Crossroads: Bigger Needle, or Just Burn the Haystack

April 2, 2019 – In launching Vendor Surf, we could have simply made the needle much larger and easier to find, but we thought it best to just burn the whole damn haystack down and remove all struggle!  You no longer need to spend days or weeks conducting due diligence in search of viable vendor partners.  You now just need minutes, literally.

When I ran Global Vendor Management at the 4th largest mortgage lender, a 'needle in a haystack' was what it felt like when some executive would call and say, "Roller, I need a new vendor in 15-days when we will drop 40,000 mail pieces."  Of course, my reply was always, Bigger or Burn"What the Hell (WTH), do you think I am Houdini?" (Well, maybe just a silent thought coursing thru my brain anyway, as I did need a paycheck.).  There were not any good options to efficiently know what vendors existed, or whether or not they could meet my unique sourcing needs.  I hit a few directories, but mostly started calling industry friends to see if any had used a similar kind of vendor and whether or not they were worth considering.  It was the fastest way. 

The point being, business moves much faster than reality and reasonableness want to allow.

We are constantly thrown these impossible tasks.  This is almost always the case for those of you sourcing vendors.  And, there is just way too much at stake to shortcut the process.  Choosing poorly has devastating consequences.  We recognized the industry needed sourcing tools that actually matched the level of effort and criticality in vendor sourcing.  Phoning a friend just didn't cut it.

In building Vendor Surf, the first and original vendor search engine for mortgage and credit union ecosystems, we specifically set out to help solve those 'WTH moments' by making the vendor due diligence process SIMPLE and with IMMEDIATE results.  Proudly, you will find nothing else out there like our search engine.

For six years our 3W Partners business had continually served the industry as a human '' resource, always helping make vendor introductions to financial institutions in need of a product, service or technology.  Then one day in late December 2016, during a strategy session at the local brew pub (yep, self-employment suits me fine), Craig and I noticed how almost every single TV commercial was for a search engine... the 'matchmaking concept' we had just spent an hour discussing, and how to blow it up much bigger.  The seed was planted.

We instantly went into research, functional spec and design mode, and by May 2017 we had chosen a developer.  Just under one year from initial thought and concept, we launched Vendor Surf in December 2017.  Everything from then on has been a dream and a blur.  We suspected we were onto something big, but the industry response continues to inspire us beyond expectations. (Thank you, we are very grateful)

Difference: Directory vs. Search Engine

Directories have long-existed, but search engines are new to our domain.  We are sometimes asked the difference between the two.  They are polar extremes.

DIRECTORY – Here's the deal.  There are some great entities out there with directories, buyers guides and black books, but, the truth is... they are archaic, inefficient and time-consuming.  A place to .START  your research, with a huge time commitment required to comb thru each company's website to mine the little nuggets.

SEARCH ENGINE – A place to .COMPLETE  your research, with immediate on-screen results... throttled only by how fast you choose the specific filters that suit your sourcing needs. Identifying exactly who meets your needs.

Consider how long it would take you to identify prospective vendor partners with just these four procurement needs, using ANYTHING other than a search engine: 

  • Title Vendor for FL, GA  & MS
  • Residential & Commercial
  • eSign & eClose
  • SOC 2 Type II

Instant results on Vendor Surf.

I don't want to go back and reflect on my days relying upon directories or generic Google searches.  Painful memories.

Key Features: Vendor Surf

  • 83 vendor categories spanning the entire mortgage life-cycle
  • Over 3,000 unique and category-specific search filters
  • Instantly and efficiently matches buyers to vendors based upon search criteria
  • Manage multiple brands, affiliates and/or stand-alone products from ONE account, at ONE reasonable price
  • Free to search 24x7x365
  • The industry's most robust and complete online calendars of events, conferences, webinars and training opportunities. (We post yours for free)

If It's Happening in Mortgage, You Will Find It on Vendor Surf


Thanks for reading.

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