Technology

Steve Cook: ‘Consumers are ticked that they are not realizing any benefit from technology in real estate’

Industry consultant believes key to real estate success is in better and more accurate databases

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Steve Cook is the editor for Real Estate Economy Watch

Is your phone an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone? What model? Why?

Samsung 5.0.

What are your top three apps on your phone?

Calendar, email and news.

How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?

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85 percent desktop, 15 percent mobile.

Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?

Writer, consultant and publisher. I operate a WordPress news site, post articles on other sites and I access my clients’ technology platforms.

Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?

I created the first online service for public relations people to provide content online to media outlets in 1991 called PR Online. It carried news from the White House, NAR (National Association of Realtors), the House Ways and Means Committee, etc. I published articles in professional journals about how we used real-time media content analysis at NAR to guide our media strategy during the campaign to keep banks out of real estate (2003).

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What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?

Getting the best available market data. There is so much junk and so many amateurs.

What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?

Homeownership is still much too risky. Big data (some things I am working on) will make it possible for tomorrow’s buyers to have a much better idea of each property’s short-term value profile.

How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?

I think consumers are ticked that they are not realizing any benefit from technology in real estate. I’m talking about the commission. Redfin may be only the first of fee-for-service models.

What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?

I use Outlook, which I like best because of its calendar, and AOL. I don’t like Gmail.

Which CMS do you use? What do you like about it, and what feature do you wish it would add in the future?

WordPress. I love WP. So powerful but so easy to use. Every day I discover a neat new gizmo.

Do you use a calendar app? Which one? What do you like about it?

Outlook and I use a tool called DejaVu to connect to my Android. The biggest technology challenge I have had to lick was getting my Outlook to sync with my phone. I had to buy a third tool to do it.

Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?

No.

Do you own a camera? What kind? What do you like about it?

I have several Nikons.

What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?

Samsung laptop and Kindle Fire.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?

No.

Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?

None, no time.

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

I visit Real Estate Economy Watch, HousingWire, CoreLogic, RealtyTrac, NAR, Shutterstock, National Mortgage News, Zillow, LinkedIn and Amazon.

Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?

LinkedIn.

What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?

Better and richer databases.

What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?

WordPress on my website.

What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?

I am a semiprofessional classical concert singer.

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