Isaac Goldman is a lot like Al Pacino. Just when he thought he was out, he was brought back in. Goldman grew up in the collections business, but never planned on making it his career. The industry is better off because he changed his mind. Goldman, who helped orchestrate the creation of Vertican Technologies in 2014 by helping bring together a number of companies, has an interesting take on what he wishes the industry would change. Read on to learn more about that and why philosophy’s loss is the ARM industry’s gain.
Name: Isaac Goldman
Company: Vertican Technologies, Inc.
Length of time at current company: I officially started my career at Commercial Legal Software in 2011. CLS changed its name to Vertican in 2014.
Length of time in industry: Practically my entire life. My dad started Commercial Legal Software in 1978. I grew up in this industry.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My real start came after grad school. After telling everyone that I was NOT going to get involved with my dad’s company or the collections industry, I found myself drawn in! I really like puzzles. I was always impressed with how successful CLS was and could be. I saw an opptunity to build off CLS’ organic growth with some strategic initiatives (like merging with Q-Soft and acquiring YGC) and ran with it. It’s really that simple. Since then I have been working with my team to continue building an organization aimed at helping the entire industry improve.
What is your career highlight so far?
Between 2013 and 2014 I worked with the principals of Commercial Legal Software, Q-Soft, Fillimerica and YouveGotClaims Solutions to effectuate the Vertican merger. I had never bought, sold, or merged a company. It was as exhilarating as it was challenging. There were lots of moving parts and I spent over 12 months working with all the stakeholders align all the interests. However, the real fun started before the signature ink was even dry: combining the operations, cultures, processes, systems, etc. of the component companies! Four years in we’re combined and innovating like never before! Working with my team and being able to represent them and their hard work is the continuous highlight of my career. They keep out-doing themselves.
When or how are you most productive?
My grandfather used to say, “if you want something done, give it to a busy man.” I find that I am most productive when I have the most to do. There’s something about a full plate that helps me focus.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
My dad. In the early 1970’s, he pioneered some of the industry’s most influential and beneficial technology.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Pack a suitcase. Hands down.
What do you like most about this industry?
I like the sense of camaraderie. We’re a small industry that works well together toward common goals. I love seeing representatives from competing firms and organizations come together at industry events to help drive industry wide benefits.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I think that the industry lacks standards; specifically, regarding data and data transmission. Some key industry players think that their secret sauce includes how and what data is exchanged between debt owners and debt servicers. I disagree. I think that our industry’s lack of standards stifles growth, invites costly mistakes, and slows the economy. CLS has written over 330 interfaces to other’s secret sauces. They are all remarkably similar.
The U.S. is a credit-based economy. It’s important that we help debtors reengage as future borrowers. That’s the real benefit: increasing access to credit and helping consumers achieve sustainable financial wellness. Collections is a very important part of that ecosystem. Streamlining the process will help consumers get back on their feet faster, pay down their debt, and become borrowers again. Standardizing how the data is transferred from debt owners and debt servicers will reduce costs (which directly translates to the consumers) and allow credit issuers, debt owners, and debt servicers to focus on more important tasks like compliance, service, and profit.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I’d be getting a PhD in Philosophy, writing a treatise, and likely teaching.
Describe a typical work day.
I think if I had a typical work day, I’d find a new job. One of my favorite things about what I do is that no two days are alike.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I like smoking cigars, but I don’t feel guilty about it.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Start from where you are.
What are you currently reading?
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
One of my favorite quotes is, “the mark of an educated mind is being able to entertain an idea without necessarily believing in it.” I have strong convictions but am always willing to entertain other idea. I try to keep my mind “educated” by never shutting myself off from an alternative perspective.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Jim Mastriani and Faith Braverman.