Archive for July, 2013

Just What Do You Do, Exactly?!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

So ask the members of my family and, from time to time, colleagues at work.

Below is an actual customer presentation. This attractive, modern format developed to assist simultaneous translators – Turkish and Portuguese. At least, it’s not PowerPoint?

My job is to help executives see their customers in new ways as these customers are affected and influenced by the evolving capabilities of the Internet. I try to begin by reminding them that the Internet is less than 20 years old. In essence, we’re driving carriages powered by steam engines, an automobile of circa 1913.


1. Knowledge is no longer Power… As Everybody Knows.

This has been the promise and the accelerating capability of the Internet since its beginning.

Your opportunity is to help them to know.

2. In a time of multi- dimensional change, customers are changing also. Not just using Facebook and Twitter and taking photographs of every event In their lives, but also how they are trained & educated; how they manage their health; how they manage their financial futures. Coursera for online education. 3,000 medical apps in Apple AppStore.

Millennials, born in 1980s and 1990s, are a significant part of the workforce now and will inherit a significant % of the wealth over the next 15 years. They expect to participate well beyond believing what they are told. AirBnBcom, for example, which ‘sells’ 200,000 rooms per night! If people are willing to trust their personal privacy and security in such physical environments organized over the web around the world, is it much of a stretch to imagine them managing finances in a similar way?

3. In an era of limited organic growth, profit making opportunities exist to do more with existing clients.

But we must see them differently and respond to their needs more precisely. Such insight requires more than a unified channel strategy or observing their click-stream behaviors.

4. Everything is mobile, well beyond the smartphone device. However, billions of smartphones to new users will be sold over the next 5- 7 years as there are 7B of us with 1.5B smartphones in circulation. It’s not too late for that killer app idea.

The Internet’s next generation of application will return to its original intent: not sending emails or photos, but machines, also known as sensors, will intercommunicate. This is the promise of Big Data. Also called the Internet of Things.

5. The manufacturing model of 1,000 years is changing. With the advent of 3D printers and the adoption of Google and Apple technologies in manufacturing processes, goods will be produced close to where they are consumed. Good for fans.

6. It’s not What You Do, It’s Why You Do It.

For example from a favorite Swedish bank: ‘we believe that clients are the best managers of their financial futures; we will provide them the tools to manage their financial futures.’

7. USAA in San Antonio, Texas. Top 125 US company; full service banking and insurance; specialized customer base (US servicemen and their families). Consistently rated amongst best in customer service; twice ranked #1 ahead of Ritz Carlton Hotel. No branch network. Superior mobile portfolio.

Other examples are VanCity in Vancouver and Umpqua Bank in Portland, Oregon. Both have a personality and do not try to be all things to all customers all of the time.

8. When you visit the Apple Store(s) :), the one nearby on 5th Avenue is the most photographed property in Manhattan surpassing the Statue of Liberty! Highest sales per square foot of any retail store – anywhere. Sells 5 products!

If time permits, visit the Apple Store in Grand Central Station where what actually occurs in an Apple Store is more obvious. Answer at the back of the book= they are Learning Environments, not transaction environments.

9. Finovate Conference. New York in September and London in February. 64 start-ups demonstrate in a maximum of 7 minutes each their ideas for changing banking. One founder of PayPal presented in Feb 2013 in London.

10. Recommend that you follow Chris Skinner’s Financial Services Club blog.
Based in London. Superior insight into trends and issues affecting major banks.

Recent KPMG 2013 Internet

50 good bank websites


William H. Marsh 28th North Carolina Infantry Company A

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

He fought at Gettysburg. Wounded, captured and paroled (eventually). Listed here.

Today is the 150th anniversary of Pickett’s Charge about which much continues to be written. Despite the valor of the defeated, better for the country was this victory of the Union’s forces. In large events, small incidents matter.

William survived the War; married several times; participated in Veteran’s parades in uniform through the early 1930s. He died peacefully on the North Carolina-Virginia border near Mount Airy and Galax.

Much could have and would have been different had that battle and that war turned towards different outcomes. July 4th is celebrated primarily and properly as the birth of the American nation. It gives me great pause when I consider that had William Marsh suffered a mortal wound in that bowl of pasture between Seminary and Cemetery Ridges on that afternoon of 3 July 1863 that the immediate heirs of his, including his granddaughter, her daughter (my wife) and our seventeen year old son, would not have come into this world and my life as I know them.


(clicking on map will enlarge it)