Editorial Team

The Best of the Braintrust, Part 2

We learned too many incredible insights from our 2020 Braintrust interviews, so we had to come back with one more post before the new year. So, here are seven of the most thought-provoking insights we learned from thinkers in and around the Fintech Space!

Dion Lisle on the financial industry’s coming Tesla moment:

“The fact is, Innovators' Dilemma prevents anyone with an existing business from changing that business. How did Tesla become more valuable than the top three or four automakers? Because they didn't have any existing thing, right? There's a great Silicon Valley joke: how did God make the world in seven days? He had no installed base. When you're not serving a current customer base, you can do anything. You shake the Etch-a-Sketch; you can draw on a blank sheet of paper... That's the kind of sea change that's coming to every industry.”

Araminta Robertson on how banks should speak to consumers:

“Banks’ communication is full of jargon. It lacks personality. They’re a big business — they’re not really human. It doesn’t feel real.
The incumbents prioritize individual sales when really we’re moving towards an era when the market is asking for lifetime value. The future is a company that you trust — a brand that you love — and that you continue using for several years or maybe your entire life. And with data analytics and with personalization, that’s what companies can do now.”

Ben Zeidler on interviewing Bank CEOs and Bank Robbers:

“It’s scary when you talk to a Bank CEO and a Bank Robber and you walk away from the set of conversations thinking, ‘Wow, that Bank Robber, he really understands this stuff.’ It was the Bank Robber who provided the moral imperative for the whole thing. It didn’t come from the Bank. That’s not a great sign for the industry.”

Simon Taylor on Fintech being just 1% complete:

“I’ve actually got a thesis called Fintech is 1% finished, which argues that, so far, Fintech has really only played in better user experiences for mid-market retail for the under 35s. And that is a segment; it is absolutely a segment. But it’s addressing maybe 10% market share. If you look at that as a percentage of the retail market or as a percentage of the banking sector, it actually gets really, really small.”

Brad van Leeuwen on the possibility of personalization in a Fintech future:

“If you don’t need to have a branch network, you don’t have all this legacy tech, you don’t have this expensive licensing and regulatory structure, then actually you don’t need to have mass-market products anymore. You can have niche products that serve people or businesses really, really well by actually fulfilling their specific needs. And that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Jeremy Schneider on how automation can help millennials become better at building wealth:

“I don't think budgeting is something that a realistic person should assume everyone's going to do. I happen to budget because this is how I live my life. But 90-plus percent of people never will or never stick to it. But a very close second to budgeting is automated transfers. So I always recommend people go in and set up automated transfers to saving and to investing so when they get paid, it's just part of their life. Then, if you spend whatever's left, after all of your automated transfers have gone to savings and building wealth for you, then you don't need the budget. You can just spend less than that's whatever is left in your bank account and then you're essentially following the two rules.
I always go back to the two rules: to spend less money than you make and invest the difference. And it sounds like you guys are essentially building those rules into the software of your bank account, which is very exciting.”

Jim McCarthy on incumbent banks becoming Compliance-as-a-Service:

“It's still a heavily regulated environment: your compliance, KYC, AML, the CFPB, the FDIC — I mean, it's an alphabet soup of things you need to do. And what banks actually do really well is compliance. So, I think you're going to see this bifurcation of great consumer experiences, primarily driven by innovators, and banks increasingly serving something like a Compliance-as-a-Service function where they begin to partner with the Fintechs. I don't think most banks have the bandwidth or the bench strength to really compete on a tech basis. The sooner some of the banks realize that Compliance-as-a-Service is their sweet spot, the better.”


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The above does NOT constitute an offer, solicitation of an offer, nor advice to buy or sell specific securities. The opinions listed above are not the opinions of Unifimoney Inc. or Unifimoney RIA, Inc. but represent the opinions of independent contributors. These contributors may or may not hold positions in the stocks discussed. Investors should always independently research any stocks listed and form their own opinions, while recognizing that any investments made may lose value, are not bank guaranteed and are not FDIC insured.