Featured Attendee: Bennett Collen

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01Bennett Collen
CEO — Cognate
Twitter: @trademarksaint


Location: Boston, MA
Domain name you wish you owned: trademark.com
Favourite extension: .com
Currently reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Mentor: My father


Describe your company. How long have you been there and what led you to this career choice?
Cognate uses blockchain to help businesses protect and profit from their most valuable assets—their trademarks. The company was founded in 2014. As the son of two trademark attorneys, I earned my “unofficial JD” at the dinner table. You could say that I was predestined to work with trademarks in some capacity or another.

NamesCon is all about business networking. Can you tell us a story about the success of a meeting at NamesCon?
We met our most impactful channel partners at NamesCon.

Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?
Cognate helps companies protect their brands online by making permanent, timestamped records of where, when, and how their trademarks are used. These records may be used to enforce and defend trademark rights.

How does it work? Cognate uses blockchain technology to create immutable records of trademark rights. Records can be made for registered trademarks, unregistered (“common law”) trademarks, domain names, company names, product names, and slogans.

Why use Cognate? Trademarks are often a company’s most valuable asset. Cognate is fast, secure, and affordable way for companies to protect their rights.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
I help companies protect their most valuable assets—their brands and/or trademarks.

How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
I wanted to be the starting shortstop and ace of the Boston Red Sox, so I’d say I came up short.

What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
They create exciting new branding opportunities.

What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
The Ethereum blockchain.

Who would you like to hear speak at NamesCon? Why?
Tim Favia of Donuts and Justin Newton of Netki. Blockchain and DNS is a fascinating use case.

What industry trends or topics do you think will be at the forefront of panel and keynote discussions this year?

If you had 15 extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?
Read. Still the most effective vehicle for learning (for me, at least) and I don’t make as much time for it as I should.

Whats the most recent thing you learned big or small?
Humans didn’t evolve in one linear chain from apes to homo sapiens. Homo sapiens once shared the earth with other species of humans.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
“Done is better than perfect” is the best advice I received about starting a business. Doesn’t apply in all situations, or all walks of life, but there are countless things that need to be done when starting a company, and you can’t give all of them equal attention. Getting things done is more important then getting them done perfectly.

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