Technology

Kevin Hincker: ‘The industry is currently dependent on a single technology — one invented 2,000 years ago’

A chief technology officer talks blank slates and the joy of reimagining processes

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Chief technology officer and co-founder, NuOffer.

Time at NuOffer: Two years

Describe what you do in one sentence: I oversee the development team and create new features.

Age: 51

Location: Los Angeles

Social media: LinkedIn 

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Kevin Hincker's workspace.

Kevin Hincker’s workspace.

What do you do?

I draw on whiteboards and go to meetings :). I write code, when I need to, and I oversee the code written by the development team. I spend much of my time currently speccing new products and upgrades to existing products to keep the pipeline on track for the coming year.

How’d you end up in real estate tech?

Imraan, my co-founder, was walking his dog. He is a real estate agent, so he started conversations with everyone he met, and I was one of those people. At the time I knew little about real estate technology, but I had just purchased a house and was feeling frustrated with the process.

What aspects of real estate are you trying to make better? Please be specific.

If we can eliminate the paperwork from the process of offering on and purchasing real estate, we will save untold thousands of hours of effort and frustration by all parties involved in that transaction; buyers, sellers, agents and vendors.

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

I love reimagining processes. I love creating and using tools. I love working with a team of amazingly talented people as we attempt to reshape outdated technologies and change habits thousands of years in the making. I love making people’s lives easier, simpler and more efficient.

What products have you had a part in developing in the past? Describe the product — the idea and the execution.

I create “soft” ware — that is, products that are not physical, not “hard” ware. This category of products is very wide and includes computer programs, books, movies and plays, and music. I have taken great satisfaction in my life producing work all across the “soft” spectrum.

What are you working on right now? What are the challenges?

Currently, we are completing a platform-agnostic back end to manage real estate documents so that from a single code base, we can update and add to our library of offer and transaction documentation for Android, iOS, and Mac and Windows browsers. It is an ambitious undertaking almost a year in the works, but now that it is complete, it allows us to be tremendously responsive and to scale at dramatic speeds with a very small team.

Favorite Twitter account?

NuOffer :).

Favorite food?

My wife’s quinoa salad.

Favorite book?

“Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck.

Favorite city?

Lake Tahoe.

Favorite band or singer?

Wilco.

What do you hate about technology?

Incompatible platforms, whether soft or hard.

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

Agents should easily be able to meet buyer and seller expectations of transparency and speed.

Do you think technology can change the industry?

The industry is currently entirely dependent on a single technology — one that was invented over 2,000 years ago by a Chinese eunuch named Cai Lun. I’m referring, of course, to paper. We lose sight of the fact that paper, and the transmission of data through its agency, is a technological marvel. So do I think technology can change the industry? No. Cai Lun already established an immutable technological foundation. The industry revolves around recording and transferring ownership in real property, and around the relationships and real human beings in whose name these activities are commissioned. That fundamental definition will never change. Rather, I think that the industry has to change its technology. Or risk going the way of the eunuchs.

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

Energy inefficiencies.

What motivates you?

Blank slates.

Are you a real estate hacker who’d like to participate in our profile series? Email contributors@inman.com.