Technology

Matt Cohen: ‘I’m best known for helping the industry improve information security practices’

Clareity Consulting's CTO talks motivation, security and more

Matt Cohen is the chief technology officer at Clareity Consulting.

Time at Clareity Consulting: 18 years.

Describe what you do in one sentence: I provide management and information technology consulting for the real estate industry.

Age: 43

Degree: B.A. in music, Carleton College.

Location: Minneapolis.

Social media: LinkedIn and Twitter.

I help push the real estate industry into the future.

I’m really motivated in what I do because housing is such an important part of our lives and such an important part of our economy. But there’s a lot of chaos and change that needs to be managed so everything goes smoothly for both professionals and consumers. There’s so much opportunity to improve how service is provided to consumers, and to make things easier for the professionals at the same time.

In my consulting, I do a lot of work with Realtor associations, multiple listing services, brokers and franchisors — helping them with their technology selections and with the policies surrounding technology. I do a lot of public speaking, helping my clients understand the issues of the day and having rigorous discussions.

I also help lots of software vendors in real estate figure out the best ways to innovate to meet the future needs of the industry. My company helps take companies from conception all the way through merger, partnership or acquisition and everything in between.

I especially love to focus on “product management.” My ideas are built into all sorts of real estate products and services, though I always stay in the background relative to my clients.

I also do a lot of strategic planning facilitation. But what I’m known for best for is my role in helping the industry improve its information security practices. I’m a bit like the Harvey Keitel character from “Pulp Fiction,” Mr. Wolfe, but I’d much rather be called on proactively rather than to help clean up after things have gone wrong. I’ve been doing what I’m doing for almost 20 years — I can’t wait to see what the next 20 bring!

workspace

My workspace is really wherever I am, and I travel a lot. A taxi, an airport, a hotel, a client site, a meeting room, or stage at a convention – those are my real workspaces. Above is just one of the spots where I work at home.

Favorite Twitter account?

@securelist

Favorite food?

A great deli sandwich — corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, etc.

Favorite book?

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Favorite city?

New York City.

Favorite band?

The Pixies.

What do you hate about technology?

That it decreases the amount of deeper real social interactions.

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

I’d love it to more collaboratively focus on its future and spend less time cycling on disruptive “threats.”

Do you think technology can change the industry?

Technology can create new possibilities for change, but it’s people that do the changing and people that are hardest to change.

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

World peace is too big for me to solve, but sure, I’d like to!

What motivates you?

Agape.

Would you like to participate in Inman’s real estate hacker profile series? Email contributors@inman.com.