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‘Lion’ fear was overblown, says Bill Chee

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Bill Chee, who delivered the famous "Lions Over the Hill" speech in 1993 as president of the National Association of Realtors, said Thursday that hindsight now makes it clear that some past fear about new entrants in the industry was "unwarranted." After clips from his oft-quoted speech aired for attendees on large projector screens at the Real Estate Connect conference, Chee said that some of the fear in the early 1990s was directed at the industry's own multiple listing services, as well as Microsoft Corp.'s efforts in real estate and the possible diversification plans of the regional "Baby Bell" communications companies. "I was afraid of the MLSs themselves. There were too many MLSs," Chee said. "We had so many MLSs that they couldn't innovate on their own, and I thought that was a problem." He added, "Microsoft -- they had just killed off half of the travel agents with Expedia" and the company w...