Your background briefly?
I have been in the traditional financial technology space for over a decade doing various roles in firms like Goldman Sachs, Ericsson, IBM and SunTec, and in the disruptive fintech space for about 3 years. I am glad I was around before the fintech hype started in 2015 – I had the opportunity to get involved with several brilliant fintech startups early on, and write about the early trends.
In the past couple of years, I have been analysing the fintech space, writing about it, advising fintech startups on marketing strategies and providing research to all parties in the fintech ecosystem. I worked with traditional banks, challenger banks, traditional vendors, fintech startups and investors in the process. Recently, I have converted from being a short-termer to a full-timer at Thomson Reuters and am currently supporting the creation of their fintech proposition and heading proposition marketing globally for fintech and open platforms.
— Devie Mohan (@devie_mohan) February 17, 2016
How did you end up doing what you do now?
My current role at Thomson Reuters came about because I was eating, drinking and breathing fintech in all my free hours outside of my Enterprise role at the firm. It just made sense to do it as a proper full-time role I guess!
And I wanted to implement all the “theories” and abstract trends of fintech in a real corporate environment, and view the impact myself – I am more passionate about bringing in tangible change in the industry and measuring the impact through the lens of one of the largest players in the space, rather than being an influencer on paper.
How do you balance all your interests / activities?
My interests are very fortunately aligned with what I do in the fintech world.
I absolutely love travelling, and my speaking engagements take me to some interesting parts of the world. I sometimes take a day or two after my speaking session to see that part of the world. I am headed to events at Nairobi and Tel Aviv next, both cities I have wanted to visit for a long time..
Writing is another thing I enjoy doing and I am fortunate to write for some of the most visible blogs/websites in the fintech world.
— Devie Mohan (@devie_mohan) April 19, 2016
How do you decide on what to write about?
I usually write to provide clarity to a trend or new business model in the fintech space when there is too much noise around it. I like to provide a clear, simplified path to the future, so that it actually helps fintech startups, banks and regulators reading it. A lot of people use blogs as a channel for thoughts; for me, it is a channel for the data and research I would have done on a particular topic over a period of time.
In the wider banking / innovation / fintech world, what are you excited about?
I am excited about the impact fintech, and a focus on innovation in general, have had on the financial services industry. I am more concerned than excited as I write this today though – I think the authentic voice of innovation is becoming increasingly lost and the high deal values we see are not justifiable in the wrong run. A focus on innovation is sustainable though – if one major perceptible change comes about thanks to the fintech revolution, we would have achieved what we set out to do.
Can traditional banks successfully innovate to deal with the rise of FinTech banking disrupters?
Of course! It is just a matter of time. Traditional banks have several advantages – a huge collection of customer data (including their grandparents’ data!), understanding of regulations and above all, trust. They just need to cross that barrier of faster innovation and they can do wonders. Innovating faster than new, agile fintech startups every step of the way is no easy feat though.
If you could make everyone in Banking do what you told them, what would you command them to do?
I would command them to let bankers use social media and do public speaking more. Opening up with your own insights is the best way to invite conversation, collaboration and thus faster innovation.
— Devie Mohan (@devie_mohan) April 16, 2016
Which thought leaders do you like to read / follow?
I love fintech pieces from Pascal Bouvier, Bernard Lunn and Huy Nguyen Trieu. Outside of fintech, I love Shane Parrish’s newsletter and Seth Godin’s blog.
How do you manage online / offline, work/life challenges?
I think in the past couple of years, my online and offline worlds have come together. I have met a lot of my twitter/blog friends in real life and we collaborate on several things.
However, I am a big fan of compartmentalising my work and personal lives – I have clear times of day to do my different activities.. early mornings for fintech writing/preparing for speaking engagements plus going to the gym, daytimes for TR work, evenings for time with my son and late evenings for catching up on leftover work.
I also keep my social media lives separate – Linkedin and Twitter are for fintech, Facebook is for family and Instagram is for travel. If any of these separate worlds collided, my brain would explode!
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?
I must apologise for using the word “innovation” so many times in the interview 🙂