I would like to think of this as an innovative reimagning of Martin Belam’s Friday Reading posts but as you can see it is a blatant copy. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery etc. Anyway, I am using this as a way to get back into the habit of more regular writing and also a way of focusing on the links I habitually collect but sometimes neglect i.e. never get around to reading.
So here goes Aden’s Friday Reading List #1. A collection of long(ish) form links on technology, innovation, banking and anything else I deem interesting enough to include. These links are also available in a handy readlist that you can send to your favourite digital reading device.
‘To paraphrase the scientist Jacob Bronowski, no society or organization died from this kind of dissent, but plenty perish from conformity. Every company could use their own dedicated objectionists–confidently criticizing what others didn’t feel empowered enough to speak up about.’
‘Most companies have built up significant barriers to innovation. Culture, strategy, internal processes and the needs of existing customers all conspire to stave off ideas about doing things differently. Therefore, the question every organization needs to ask itself is the following: If someone came to you with a breakthrough innovation, how would they sell it?’
‘Brainstorming, whether you believe in it or shun it, is a fantastic neologism. But as Frog Principal Designer David Sherwin has found, it’s also a very American word–one that doesn’t exist in every language. “We were in Bangladesh, trying to translate the idea into Bengali,” says Sherwin, remembering a recent trip his team spent working with teenage girls on community issues. “One of the translators on our team wrote up on the board, brain + storm. It couldn’t be translated.”’
””If [you open your data] you can change the rules to expose your competitor’s internal contradictions,” Taggart said. “Most big, fat secure companies don’t have the confidence to disrupt themselves.”‘
‘Noam Bardin wanted to expand the reach of his company’s mobile mapping app to South America. It was a bold idea, but an expensive one. So over the past year, Bardin, the chief executive officer of Palo Alto-based Waze, met with resellers of geographical mapping information and asked them for access to their proprietary data. The catch: The Israeli entrepreneur said that he didn’t want to pay a dime to get it.‘
‘The atmosphere at Apple was poisonous. It was a very heavy top-down management style. My own personal experience of it was short and painful. Decisions by senior staff (yours truly) were questioned by people higher up who didn’t really have trust in their employees. Twitter is completely different. Employees there are treated like grown-ups. Decisions are owned by whoever decides to make the decision. If someone says “Hey, we should do X,” the response tends to be “go for it!”
I first realized it in my early twenties. Everything important around me at the time, I’d found on Craigslist: my girlfriend, my job, my apartment. It was a powerful realization: I could sit down with my laptop and, in a matter of hours or days, change my world in both superficial and fundamental ways.’
*SOUND THE NAVEL GAZING ALARM* While writing my last post on PFMs I was struck by how certain ideas and themes recur in my writing and thinking. I am starting to get the feeling I am burdened by these ideas. My brilliance is being hampered by these synapse occupying visions of majesty so much so that my humility has been diminished. Self mockery aside the real reason they are a burden is due to the lack of progress I have made with turning them from ideas stuck in my head to anything resembling reality. I wrote about the problem with ideas stuck in my head last year and one of the ideas I will talk about in this post is one of the ones I refferred to. In that post I said I wanted to protect the idea:
It of course got killed. For this and other reasons I have decided it is time for me to publish these oh so burdensome ideas. Be rid of these foul demons in the vain hope that someone agrees they are good ideas and has some sort of vision of how to make them reality. These ideas are of various ages and I think this list is probably in oldest first order.
Identity - Clearly this is a huge topic and I am interested in all facets of identity but the bothersome idea I have harboured for several years is why can’t I logon to my bank website? Yes I can log on to Internet Banking but that is different. For most banks the website is a completely different entity to its online banking portal. If I want to save a quote, view the terms of my insurance policy and potentially view my balances I should not need full strength security and validation. All quite subjective with regards to how secure different types of interaction should be but access to some forms of interactions need to be simpler (it could be argued that it’s the customers choice as to what level of security they desire). Also you have the whole personalisation angle (only show me adverts for relevant products, paint the site black if I am a certain grade of customer etc) to this but I am not so interested in that.
Some banks operate other logons on their websites or external parts of their site such as the logon for HSBC’s Advance offers or the first direct lab. I suspect interactions here are not well linked to customer profiles or CRM systems because of these logon issues. They also require yet another user ID and password which everyone loves.
What about non-customers visiting a banks site? Why not have a level of registration/identity to allow people to research products, begin applications and then once they take out a product you can upgrade the logon to a level that allows more secure transactions? Don’t make me fully authenticate for everything and don’t leave tracking to cookies and chance for everything else.
Clearly identity is a much bigger thing but I don’t want to get into all that NSTIC / Digital Asset Grid type stuff just yet or even the connection of social network identities or the thought of Klout scores linked to product offerings (shudder). I just want basic federated logons for bank websites and any 3rd party sites the bank operates.
Notification Systems – I have written quite a detailed post on this idea a while back. The bottom line is that in banking today there are many types of events that occur but very few of those events are subject to any form of tailored notification to me as a customer especially if they are not financial transactions. If a specific transaction arrives in my account can I be notified via SMS? If my account balance drops below a certain limit can I get a DM on Twitter? If I miss a call from my RM can I be notified via email? If my mortgage application progresses to the next milestone can I get a message sent to my Internet Fridge? If someone tries to logon from a country or using a device that is not mine can you alert me via every channel available? (why don’t banks have an audit trail that the user can see showing their logon activity ala Gmail?) Today the notifications available to customers are fairly limited. Maybe some basic SMS or some notifications inside a mobile app. The tailoring of them is also limited. No creation of rules or choice of multiple notification channels.
Not only does this limit the amount of feedback loops a bank creates it means the banks miss an opportunity to engage with customers. This thing has happened with your product…you should take some action (and hopefully see this advert for new stuff).
Over and above this though is that these notifications and these events that have occurred are fuel for other services both inside and outside the bank. Imagine if your bank had systems that played together nicely in ways you could manage. Imagine if you had the equivalent of If This Then That for your bank(s). The events and notifications are ripe for bringing your bank activities into your digital world rather than keeping them all locked away in an internet banking portal.
Activity Streams – (This is kind of the one referred to earlier that got killed off) Basically these are a well known form of viewing data and capturing specific forms of interaction. The Facebook newsfeed is probably the most well known form of activity stream. A flowing river of events that have occurred in your network. Why isn’t your bank relationship represented like that? Today it is split by account, then drill down into a list of transactions. That view is of course important but it shows little of the actual interactions. Why not have an activity stream of all actions across all products and services? For example why not show entries such as;
You called today and we have done the following things
You left a comment on the first direct lab
You have won a prize for being our bestest customer
We have replied to your complaint about your prize (See our response)
We tried to cold call you but you ignored our call
You have been chosen for a fantastic new marketing promotion
These would be interspersed with the far more frequent and familiar account transactions but it shows you everything that happens across your relationship with your bank. This representation may also change the way you present transactions as more data could be added such as geolocation, images of cheques, call recordings, 3rd party offers etc
Activity Streams are also a blossoming open standard. You can post events in the activity stream format and then build a stream of those events across any service. If all banking relationship notifications/events mentioned in section two were formatted into activity streams it would allow those events to be brought together more simply in a single place, easing front end integration but also should you so desire allow you to share them outside your bank. This presentation by one of the contributors to the Activity Streams standard, Chris Messina of Google, explains them brilliantly. What if banks extended the standard from it’s current social network definition? A bank contributing to open standards? Crazy talk…
Again this idea is about linking things together. Bringing events from a multitude of systems into one stream. Also enabling the linkage of bank events into wider world of web services.
Open Data & Application Programming Interfaces – This is my current brain occupier. The one thing I would like banks to embrace the most. I have written about these things many times both inside and outside of the organisation I work for but like Robin S said ‘words are so easy to say’. I wrote about them here, here and here. Basically what I want to see is banks surface APIs for core functions. An API for my transactions that I could plug into other services ala Freeagent, An API for payments so a developer could code an app to send money to people ala PayPal X Commerce etc. The very smart James Governor said a while back that he believed API creation and management will be a core skill of the successful enterprises of the future. He is right. We are starting to see a bit of a groundswell around financial services APIs, albeit mainly from new entrants. That will change soon hopefully as the banks wake up to the potential of bridging the gap between the bank network and the web.
Open Data is very similar in that instead of publishing services it is about publishing things that have happened. Banks should have some cracking data sets that could be shared for the benefit of others. Not least the hackers and tinkers and visualisers etc. If the World Bank can do it (and do it well) why can’t some of the other banks of the world do it?
Conclusion of sorts - The main themes here are related to some sort of connective tissue of banking and the web. You can tell I am not a TOGAF certified architect with those kinds of descriptions. I am always disappointed when something can’t be connected to something else for what ever crappy reason ‘It was too expensive to build it like that’ ‘IT Security wouldn’t let us’ ‘It was planned for phase 2′ ‘Open standards are a legal minefield so we write better ones’ ‘What the hell are you on about tubby?! Only activity stream you need is to go swimming’ etc
I understand these things are potentially major infrastructural changes and there is also an unhealthy dose of mindset changes required as well. Both these things notoriously complex, challenging and expensive. I have no mind for business models or numbers related to these kinds of things so could not put a price on such a thing. I suspect they will cost a fortune to build but will they deliver the savings needed to justify them? Will they allow innovation and creativity to flourish in the way my Utopian visions say they will. Who knows? I believe they will but who will believe me without Return On Investment numbers and other dull figures of justification?
My failings (of which there are many) are that I don’t really know how to make things/make things happen (this could be a whole new navel gazing post). I know how to do whiny blog posts and sarcastic presentations and that ain’t working so well for these kinds of ideas (I am being flippant but I really don’t know how to start these things). Obviously a problem shared is a problem halved so this is my attempt at that.
Be Gone. Maybe it is time to drown the puppy. Arrogantly accept the fact my ideas are clearly far too ahead of their time/not in anyway realistic. Move on. Seek out new ideas in new areas far away from these and rid myself of this (not very heavy) burden. This is the first step towards that…publish away my problems. I will of course be right back to them the moment anyone shows the merest flicker of interest because I suspect the only real way to rid myself of this burden is to see these things, or better solutions, implemented.
This awkwardly titled post is thusly titled because it is the name of an event that Betony Taylor, my esteemed colleague from the UK media relations team, and I were invited to speak at recently. The event took place in Zurich at the Swiss Stock Exchange and was hosted by Capco and the Swiss Finance Institute.
The venue for the day
The term Glocal (a portmanteux of Global and Local) is not just some awful marketing creation but is actually the basis of some detailed geographic research. The event was looking at the challenges being faced by banks due to the increasingly global nature of their customers through travel, the virtual erasure of borders through the use of the web and the realtime access demands due to the rise of mobile technologies.
The day started with a keynote from Peter Stringham of Young & Rubicam, and as it turned out he was also ex HSBC. His firm had undertaken a large piece of research into trust in industries. As you might expect the traditional retail and service industries had seen a huge decrease in consumer trust and the web based companies were seeing a great increase in trust. Peter’s research pointed to the fact that people just did not believe the messages coming out of those so called old world industries. I would like to see the research to dig into it a bit deeper but I have a feeling that people trust the big web companies more because what they do just works. They keep it simple.
The Occupy movement has been a big wake up for the financial industry. It is not just the normal protestors. Peter showed an image of a child protester to make the point that this will affect generations and how they think about banking. Recovering that trust could take generations. This lack of trust makes people want to disntermediate the system.
An Occupy site just yards from the event
One example given was payments startup Dwolla. They want to do payments without touching the traditional bank network as much as possible. If banks continue to fight and defend against the Internet as people will try and disintermediate the bank network.
Peter also discussed the lack of cross border identity, even between so called global institutions. He mentioned Amex being particularly painful to deal with when he moved from Canada to the US. They explained that he was a customer of Amex Canada. He felt it was strange how they don’t brand like that. He moved to the US and had sold a house for ‘several million dollars’ yet had no credit rating in the US (at this point I of course had very little sympathy for him but I agree there is a problem). These problems are caused by regulations and a lack of really understanding the customer need. The companies that can best unsnarl the regulation will be the ones that win. Consumers don’t care about regulation, they care about being able to do what they need to get done. A great start to a day I was worried would be way over my head. It allayed my fears, albeit briefly.
The first panel focused on reputation management and followed on nicely from Peter’s talk. The general attitude seemed to be that the banks had taken their eye off the ball and the blind pursuit of money had cost them dear. They knew they had to engage at a more human level to regain what they had lost.
The second and third panels were way over my head the second panel was also way over my personal wealth. They looked at the future of cross border private banking and the regulatory environment and its effect on the Eurozone crisis. I will be honest, I did not understand a lot of what was said for about 90 minutes. I have looked back at the presentations and discussions and I am still none the wiser.
What those panels did however do is remind me of the scale, importance and complexity of the financial system. I tend to forget how big banking really is and there is nothing like a session on macro prudential regulation in relation to cross border private banking to make you think your obsession with this piddling little social media stuff might just be the banking equivalent of a child’s toy.
Are the banks stuck between a rock and a...
The panel Betony and I were involved in covered social media and new technologies (quelle surprise) It was preceded by a talk from Dan Marovitz of Buzzimi and once of Deutsche Bank. Entitled, Banking in the Digital Slipstream, it looked at how our actions on the web are ever increasing and as such so is the footprint of what we leave behind. This data is the new gold. Banks sit on an interesting set of this data that none of these web companies have access too yet. Are banks making the best use of it?
The panel discussion that followed covered these topics with a particular focus on transparency. How could the banks deal with the demands of social media and its incessant march against secrets. The consensus seemed that they had to adjust. My own point of view being that no longer can they hide behind complex business models and terms and conditions. I mentioned BankSimple CEO, Josh Reich, and his thought that banks make money by keeping their customers confused. I don’t believe they do that wilfully but I think that banks forget how complex banking is as they live in this bubble where they understand the terminology and the ins and outs. Amusingly no one in the room (except the panel members) had even heard of BankSimple so maybe I live in my own bubble as well.
On the wider topic of social media. I wanted to make clear that it is just a brand name. Just like web 2.0 before it and social business that follows it. It is just the evolving web, the twenty something year old all conquering web. We need to embrace it because it is starting to reach its true potential. Earlier in the day social media had a few mentions and there was some confusion with it being about popularity and celebrity. Peter Andre was mentioned as doing well in social media but banks will not. Rubbish. The question was asked earlier in the day of how many companies are on twitter. This is the wrong question, how many of your named people are allowed on twitter to represent your brand. It is not about pumping out news on your brand in a broadcast manner it is about being a human being and adding some value.
I would love to see HSBC economists on twitter but there is so much regulation around them that they can’t say anything. They probably can’t even tweet about having a ham sandwich for lunch because that might impact the wheat and pork belly futures markets.
The panel moderator, Nick Levy of Capco, threw in his next question about dumb pipes, as in are the banks destined to become just a layer of infrastructure. I have written about this topic recently and the experience on the panel made me finish that long held post. In short I think yes they will but this is not a bad thing.
The view from the panel...enthralled suit based audience
I don’t think the digital pieces of infrastructure required to really replace any meaningful parts of the banking system exist today. Digital identity and the elements of trust, systems that can eradicate the ability to hide money in dodgy offshore havens or through complex derivatives built on top of mythical AAA rated bonds. Transparency, trust and simplicity are the things required for banking in a Glocal world but they are very, very difficult to create. Ultimately a lot of these discussions around new technologies and trends and how you need to behave come down to good old fashioned trust. The day had come full circle.
All the presentations from the day (apart from Peter’s keynote frustratingly) are available here. There are some videos presentations and panels, although thankfully not the one I was on. Thanks to Capco and the SFI for inviting Bee and I to speak. It was a complex thought provoking day that reminded me exactly how big banking is and how it maybe needs to learn how to be small again.
Lots of people recently seem to be warning about banks becoming dumb pipes. They say banks are destined to just become the wires. The hearts and minds of customers will be won by the masters of the web. The Googles and Amazons and Apples and Paypals of the web 2.0 world. I agree they probably will but is it really a problem?
Those web 2.0 darlings are not going to make themselves into bank. The majority of them are just interested in the transaction data they don’t want the hassle of running a bank. Basel 3, MiFID and other impenetrable forms of regulation might not be too appealing.
Some may say (not me of course as I work for one) Banks have proved they don’t really get this web thing and especially not this web 2.0 thing with its rounded corners and nice fonts and helpful intuitive interfaces. Why not let the experts have a go at that bit while banks stick to what they are good at.
The banks operate a huge complex global network that moves trillions of dollars per day, usually without much issue. Complex fraud and anti-tax evasion systems operate silently. Audit requirements, data protection standards and a myriad of regulations make this system the powerful beast it is and also a potentially irreplaceable one.
No one in Silicon Valley or any other entrepreneur saturated dreamland is going to want to recreate the whole bank system (I have visions of mad stock sale billionaires from Facebook sitting in their volcano housed lairs thinking ‘we should do that’). That bank system may be a bit long in the tooth and may need some updates here and there but could we give it a chance to catch up by laying down some of these so called dumb pipes and bringing it closer to that other huge complex global network called the Internet? If we give a few more people access to the system in a web friendly way will it be of benefit to all? Will people realise the power of this network and what it allows us to do today?
That being said I am interested in the most simple of these dumb pipes. I want an automated data feed from a current account. Every time a new transaction occurs I want a data feed I can subscribe to, just like RSS, to update. That feels very simple and you could say dumb but to make that happen is going to take some damn smart coding and some bravery.
The big problem is authentication. How do I prove I am who I say am? How do I prove that I am allowed to subscribe to that data feed? How does that authentication model satisfy banks security and fraud departments? How does it satisfy the regulators? What would happen if someone had access to all the data behind that API? What if the Daily Mail had access?
The most simple implementation of the so called dumb pipe was planted in my head by Dave Birch. He posted the following tweet.
Setup a private twitter account. Plug it into your bank account (this dumb pipe of course has OAuth/XAuth like qualities). Follow it to catch your transactions as they happen. Now a bank would never build this. No revenue at all. It only presents risk but a customer has asked for it (albeit a quite forward thinking one who would be a guinea pig to embed payments chip into his body) but a customer need is a customer need and we know they are always right.
A few examples i have seen during my time at HSBC where customers are trying to circumvent this lack of a subscription data feed. Designer Aral Balkan was none too happy that he could only manually access transaction data from two months in the past. So he built a tool (in under 4 days) to scrape the data and save it in a format for him to upload to Freeagent. Another person, a smart gentleman going by the name Jay Fresh, went a step further. He reverse engineered online banking to produce a command line interface. I spoke with him and asked him why, his reply was that he had simply wanted to build his own iPhone app. I can understand his frustrations. Should customers have to work so hard to do this? Should they have to risk their own logon data and potentially break terms and conditions to try and get to the data? Banks spend pots of cash each year trying to figure out what customers want, why not give them the tools to build what they want. A so called dumb pipe would be a very powerful tool in the right hands.
Mr Bank 2.0 (soon to be 2.1 and available in all good book stores), Brett King, also wrote a great post on this topic (and has been talking about it for years) arguing that if the banks do become merely an infrastructure layer then they will miss out on the value built on top of it and that we may need fewer banks/infrastructure providers. I agree they might and there could be less banks but do we need that infrastructure layer to be created to allow new value chains (ugh) and innovations to truly flourish? Where would we be if we still had a fragmented electricity system? Or you could only call someone on the same telephone network as you? We need to create these commodotised infrastructural layers and allow them to weave into the wider world (web?). The innovation S-Curves of many technologies have shown this pattern. Banks may resist as the wireless telcos are doing now, except for the smart ones such as Telefonica, but I believe there is an inevitability and the banks that embrace this will be the ones that exist…but I digress.
So what would a banks dumb pipe look like? What are the technologies required to keep this mother of all honey pots safe and secure so it does not spring a sticky leak. What would be needed to build the simple sounding dumb pipe detailed above? Yes there is inherent risk on freeing customer transaction data but I think the potential benefits outweigh the risks (I may be alone on this). We are starting to see some things in the French banking market that might answer these questions SDK’s have recently been released by Crédit Agricole and this week has also seen the launch of an API by Banque AXA. The future looks French.
I look forward to the arrival of the dumb pipe. It will bring together the banking system and the web. I have high hopes for this dumb pipe. People need to realise that the pipe is not so dumb.
The 6th of February was the date for the 5th BarCampBank London. Held at the same loation as last years, Nesta, it brought together around a hundred or so financial service innovation types to discuss the hot topics of the moment. Last year there had been a focus on alternative currencies and economies this year they were largely absent from the sessions (the ones I attended anyway). NFC was also another big topic last year but this year it felt like the disillusionment was setting in.
I was kindly asked by conference organiser Dave Birch to help group the themes from the post it note avalanche at the start of the BarCamp. It allowed me to be biased and shape a session on one of my current pet topics, APIs/Open Data, although to be honest I did not have to be that biased as it was a topic a lot of other people wanted to discuss.
‘What does a bank API look like?’ was the question used to frame the discussion. I was asked to lead the talk which was a tad daunting with some of the experts in the room thankfully I don’t think I made too much of an idiot of myself. The first job was to explain what an API was to the mixed knowledge group. An API is an Application Programming Interface and as the name implies it allows programs and services to connect and interact with it to control the business process it sits on top of. My primary focus is around creating APIs to deliver access to a customer’s transaction data so if they so desire they could use a third party PFM, like Mint.
But what is the business benefit of an API? Why would a bank open up its data to 3rd parties when they can keep all that good stuff for themselves? Well the discussion coverd this quite a bit and the conclusion was that the biggest benefit is around internal development. The API should be used to build your own tools. If banks had APIs then building tablet, mobile or Internet Fridge banking apps would be a piece of cake.
Obviously the immediate concern when anyone mentions an API plugged into the financial transaction data of customers is what about the hackers?! Yes an API to financial data would be quite the honey pot but surely these issues can be overcome. If PayPal (the developer arm is now known as X Commerce) can provide API access to some of its services then why can’t other banks?
In Germany they have had APIs of a sort for quite some time in the form of the FinTS set of services. We were lucky enough to have several people from Germany in the group and they said that while FinTS was useful the way it had been implemented by the banks varied wildly between institutions. Open standards are desperately needed.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Simon Redfern from the Open Bank Project. An organisation looking to build a layer for the banks to plug into and then provide some standard data feeds in JSON with some RESTful APIs to hook into. Unsurprisingly they have not signed up any banks to take this on just yet but on paper this looks like just the kind of thing needed.
We discussed what the role of Swift was in all this. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication is a global messaging network which deals with payment instructions. They would not really have access to the customer level data I am interested in but it would certainly be interesting to plug an API into this world.
Another angle was the Government. In the UK we have the MiData project kicking off at the moment. With the vision of handing customer data back to the customers. Some banks are signed up to this but as yet the detail around how data will be provided is not that well detailed and I think data extracts maybe preferred over API type access.
This is a really interesting topic that I think will be a major focus for the banking industry over the next 18-24 months.
Second session I attended was entitled ‘Does social media change everything or nothing in financial services’ I am not sure about the title of this thing (maybe replace social media with ‘ever evolving web’) but I like the sentiment.
I think the obvious thoughts are the likes of Google and Facebook will sweep aside the banking industry as we know it. I really don’t agree with that. Those companies have no interest in being banks. They might want some of that sweet, sweet financial data to better tune their marketing efforts but they don’t want the hassle of Basel 3 compliance etc.
That being said you cannot ignore the effect the web continues to have on society and banking is certainly not exempt from that. The two networks need to get closer and I believe the two can coexist. The banking one may look a bit long in the tooth comparatively but it is pretty good a transferring trillions of dollars per day without much issue (the small matter of global economics withstanding).
My third choice of the day was ‘Can you imagine a world with no POS terminals or plastic payment cards’. Like the previous session the big assumption is that mobile devices will change the way we pay to such an extent these mechanisms of trade will be consigned to the dustbin. Square might be the FS darling in the US at the moment but wide scale merchant usage at a corporate level will not be possible with such a system (the mag stripe alone makes it unusable outside the US). The discussion focussed around what the big players in this market actually do and why displacing them will be very hard.
The key element being the payment schemes and the functionality contained within them e.g. chargebacks, where customers of Visa could demand a refund from them if the goods the customer purchased from a third party were substandard. Are the new players going to be able to build these huge complex processes? The feeling from some part of the group was that this was maybe a bridge too far. This means the big players will probably stay as the big players…also Visa have a pretty big stake in Square anyway.
A slightly bizarre end to the day in the form of something that I had found difficult in the last session i.e. imagining a future without something so fundamental to pretty much everything we do today ‘What would be the plot of a movie about the future of the financial system?’.
Now obviously the premise was quickly established that the financial system as we knew it had completely failed (crippling virus or AI reached such a level of sentience that the HFT algorithms ran riot and heavily funded biotech which lead to the creation of an army of financially trading cyborgs that also had a physical presence so they could take over the world or a more plausible continuation of the real world events going on now). Either way the way things work today cease to be. Trying to think through what would happen if you no longer had any access to money. No way to buy. No reason to work. Hording would begin. Looting would break out. Society would surely break down. This would be a pretty depressing dystopian future so we had to try and inject some happy/hippy transitions.
Obviously barter systems would flourish (They have seen a resurgence in Greece recently) and the world would find new means of trade and currency and the things would be right again (as the rebel survivors successfully defeat the evil cyborgs) and no one would ever be short sighted or greedy again. There was a slight twist in the end in the form of a very clichéd cut to an underground bunker with a lone evil banking cyborg that had escaped the cull. Can’t see it getting made any time soon with a plot like that, I also suspect securing funding would be very difficult.
I personally got more out of this year’s event over last years. Not sure if that was to do with the more relevant/interesting topics or just feeling more comfortable with the format/audience/my willingness to shoot my mouth off. There was still a lack of (UK) bankers at the event which was a bit of a shame…that being said who wants a load of bankers at an innovation event anyway?
Nice work once again by Mr Birch and his associated organisers. Finovate Europe which was held the day after has meant some of Europe’s smartest in the industry come together in London for a few days. Organising events at either side of it is a no brainer. Same again next year please maybe with a few more events added on to make a week of it.