One-on-One with Kurt “The Professor”

I am the Lead Economist at Proof, as well as an Associate Professor of Economics and Finance at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. I teach the Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Money & Banking, Sport Finance, and a seminar on Economics & Liberty to undergraduate students. I also teach an Economics Pre-Qualifier and Sports Finance to MBA students.

I hold a B.S. from Westminster College (PA), and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Clemson University (SC). I also have numerous papers published in Applied Economics Letters, Applied Economics, Applied Financial Economics, Economic Inquiry, Economics Letters, Economics of Education Review, International Journal of Sports Finance, Journal of Economics and Finance, Journal of Sports Economics, Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, and the Southern Economic Journal.

Throughout my time as a professor, and through my research, I have always tried to teach and do research that can make the world a better place. When I was approached to work as an economist for Proof, this was exactly the type of applied work that I have always wanted to do — applied work that will make a real difference in the world.

I like Proof because it uses the knowledge of the general population, something economists call the Wisdom of the Crowds, to verify whether a news story is true or false. Users are able to vote whether what they’ve read is mostly-true or mostly-not-true, which allows Proof to use this knowledge to identify the accuracy of the article in question. This is critical in an information age that is increasingly experiencing a lot of gray area. There is a gap in the way we consume information because at times we may wonder if what we’re reading is true. Proof allows the reader to know exactly what they’re reading.

I heard about Proof through my connections at Seton Hall University. I was a colleague of Christopher Young and had Luigi as a student. When I heard of the project they were working on, I was immediately excited about the chance to work with them in this type of setting.

Proof is about getting information out to people so they have a better understanding of what they can trust and what they cannot trust. Utilizing wisdom of the crowds, we have spent a lot of time working on the parameters to make sure we are gathering enough information in the voting structure to inform the market. There is always a fear that people will try to game the system and attempt to sway a rating the opposite direction of the truth. Given that we are expecting this type of behavior, we have developed fail-safes to keep this from happening. We are prepared to be a valuable source for the market; Proof is the tool that will help voters identify what’s credible and what’s not.

I am enjoying the experience and spent a lot of time working with Luigi and Chris. They are a great team that knows how to get things done. We have regular ‘brainstorm’ sessions, where we merge our ideas into a structural design for this platform to work.

There are also two other economists on the Economics team, Angela Dills and Michael Maloney, which have been invaluable resources to bounce ideas off of and get information on the structure and potential issues with the app.

As for my spare time (smile, smile), I have a great wife and three little boys, so my free time is mostly spent enjoying time with the family. Other than that, most of my time is either working on research, teaching classes, giving guest talks, or working out (mainly lifting weights, CrossFit, and swimming).

I am looking forward to watching the evolution of Proof and the great strides it will have on society.