One on one with Malcolm Hall and Larry Schachter on the launch of our New York office

Posted by Malcolm Hall on 28 November 2016 in: open box, industry news

As part of our strategic roadmap moving forward, we are very excited about the launch of our New York office and we have recently appointed Larry Schachter in a Principal Role. Having worked for decades in different areas of the Real Estate industry, Larry has a wealth of experience and insights into the complex needs of this multi-faceted industry.

(Malcolm Hall) I sat down with Larry to ask him a few questions that will hopefully give you some insight into the real Larry, and why we are so excited to have him on board.

Larry, we’ve known each other for years. Did you ever think that we’d actually end up working together in this way?

We met on an off-chance meeting in London in 2002, and suffice to say that Open Box ended up rescuing me (and Tishman Speyer where I worked at the time) on an ill-fated project with another US-based vendor. Open Box delivered that first application to Tishman Speyer on time and at a significantly reduced cost. But what really impressed us was the quality of the work. Naturally, this became the first of countless projects between the two companies over 15 years.  So while I probably didn’t contemplate working together back then, my increased involvement with Open Box in recent years really got me thinking along these lines.  Now with Open Box’s renewed interest in growing the North American business, along with a permanent US presence, everything kind of aligned. 

Yes, I remember that like it was yesterday. I’ll never forget that we put together some screenshots of how the application would look and when I visited your NY offices a few months later, we were quite amused to see that those same screenshots were now stuck up on your walls, almost like artwork.

Yes, well they were more than screenshots to me – it opened my eyes up to what was actually possible and changed some of my fundamental perspectives.

Since then, we’ve really kept in touch and while we’ve always had a solid client-vendor relationship, we have developed a like-minded friendship too which has underpinned all our shared projects. Larry, tell us more about what you were doing before your joined Open Box.

Unlike many CIO’s, I began my career on the finance side. I’ve been in the Real Estate industry for almost three decades, but from early in my career I was fascinated by computers. I understood their business value and had a genuine appreciation in terms of technology creating efficiencies within business processes. About 15 years ago, I left accounting and shifted over to focus on the technology side full time. Since then, I’ve held senior technology roles at three different Real Estate companies – with Open Box having been part of my ‘toolkit’ every step of the way, integral to my success at my previous companies. Open Box was involved in everything from rebranding corporate websites to custom integrations with a host of 3rd party programs, always finding elegant solutions to business problems. They kept coming back with solutions that were consistently better than the other guys.

It means a lot to hear that. And we’re looking forward to continuing with you by our side. Here’s a toughie… what unique strengths do you feel you bring to the Open Box team?

From where I sit, Open Box has historically served the largest Real Estate companies, and having been one of these clients for the past 15 years or so, I feel that I have a unique perspective into how Open Box works and how I can expand their exposure to new companies, especially in the small to medium-sized real estate company space. I have an in-depth understanding of a lot of the relevant challenges from a business perspective, as well as how to approach and resolve these challenges. Thanks to my background both in technology and accounting within real estate I can articulate this easily to not only the tech-minded clients, but also the CFO’s and other senior business leaders, who traditionally have not been addressed directly by Open Box.

Indeed. It’s an exciting change of role for you. May I ask what inspired the move on your part?

I believe that Open Box has clearly differentiated themselves against others in the market place in terms of what they can offer, and how they offer it. Something that has always struck me about Open Box is their amazing company culture – one where collaboration, team work and shared success are the key drivers to moving the organization forward. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it!

Everyone at Open Box knows that I’ve always been grateful for our shared successes over the years. And now, I hope to be able to share new successes with those from the Real Estate industry who I’ve worked alongside for many years.

Well we’re pleased to have you on board. Together, we can continue to create win-win relationships with our partners, clients and vendors, constantly striving to find better ways of doing things. Expanding into the U.S. with you as a New York Principal, I look forward to changing the profile of what we’re able to deliver, and finding new ways to deliver our solutions, while maintaining our focus on relationships. Your expertise and in-depth experience will be an enormous addition to our offering.

Having come back from several years on the side-lines, I was able to gain new perspectives. What became clear to me was an enormous opportunity for Open Box to be delivering so much more to our clients and to the industry in general. This has become the main thrust of our strategy going forward. In addition, we have seen an increased demand for assistance within the industry from people who understand the language and the tech space – like us, they are continuously looking for better ways of doing things and we’re able to lend our knowledge here, which inevitably ends up as a win-win situation. There’s an enormous opportunity and an enormous demand that has driven this strategic change.

For years, we quietly offered services to clients that others in the industry had no idea of. As an organisation, we’re now stepping forward to show the world what we can really do, and what Open Box is capable of.

Yes, and from my perspective, I am looking forward to playing a key role in expanding the audience that Open Box has historically reached, being able to provide the same knowledge, discipline and process that Open Box has traditionally offered the largest and most complex players in the industry.

Absolutely, there are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. We are very pleased to be bringing on board a number of amazing resources like Larry to fill our Principal roles driving our new strategy across the US and the UK. Open Box has put together a fantastic foundation over the past 15 years and we’re now leveraging off that sound base to bring quality solutions to a much wider audience.

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