Fast followers. What Fintech can learn from Ernest Hemingway.
Since the banking crisis changed (or in some cases, confirmed) the general perception of bankers (think rhyming slang), there’s been a need for visible change in the financial industry.
Eventually it did arrive. Technology improved enough to create products that customers had been requesting for ages…
- Monzo kicked it off with its pre-paid card and account.
- ApplePay got good.
- Starling took off. Revolut spun out.
The new wave of disruptor banks was in full flight and nothing could touch them. Until it did.
The fast follower position is a strong one.
The MO is to see what the upstarts try and do it better.
Apple has always been good at that. So, it stuck with what it knew and launched Apple Card. This offered everything we love about Apple and more: pay by phone, carry a shiny metal card – all hail the great and the good – but hold on…suddenly the all-powerful Mr. Zuckerberg stepped up.
Enter Facebook Libra. A digital currency, PayPal challenger, that you can use to make transactions on FB platforms as easily as sending a private message. Bitcoin might have seemed a bumpy ride, with its value fluctuations, but here we are with a new concept: a stable platform and a captive audience using a tested idea.
To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway (to be honest, I’ve done this so many times now that you’d think it gets old, but it doesn’t): asked how he went bankrupt, Ernie said “gradually, then suddenly.” As an epithet for innovation, it’s worth remembering. Even when you think everything is different, everything changes.
The mega trend
Since Fannie and Freddie (keep an eye on this), RBS, and all the rest was always going to be an upheaval in the banking market. It didn’t happen immediately. It started slowly and then it hit with a vengeance. Now banks are going to scramble again because innovation, to them, means what it’s always meant: a new name for an account, a couple of tweaks and a bit of cashback.
Apple and Facebook will make a dent in world banking and who gave them the time to do it? The guys who decided that innovation was more of the same with a different label.
Who created the products consumers will use? Innovators.
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