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Matt Cohen and Greg Sax.

by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week we got a chance to catch up with Matt Cohen, Principal, Advisory Services, CoreLogic. Matt is a RESO original and a common participant in all things real estate tech. If you know Matt, you know we talked about Internet security and what’s most important for standards today, but we also talked about time and the pleasures of punctuality. Enjoy!

Q1: You are clearly passionate about Internet security, dedicating a good portion of your life to assuring safe and secure connections within real estate technologies. Is this something that you evolved into becoming an expert in or was it always there?

Matt: I took an interest in information security as a child when I was first exposed to some Control Program/Monitor (CP/M) (pre-DOS) computers and later with an Apple ][ and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) mainframe. I learned a lot more when the world of bulletin board systems (BBSs) emerged, and I was able to seek out pre-Web online communities.

I did not imagine that I would go into security as a profession, but when I entered the real estate industry in 1995, I found many areas that would benefit from the expertise I had developed earlier. So, I added security assessment as a service at Clareity Consulting, and I still help brokers, franchises, associations and MLSs with security to this day.

I also assess the security when performing IDX and the VOW compliance for MLSs – at least in a surface way. Some MLSs take security and anti-scraping seriously. 

Real estate security is my Sisyphean rock. It’s been a long-term effort, but it’s worth it!

Q2: Speaking of standards, you have been a supporter of RESO’s since the earliest days and have contributed a great deal to RESO standards. Your thoughts on the subject tend to be of heightened interest. What do you think is the most important thing that RESO should be focused on right now?

Matt: Being on the board of RESO, I support the foci that are in RESO’s strategic plan, such as Web API adoption and further development of the Data Dictionary.

I’m excited that we’ve started to see exploration of push transport, although when I suggested it 13 years ago, I wanted to see a queuing protocol adopted. I think we may come back to it if we want to see push technologies adopted at scale. There are a lot of situations where it can create greater reliability for clients, and client support is always a concern.

I’m very happy that there are now subgroups of Data Dictionary tackling areas that have needed attention for many years – for example, transaction management, showings and buildings.

Where I think we need to be focused next is on the business underpinnings. There are a lot of standards that we have spent time on but don’t have adoption because there aren’t parties willing to move that data between systems. Business has really got to drive the standards, so we should spend time on that foundation.

Q3: I know something interesting about you that others may not be aware of. You are punctual. In fact, you are beyond punctual. You are early. You are the earliest. What do you attribute that to and why does it matter?

Matt: That’s just a matter of respecting other people’s time. I’d rather get somewhere early and spend the time thinking, researching or writing than keep someone waiting.

I always plan to be early, because, if delayed, I might just end up being on time. That’s why I have never missed a consulting job in more than 25 years. I always plan to arrive early and leave time between flights. I was once giving a presentation for the state association in New York, and they closed the Albany airport due to snow. But because I got into Newark early for my connection, I was able to drive up into the snowstorm and get to the session.