What’s your background?
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. At the age of 13 after working a couple of jobs (a paper route, picking fruit at an orchard and cleaning trays at the local butcher), I bought myself a Vic-20 microcomputer and taught myself to code in BASIC. I sold my first computer game at age 14 to a small local computer retailer – it was called Cavernous. I don’t even know if the game exists anymore, but I was hooked on tech.
I managed to qualify for a select entry secondary school called Melbourne High, and after graduating High School went straight into a job coding. I studied computing part-time at Monash before deferring about a year into my studies. I started my own software business in 1989 called Realtime (doing payroll and biometric time management systems), and grew that until 1995 when I sold it to a colleague and then bought an ISP (Internet Service Provider) franchise. Some companies are still using the software I wrote back in the early 90s.
I joined Deloitte in Australia in 1997 as a Project Manager and due to my web experience ended up as the Director of E-Business out of Hong Kong in 1999, but specializing in Financial Services. In 2000 I joined a Digital Agency Modem Media as their Regional MD for Asia, and after the dot com I ended up doing a partial management buy-out of the Hong Kong business as they exited the region, and I used that to start a specialized digital strategy firm called User Strategy. I also started a Financial Services training business in 2001 that ended up taking me to Dubai in 2005. By 2008 we were doing about $3-4m in revenue annually in training for banks and corporates in Mid-East and Asia.
How did this lead you to what you do now? What is the day job now / or a typical day in the life?
When the financial crisis hit in 2009 it hit the training and consultancy businesses hard, so I took a year off and wrote my first book BANK 2.0, which became a global bestseller in the banking space. Bank 2.0 took me to New York, led to me entering the speaking circuit and then establishing Moven as a start-up.
— Moven (@getMoven) February 19, 2016
I have 3-4 pretty much full time jobs these days. I am the CEO and Founder of Moven, arguably one of the most well known neo-banks in the world, industry wise. I speak in 30+ countries annually on the emerging future, primarily with a banking focus. I run the Breaking Banks Radio Show. I also still write and try to release a new book every 18 months to two years. I am a venture partner with Anthemis Group, and I sit on the board of the Centre for Financial Services Innovation.
As you can probably guess, my days are pretty full. Mondays and Fridays I generally work on the speaking business and writing, but will have a few Moven related meetings or calls. Tuesday through Thursday generally I’m focused on Moven strategy, expansion, fund raising and business development. I travel generally a few times a month internationally doing Moven business, speaking, or both. Thursday afternoon we run the radio show out of New York, or I will sometimes do it on the road live from a conference venue, hotel room or similar.
I also am doing my IFR Instrument Rating as a pilot at the moment, and launching my new book Augmented, so things are extra busy.
— Breaking Bank$ Radio (@Breakingbanks1) April 7, 2016
One thing I will say. I never dreamed 10 years ago that I’d be doing something I loved every day as a job, let alone 4 things I love to do. It’s an honor and privilege every day.
BreakingBanks is a great idea. Who is your audience, and what is their response?
Thank you. The show is coming up on the end of our 3rd year of broadcasting right now. We go out on the AM band in New York (AM1160 WVNJ), via stream on Voice America, and through podcast and download on VA, iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and syndicated via sites like Bank Innovation, BankNXT, and others. This means we reach more than 70 countries and a popular episode can have in the order of 50-70,000 listeners or downloads. We’ll probably reach somewhere in the order of 1.5m listeners this calendar year.
We cover all of the biggest FinTech news and events globally and our team attends and does reporting from events around the world. We typically cover all the major events such as Finovate, Money 20/20, Sibos, and of course, NextBank.
We’ve increased our listener base 30% in the last two quarters, so the show continues to strike a strong chord with our base. We are easily the largest dedicated FinTech radio show in the world by popularity (iTunes), by audience base both geographically and in terms of listeners. Of course, there are some regulars and contributors on our show such as Chris Skinner, Liz Lumley, JP Nicols, Jim Marous, Ian Kar, Jessica Ellerm, Dave Birch, Ron Shevlin, Sam Maule, and Rob Findlay, who are all FinTech legends in their own right. We have easily the strongest team in FinTech media across any channel, property or medium today. While I certainly started the show, it’s definitely grown into something bigger.
The ironic thing is I started the show as an alternative to the blog as I wasn’t getting the time to write regularly, and I thought one hour of Radio a week might be less demanding. Little did I know?
One small thing I should mention, is that the show is actually all Rachel Morrissey’s doing – she runs the show. I just turn up each week and talk.
— Breaking Bank$ Radio (@Breakingbanks1) April 8, 2016
What have been your favourite shows?
It’s always tough to pick favourites because we’re coming up on our 200th episode, so there’s just a ton of content to choose from. My favorite episodes include:
- A show we had late in 2014 on Artificial Intelligence: Ally or Foe – and the shows we’ve had with Ramez Naam always get me really thinking.
- The creator of the Starbucks mobile App Chuck Davidson talking Designing for Mobile Payments
- We had a great show recently on Blockchain essential to the Fintech revolution where we had a phenomenal line up including Chris Skinner talking his new book ValueWeb, Michael J Casey who authored The Age of Cryptocurrency, and Brock Pierce the chair of the Bitcoin Foundation –
- We’ve had a few episodes where the guests stand out including our pal Robert Scoble, XPrize and Singularity University founder Peter Diamandis and, of course, our interview of Boris Johnson the Mayor of London
- I also think our NYC vs London Fintech debate and the debate between Michael Panowicz, Chris Skinner, Jim Marous and Myself on Who will rule Banking were classic episodes.
What Fintech trends are you excited by?
All of them! Overarching is the incredible progress that we’re making across the board at reframing banking and financial services using technology. I remember the debate just a few years ago as to whether banking was having its Uber moment, or whether Fintech would even impact banks. Today FinTech has already changed the world.
If you take the top 5 banks in the world (ICBC, Wells Fargo, China Construction, JPMC, and Bank of China) they have 550m bank accounts between them, but already the top 3 mobile wallet providers – iTunes, PayPal and AliPay – have between them more than 1.2 Billion account holders. I remember people asking if mobile was really going to change banking and payments, and here we are where mobile wallets outnumber bank accounts 2 to 1.
Then we have over 50 unicorns already in the FinTech space, and while some are predicting a slew of potential unicorn failures after Powa’s recent issues, no one can argue players like LendingClub, Stripe, Square, CreditKarma, Xero, TransferWise, OnDeck, Betterment and others have had no impact on the industry. To argue that FinTech has not changed the world of finance would be ludicrous.
— Brett King (@brettking) December 11, 2015
Citi recently said that FinTech and automation will be responsible for a 30% decline in US and European banking jobs over the next decade. I think that estimate is too conservative, especially when you think of bank tellers, financial advisors, loan officers, etc that are going to be impacted by AI and automation.
One of the things that excites me the most is that between 2015-2025 we’ll bring 2 Billion people at the bottom of the financial inclusion pyramid and in developing markets into banking via their mobile phone – 90% of whom will never visit a bank branch in their life. Their bank will be their phone. That will fundamentally change the way we think about banking.
That isn’t even the most interesting thing that will hit banking in the next 10 years though. AI is going to be even more disruptive. When you think about a future generation Siri or Alexa that acts as an agent for the majority of your commerce, machine-to-machine payments and banking will become quickly ubiquitous. The industry and behavioral data that will feed deep learning algorithms and the advice that will come from those agents, would make a financial advisor of today weep. The thought that in the middle of those sorts of interactions you’d stop, go to a branch and sign a piece of paper to get an extension on your credit card is, well, inconceivable.
If you are a banker and you think all this fuss about AI, mobile, neo-banks, P2P, blockchain and Fintech is much ado about nothing – then my guess is you’ll be a part of that 30% Citi talked about.