I had the pleasure of attending Money20/20 in Las Vegas last week. One word to describe the show, wow! First, hats off to the team at Money20/20 for organizing a power-packed agenda that encouraged everyone to think outside the box as we move forward to the next generation of payments. Next generation in terms of the technology that is being considered but also the next generation of people from around the world that will participate in this revolution.
Actually, I’m not that sure the term revolution adequately describes the massive change and disruption the industry will see over the next 10 years. It seems that finally all the stars are lining up to unlock many of the concepts and ideas that have been floating around for years. Computing power and big data are coming to an age where Augmented Intelligence (AI) is more than a reality and blockchain is coming to light as globalization and socioeconomics are driving the need for a more inclusive payments infrastructure.
Sir Richard Branson, who I believe is truly the most interesting man alive, humbly talked about his work to tackle the opioid epidemic in Portugal and how confusing bank fees led him to start his own bank. If you haven’t heard the Virgin Airlines origin story, I encourage you take a moment to read this account.
In another entertaining session, former NBA great and Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal discussed his desire to help all people in the Gig economy gain access to same financial services the mainstream economy has access to. Shaq was asked about his investment strategy and he mentioned that when he shifted his ideas to focus on helping people the results took care of themselves.
As I look back on my 30 years in the industry, I reflect on the technical advancements that have been made to create a reliable and secure global marketplace. As we look ahead, advanced automation, big data, Artificial/Augmented Intelligence and blockchain will be the technical building blocks that will advance us toward a payments infrastructure that our children and grand-children will view as ordinary.
As you may have guessed, my main takeaway from the show was more about the people side of the discussion. I believe as business leaders, we need to direct our collective energy toward achieving true social inclusion. Our job should be focused on helping all people by expanding the global economy to places that were missed during the first revolution. As we hand the baton to the next generation of leaders, we should encourage, or even insist, that this is the real reason that we do what we do.
And, back to the point Shaq made, the results will take care of themselves.