Fashion Week was not the only event making a presence in New York City last week. Annually, each September, the FinTech Community converges to New York City to learn about the latest in technology and finance demonstrated by FinTech and FinServ companies. Last week the BBVA Open Talent created the forum for ten start-ups to present their respective companies and solutions for five minutes each, before a panel of judges across various sectors, including banking, finance and technology. This year the BBVA Open Talent was held in conjunction with the NYPAY Un-Conference held the day before the New York City 2015 Finovate Event.
The Consult Hyperion/NYPAY Un-Conference is now in its fourth year in New York City. This year the Microsoft New York City Times Square headquarters was the venue where scores of FinTech executives participated in networking and finance/technology related discussions. Companies ranging from early stage start-ups along with FinTech and banking industry veterans participated in sharing their thoughts and opinions on topics ranging from risk, security, P2P lending, compliance, blockchain among other topics. Have you ever been to any kind of Un-Conference event before? An interesting observation about the Un-Conference is that the audience creates the agenda and decides on the topics for discussion and exploration.
Imagine attending a conference with no PowerPoint presentations! At the outset, there is a lecture on a timely topic to generate interest and discussion. Once the lecture is completed a series of topics are placed on work boards throughout the room and the audience divides and identifies the topics where they either want to learn more about, have an opinion to share with others or just want to listen. There is only one rule to follow which is to be respectful to your fellow attendees.
During the Un-Conference Event the following are key lessons I learned:
Encourage Curiosity: Do you remember the saying, “curiosity killed the cat”. When I initially heard that expression, I was wondering, how does this really apply to me? Who exactly was this cat? What do we really know about this cat? All we remember is that the cat was curious and the lesson for us is that curiosity is not a good thing. I also remember as a child that when I used crayons to draw I was instructed to only color within the lines. The pictures that were displayed in class represented the pictures that were perfectly colored within the lines.
The FinTech CEO’s at the BBVA Open Talent/NYPAY Un-Conference presented an overview of their company describing how their solution would make our lives easier. They also learned early on that being curious is a good thing. When we are curious we push the status quo to find new opportunities to satisfy consumer needs. When the CEO’s presented their company overview I was thinking they know where the curious cat wondered off to. They were not punished for being curious but were rewarded. Entrepreneurs must be curious and challenge themselves to create something valuable and necessary and learn that to think about life in a different way.
Millennial Behavior is on the Rise: In my opinion, the millennial behavior does not the follow the behavior of any other generation. They are comfortable with technology to simplify their lives. For others, technology only adds to complication and stress. They are willing to push the bar, if it means getting what they want. But this generation is comfortable with disruption and creating new models, even if unpopular. For example, many industries host conferences where thousands of attendees pay thousands of dollars and stay at host hotels to learn information they already know. Speakers come prepared to share PowerPoint presentations to an audience that is thirsting for something new and different. Disruptors are creating a new norm by organizing meetup events near the conference venue. The conference model as we know it is undergoing change.
FinTech is an Open Community: Many attendees were open to meeting and learning more about their fellow attendees. The FinTech community is about learning, sharing and creating. A number of attendees can be seen leading discussions on the Linkedin User Groups, or a key speaker at an industry conference. Whether hallway conversation or talking after a work group discussion, the attendees were fully engaged. The exchange of sharing ideas, bringing their experiences to a discussion or talking about what’s next feeds our curiosity in new and meaningful ways.
The Walker Group Media provides business development and advisory services to FinTech companies. Our varied market segments enables us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to build their business. Through our one-on-one CEO Advisory Services we have helped companies to navigate through the key business problems, increase sales, build new revenue streams and continue to build strong relationships with the financial service organizations. You can contact Wayne Brown WayneBrown@waynebrown.nyc.