For love or money
“I wouldn’t do that for love or money.”
Well, quite. You do it for both or you don’t do it at all.
I am not taking about your personal life of course, for those of you who have one of those, oh tribe of mine, I should hope love suffices for that.
But at work? The choice itself is where things start going wrong. The choice itself is false. It’s based on a Gordon Gecko view of the world. Those with principles eat pot noodles. The heartless have success.
This was the choice I was presented with as I went through university in the 90s and the milk rounds started. Do you have dreams or ambition? Do you have a backbone or a wishbone? Do you know the difference?
Turns out I do.
And knowing that is to know that’s a trick question: I have a backbone. I have a wish bone. And I can tell them apart.
Love and money
How many times have you represented your bank and sat in front of a start-up or tech provider and told them they have to do a proof of concept (POC) for free to convince the behemoth, saying, or implying, that your convictions and the dream you peddle by definition pit you in the box that gets to strive and toil and not get paid until the cynics are convinced.
So what if you are sourcing their future.
Yours is the dreamers discount.
Not so any more.
The world has changed. Yes banks pay consulting firms to draft landscape presentations and VC firms are making a killing creating balanced portfolio investment strategies that take the sting out of the future, take the risk out of hope, allow the well-to-do to buy optionality. And why the hell not, if you can afford it. But that is not the same as living or building or becoming.
So here we are. 2020.
As magical a number as there has ever been.
The year of hope.
We’ve been playing with digital enablers long enough. We know what is possible. We truly know what is possible. The tech has outrun and outsmarted us every step of the way. And is that not wonderful.
And our offices are filled with humans so different to my generation I can barely contain the wonder some times. They know stuff I never knew was there to be known. About containerisation and asynchronous listening services. About magic and wonder.
They build things faster than I can imagine them and then apologetically say, hey, it’s only react native, not ready for the big leagues yet. I need one more day. When I am still trying to get options in some sense of order and now I don’t even have to because they made options reality and I see and now I know, without guessing.
Our offices are filled with humans who know and do and hope and dream and believe. Above all they believe.
I bloody love millennials
Where you see entitlement I see conviction.
They know stuff.
And one of the things they know is the world can and therefore should be better. The tech we build should be better and for the better. The way we work should be better and for the better. The way we interact, the way we think, the way we plan. The way we dream. As people and as businesses. Should be more humane. More sensitive. More aware. Bloody better.
So ask a millennial how they feel about the choice between being ethical and being successful, being smart and being good, and they will tell you to take a hike and I will be right there clapping my heart out.
New age economics
Platform economics are about monetising connectivity and that doesn’t mean here’s a penny for every integration. It means here is value in orchestration. Here’s a reward for seeing your customer and creating an ecosystem of connected service that caters to their needs in a way that is helpful, un-intrusive, respectful and ethical.
Isn’t it amazing that it is impossible to create a cynical and impactful visually compelling digital offering? Makes me have faith in the world, it really does.
And here I am. Not a millennial by a country mile. Speaking to bankers who are even further away from the “entitled snowflake” cut off point than me. Saying hey you know what? Things have changed. I will show you an architecture diagram. And cost projections.
And I will add as much PowerPoint and gratuitous excel as you need to feel comfortable. But before we are done here, I will talk to you about our vision. About what gets my team out of bed in the morning. About what drives and motivates us. Which is partly each other. And partly a conviction that we can make a difference in the world, in our own way.
It is new. To be able to say this and not expect to be shown the door.
It is new. To feel entitled to say this and still stand by your pricing and industry-leading credentials.
It is new. To know you can say this and follow it up with, this is who we are. Take it or leave it.
It is new. It is wonderful. It is revolutionary. It is the new normal.
Change isn’t the new normal. This is.
For over a decade I have heard that change is the new normal.
That emergent tech will change everything.
That platform economics are a thing.
So people hired change masters, built labs and tried to launch platforms.
Meanwhile the true change was happening.
Tech allowing humans to relate to one another in fresh new ways. Humanity reasserting itself. Humanity asserting itself.
Change is here.
And it is normal.
But it is not to be parcelled into projects and programmes and KPIs.
The technology liberates us in the most terrifying way. By changing what we know is possible and what we think we are allowed to admit is important.
And next time you go hunting for new tech, new value pools and new partners just remember. They know. That Gordon Gecko is dead. That what you dream becomes what you build and what you build becomes real. And that the choice between love and money is your artifice.
So play your cards carefully.
Because they won’t do anything for love or money.
But they will for both.
And it’s about time someone did.
By Leda Glyptis
Leda Glyptis is FinTech Futures’ resident thought provocateur – she leads, writes on, lives and breathes transformation and digital disruption as CEO of 11:FS Foundry.
She is a recovering banker, lapsed academic and long-term resident of the banking ecosystem.
All opinions are her own. You can’t have them – but you are welcome to debate and comment!