Nic will speak at Hacker Connect during the session, “New ways of using APIs and alternatives such as GraphQL,” on Monday, January 22, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
We’re really excited to have you joining us as a speaker for Inman Connect New York, but tell us a little more about yourself. How did you arrive in your current role?
I’m a husband and father who has a passion for basketball and cooking, and I’ve spent a number of years in the tech industry working for startups and large corporations.
I’ve been a member of the RealScout team the last few years. Dealing with so many different multiple listing services (MLSs) and data sources, we had a real need to have a structured and consistent application programming interface (API) for our internal usage and integrating partners.
GraphQL was fairly new at that time, but sounded like it solved a lot of our pain points. A little over a year ago, I ended up proposing and implementing a proof of concept implementation, which was well received. That naturally moved me into a new role leading our API and integrations team, growing our schema and eventually releasing one of the first public GraphQL API’s.
Tell us a little more about your session, what kinds of things will you be talking about in January?
I have a decent amount of experience with API’s in general, particularly GraphQL since I lead the effort in designing and implementing our GraphQL server.
The requirement for integrations and seamless communication between services is not going away, and any step that gets us closer is a win in the industry.
I hope to shed some light and start the conversation by communicating the advantages of running a GraphQL server and what problems it can help solve.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend most of my day coding and managing our API and integrations team. Our API layer powers our web application, our brokerage and agent public APIs and several integrations, including Zapier.
Almost every customer of ours wants some sort of integration to augment their workflow and increase productivity.
What do you think the biggest challenges facing the real estate industry are at the moment?
I’ll preface my answer by saying I am very biased towards the technology side. I believe the two biggest challenges facing the industry are:
1) The slow pace of data normalization and the lack of seamless integrations between services. There are countless specialized services out there, and new ones popping up every week. Most are pretty good at what they do, but not one of them really integrates well with another.
2) Upgrading old tech to utilize some of the new architectures that big name companies have been using for years. At RealScout, we focus many resources on the freshness of our data. It’s no trivial endeavor to be up-to-date with hundreds of data sources, each with their own quirks, data access flows and data shape.
Data consistency and deliverability with resiliency are solved problems in many industries. I’m looking forward to the day when the real estate industry iterates on data access and introspection.
2018’s shaping up to be a really exciting year, and as we look ahead, what are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?
In 2018, my goal is to spearhead significant strides towards improving the data exchange and integrations between services. My roadmap for the next 12 months includes improvements in our API and improvements in our search capabilities.
One specific area I’d like to prioritize is implementing GraphQL subscriptions. These are like traditional web hooks, and they enable us to publish data to consumers instead of them asking for the data on a particular interval.
We have some other exciting new features on our roadmap that our clients and future clients will be excited to see!