I attended Finovate Spring in San Francisco

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

I still love San Francisco and evermore so. The notion of “another time, another chance” even though I had a time and a chance as this city was my first duty station in the Navy. Imagine the Era pre-PC, pre-Apple, pre-Google Maps! The biggest change that I detect is that Market Street and the now chic SoMA, South of Market (Street), was then the border between reward and risk. Back then an apartment on Telegraph Hill went for $350; and a house in Oakland rented for $275. That’s right. All pre-Internet.

I enjoy Finovate for numerous reasons and did so before my wife’s studio received the chance to design an app for the Conference. The venues are interesting and stimulating: a former fish market in London and a furniture market in San Francisco (SoMa). The foods are varied and delicious: Seattle coffee; fresh pastries; healthy snacks; many kinds of beverages; and a long networking cocktail hour.

The purpose of Finovate is to introduce new ideas in finance. Attendees represent the 72 presenting companies, a healthy mix of investment types and a sprinkling of larger firms who might adopt these new ideas. The best part of the venue is that presenters are only permitted to demo; they are not allowed to show slides or chart-ware. What a relief! And each presenter is permitted a maximum of 7 minutes to excite the audience.

Having attended four Finovates, I look for patterns and new concepts. A great gulf exists between the concepts of the start-up companies and the assurances of performance required by the large financial enterprise. I suggest to my own banking clients that Finovate is worth attending even if the following rule of mine is accurate: 30{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} of the ideas are uninspiring; 30{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} could be achieved within 180 days by nearly any firm with a competent technical department; 30{915b2618a7c304f461205894c34b2284541042d3c677679407e2f30838792dcd} of the ideas intrigue and cause one to wonder what what might be the consequences if that idea took hold.

In a separate post, I’ll sort the presenters and ideas with my own commentary.