Technology

Thaddeus Latsa: ‘It’s not important how good the technology is; it just matters that it is portrayed as the best’

A real estate hacker on the development process and the rat race to get the newest tech

Thaddeus Latsa is the junior executive software engineer at Quantum Leads.

Describe what you do in one sentence: I launch customer sites, provide customer service and build new features for Quantum Leads.

Time at current company: 1 year

Age: 25

Degree, school: B.A. in computer science from University of Central Florida

Location: Destin, Florida

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Thaddeus Latsa's desk at work.

Thaddeus Latsa’s desk at work.

What do you do?

I am one of the engineers here at Quantum Leads. I am responsible for a multitude of tasks, which include testing for and fixing bugs, helping our customers with any questions they might have, launching new clients and, of course, designing new features for our products.

How’d you end up in real estate tech?

After college I bounced around a bit, looking at all sorts of job opportunities. I received offers in database management, insurance software quality assurance and military simulation. Ultimately, however, I decided that real estate tech was the best fit for me and my abilities; I joined forces with Quantum Leads and have not regretted it since.

What aspects of real estate are you trying to make better?

What we do at Quantum Leads is make it easier for a homebuyer or seller to get and stay in contact with a real estate agent. Trying to buy or sell a home is a daunting prospect, and many first-timers are at a total loss as to what to do.

With our product, consumers can easily get in contact with a real estate agent in their chosen area and stay in contact with them in the way that works best for each buyer or seller, be it phone, email or social media. This ball has started rolling, and once it’s started, it won’t gather any moss!

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

My favorite part of what I do is something I feel every developer lives for. I’ll set the scene. You are a developer, creating a new feature for your product. You’re exasperated and frustrated; it just won’t quite work the way you want it to do. You start banging your head on the table, but then you have an epiphany! You try it out, and it doesn’t work.

You want to put your fist through your screen, but then something stops you. Maybe you could try this. But that’s crazy! It would never work! But what if you did this instead? Interesting, but that would leave another part unresolved. Not if you did this! Aha!

You have just created a new feature and learned a little bit on the way. This ecstatic feeling combined with an environment of constant learning are my favorite parts of what I do. Luckily, it only takes me two weeks of being utterly baffled to get to this point.

Favorite food?

I’ll say Doner Kebab for this one. You’ll find out why in a couple of questions.

Favorite video game? (Or favorite book if you don’t play video games.)

I had a hard time coming up with an answer for this one. Do I say the video game I first fell in love with, “Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast”? Or do I go with the game that is my go-to for fun, “Super Smash Brothers Melee”? Should I instead choose the stunningly excellent “Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker”? Could I even mention my most anticipated upcoming game, “Persona 5”? There were just too many good choices, so I just decided to share my favorite book.

Currently, I’m in love with the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. It’s a four-part series of fantasy novels with one more to go, and I can’t choose my favorite of the first three. They’ve just got so much that I love reading about: action, adventure, spirituality, politics, coming-of-age stories, betrayal, romance, colors, a good sense of humor, despair and fun. Plus, the Pope gets to fight pirates.

Favorite city?

Istanbul, Turkey. But not for the reason you’re thinking. It is because Istanbul is the city I grew up in. It contains a lot of my first and most precious memories, like my first friend, when I learned to climb a tree or ride a bike. Plus, whether by bridge or boat, crossing the Bosphorus is always pretty sweet.

Favorite band or singer?

I enjoy listening to the music of Jars of Clay. They’ve just got so many songs that speak to me, that pump me up when I need a boost, or are just quiet when I want to reflect. There’s never a bad time for me to listen to Jars of Clay.

What do you hate about technology?

I hate the rat race to get the newest and best technology. It’s not important how good the technology is; it just matters that it is portrayed as the best. People expect that since they have the latest and greatest technology, it will just take care of them.

They don’t have the patience to research and learn how to actually use their tools. I’ve gone so far against this particular grain that my very own friends accuse me of being a Luddite. I’ll admit, I’ve only had a smartphone for less than a year.

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

When a buyer decides to buy a house, it’ll take him maybe six months to actually buy the house. When a seller wants to sell a house, they want that house sold yesterday. I’d line up these times a little more closely.

Do you think technology can change the industry?

Technology has and will continue to change the industry. An MLS has gone from being a book to a computer database of properties. Whereas the only method of communication used to be face to face, there are now phones, email or Facebook profiles that real estate agents can utilize to connect with prospects.

Because of the invention of air conditioning, the real estate market expanded to Florida, thus changing the industry. Technology has changed the industry and will continue to do so.

However, as the French say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Translated: The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the next hundred years, I feel that the real estate industry will still be very recognizable to current industry experts. We’ll just be buying houses on Mars instead of Earth.

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

In real estate, if I could push a button that granted all the necessary knowledge on every important step of buying a home to first-time homebuyers, I would. For a fee.

Out of real estate, I’d like to reduce my commute time. You know, so I could sleep in.

What motivates you?

I love learning new things. Learning why a line of code works and how to improve on that just excites me! I feel that this trait is very advantageous to developing software, as constantly learning new ways to do things is in the job description.

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