entrepreneur, author, researcher
Matt is the Founder and CEO of Blank Slate Technologies, a learning services company that provides customized memory tools for companies, organizations and schools. He launched the company in 2017 with a group of computer engineers and memory nerds.
From 2013 to early 2018, Matt was the Managing Partner of SREO Consulting, which he co-founded in 2013. SREO is a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research firm that analyzes aid effectiveness and impact for the world's leading humanitarian and development organizations, including multiple United Nations agencies, the World Food Programme, and more than two-dozen NGOs involved in the regional refugee humanitarian response to ensure aid is getting to those who need it most. SREO is headquartered in Istanbul with regional branch offices and staff, and has uncovered corruption, stolen aid, and provided recommendations to where aid work can have the highest impact. Men’s Journal profiled the organization in 2015.
From 2010 to 2014, he worked as the Director of Communications at the American University of Afghanistan. Previously, he worked at the American University of Iraq. He is currently on the Board of the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan.
In 2016, he was invited to join the Dartmouth Conference, the longest continuous bilateral discussion between leading citizens of the Soviet Union, now Russia, and the United States, established to create a sustained dialogue on the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries for the purposes of preventing nuclear war and then strengthening the relationship between the two powers.
In the summer of 2016, he launched the Spaced Repetition Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit center dedicated to advancing the adoption of spaced repetition as a supplementary learning tool.
One of the first Americans invited into Iran after the 2015 nuclear deal to study, he successfully completed an intensive Farsi-immersion program at Tehran University, which he first walked through while visiting Tehran as a tourist in 2010. He was also briefly imprisoned as he was leaving the country as part of an abrupt crackdown on ‘Western influence’ / نفوذ.
His first book is the autobiography of Afghanistan's first Minister of Higher Education after the fall of the Taliban, with a foreword written by US Ambassador Ryan Crocker.
He is also the co-host of Sources and Methods, a bi-weekly podcast which interviews leading writers and researchers and discusses their research strategies and tools.
Before going overseas, he worked as a writer and researcher at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC for Rock The Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Muslim World by Robin Wright, which won an Overseas Press Club award for Best Non-Fiction Title in 2012, as well as at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Men's Journal, NPR, CNN / Anderson Cooper's AC360, PBS NewsHour, Foreign Policy Magazine, the Daily Beast, the Wall St. Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, in addition to research publications. He speaks Farsi and can get by in Russian and Arabic, and has lived and traveled across the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mali. He has a silver medal from the 2008 Head of the Charles Regatta, and was a part of the team that helped the Iraqi National Rowing Team win one Iraq's first medals in the Asian Games.
Among his many failures, Matt's inability to adequately support the Afghan National Rowing team will always feature prominently. Despite the refugee athletes winning medals on the world stage for Afghanistan in 2002 and again in 2003 paired with four years of concerted assistance while he was in Kabul, the effort failed to catch flame, and will always remain a sore spot despite the invaluable lessons learned in building organizations.
Matt graduated from Boston University in 2008 with a degree in International Relations. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, the highest honor given to alumni less than 50 years old, from his alma mater for his work overseas. He is also a member of the Boston University College of General Studies Dean's Advisory Council.