October 24, 2017
Rational. That’s how I’d describe banking, trading, and finance generally at its core – for better or worse. When you strip it down, FinServ is a giant, global spreadsheet of increasingly complex formulas spitting out dividends, interest, debts, credits, and transfers. Unfortunately, we humans have a flaw of being, well, human: imperfect, irrational, and emotional. What do humans really latch on to? A story.
It’s this struggle that makes financial services truly interesting. Most of you, I presume, love a good quantitative breakdown of companies, assets, and trends. Show me the numbers! We grasp it. We understand it. There is an answer. In part, this hyper-rational focus is why FinTech’s meteoric growth seems a more controlled. On the other hand, everyone loves a good story. Blockchain will displace banks. AI will disrupt financial services. The future of banking is…
Stories seem like liberal arts fluff; however, they are critical to business, markets, customers, and your employees. Ask yourself why you have all-hands meetings? What’s the point of earnings calls, product launches, and marketing? Every product, service, or market needs a lot of people to believe in it for it to work. So, this week we look at:
"So what does McDonald’s have to do with delivering sustainable secure mobile transactions for consumers across diverse demographics and across disparate markets around the world?
Everything, if we want to start understanding the considerations and challenges associated with scale.
The great thing about a good story is that everyone can learn from it and apply it to their own lives. A common motif in the FinTech narrative, particularly when you talk to larger banks, is that FinTechs aren’t ready for their scale. It’s as if a bootstrapped, technical co-founder had never considered their MVP isn’t ready for the global demands of a Tier 1 bank. That said, both the banks and FinTechs can learn from a global brand like McDonald’s. How do you build the culture, infrastructure, and know-how to deliver a new experience to every customer, every day with a consistent result? For banks, the challenge is reimagining your own company and employees. For FinTechs, it is delivering a valuable product today, selling the future, and building a team to execute.
After raising US $230 million in funding through its ICO, things started to unravel for Tezos. Not only is the trading of tokens delayed indefinitely, there is also a beef between the project’s foundation and the actual founders. It is evident this matter will not be resolved amicably anytime soon, which only brings more negative attention to this particular project. With the new investigation underway, things will only heat up even more.
Talk about a plot twist. If you were following the crypto world around the time of the ICO, then you may remember Tezos was everywhere. Tezos had a great story: a new blockchain that improved upon all other blockchains; in its own words: a new, decentralized blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth. (Serious question: are there lots of fake digital commonwealths?) The Tezos ICO raised the equivalent of $230M USD for a promise! That’s a powerful story. An almost-quarter-billion-dollar powerful story.
Today, there is infighting, suspended token trading, and no real product to show. You have to wonder how the latest chapter in the Tezos story will impact its future regardless of how good the tech may or may not be. We certainly can’t wait for the next installment.
Thank you for your time this week! Share this with your friends. See you next week!