LinkedIn post titled Before Compass, Technology Was Barely Mentioned in Real Estate you said: “As it relates to technology, Compass truly revolutionized an industry that had become complacent and had fallen behind terribly.” In just a few words, you risk losing your credibility. The first wave of brokerage tech took place in the 1990’s. For instance, Windermere Real Estate, just one example of many, launched in 1995, creating the first known brokerage website, and added a complete suite of agent tools by 2000.

Since then, Windermere, Long & Foster and Howard Hanna have funded MoxiWorks, whose platform and tools now help make 60 brokerages and 110,000 agents better at what they do. Other obvious examples of innovative technology use in real estate include Zillow (founded in 2006), Redfin (2004), and the long list of startups that have been hard at work for decades, funded by hundreds of millions in capital that was invested prior to your founding.

And stated by your head of product Eytan Seidman in his recent Built In Chicago interview, Compass claims to be “the first and only company to bring engineers together with agents under one roof.” Yet Windermere, Long & Foster, Howard Hanna and countless other leading brokerages have had software engineers and agents working side-by-side in their brokerages to evolve real estate technology since the mid-1990s, developing the technologies, data exchange mechanisms, and standards you now rely on.

You claim to create all your own technology. And speaking of untruths, your CEO Robert Reffkin has publicly stated, “We build everything in house, and all the tools and support is in house.” But anyone can look at the websites you run and see that they’re licensed from MoPro, that you’ve licensed MailChimp as your email marketing tool, and that you licensed Honey for your internal social network. These are all fine choices, but you don’t “build everything in house,” so why the distortion?

Your CEO Robert Reffkin recently claimed in a live interview on CNBC that Compass “just launched Seattle five weeks ago and we already have 5% market share.” We took it upon ourselves to do a deep dive into the data – the Moxi Cloud Open Platform now contains the data for 90% of the home sale footprint of the United States, so like everyone out there with access to MLS data, we can calculate your actual market share in any of your markets. For example, that data shows that for the Seattle metro area, the best you could claim is 0.7% of transactions where Compass was either the listing or selling agent. That’s a far cry from the 5% you claimed. Your CEO Reffkin also said Compass “is the only company empowering agents.” That’s not credible, so why say it other than to antagonize the industry you’re clearly a part of, and in business with on the other side of many of your transactions?

You say that your goal is to “improve the lives of agents. You pay six figure signing bonuses “to less than 10% of your agents” and claim 98% retention, yet notable agents flee to their former brokerage as soon as the contract is up. We did a deep dive into that data too. For agents that joined Compass any time after January 1, 2016 and have left Compass since, the average tenure was only 245 days.

Bottom line. The tech stack you tout is something every other brokerage can quite literally replicate on the open market – many already have. Compass may not be a brokerage that is great at building technology (that has yet to be seen), but you are a brokerage that is great at integrating the technology you buy, and you happen to build some of your own tools too. That sounds like Windermere, Long & Foster and others before they recognized that choosing the best mix of tools from the vendors that use the $1B of capital invested annually into real estate technology was a better strategy.

Side note to all the brokerages out there: You are investing in tech. Keep your independence. If you haven’t already, choose a platform, whether that’s from MoxiWorks or from any one of our worthy competitors and mix the unique set of agent tools that match your brokerage value proposition and business style. That’s all that Compass has done, only their platform isn’t open, which means they don’t have the flexibility you’ll have.

Compass’ strength of integration is one MoxiWorks has already built and established – nothing new here. The Moxi Cloud has been available to our customers for exactly this purpose for three years and has over 40 partner companies whose products work with it, sharing and contributing to the broker and agent data in the platform for the benefit of all. And we’re not the only ones – many of our competitors have similar abilities, and brokerages are mixing their unique blend of technology to support their value propositions just like you are.

We set out to better the industry, not terrify it or antagonize it. Consider this open letter an invitation. Consider it an opportunity for you to set the record straight.


York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks

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