Let’s face it, if you’ve read me before you’re not here for a cheery, optimistic Christmas’ Eve eve article so no need to get up in arms about the grumpiness.
It’s December and the Twitterverse is alit with two types of things: lists of FinTech influencers of the year and posts on 2017 predictions and even lists of posts of predictions. -Incidentally in my opinion, the one that’s truly worth reading is Jim Marous’ excellent compilation of insight.- Other than that, the only bitter conclusion we can all take from the many articles on trends is that the Future of FinTech is coming! Again.
On the topic of lists though, I considered maybe curating the ones I wrote in the past few years but instead decided to simply repost my initial Who’s who from three years ago as the only one that holds true firmly in the InstaFinTech-ers Inflation of the past few months in my view.
Sadly, when I went to look for it, it was missing. I realised I hadn’t backed it up and it was all gone post NextBank’s rebranding into NextMoney! 20 minutes of panic later I found it thanks to WebAchive’s Way Back Machine! Such is the pace of FinTech one would claim… Or such is its fickle nature. Nonetheless I’ve reproduced it here (not with ease I hasten to add as every Twitter link was now pointing to the WayBackMachine) so you’re welcome y’all, Merry FinTech Xmas!
I can’t believe you’re even here reading this considering the abundance of “Who’s who” articles, blogs and quips out there this year but this is the absolute ultimate guide. At least to me. It’s how I saw them. Personally. And I’ve had it with all these other ultimate guides that are highly subjective! No more. If you are here to find your name on the list and it’s not there, I’m sorry, if it’s any consolation sometimes even the likes of Jim Marous and Chris Skinner find their names missing, hasn’t stopped them.
This is the old guard and the guardians of all that’s holy in FinTech knowledge. They’ve been around from times immemorial, some of them blogging and Twittering from as far back as 2000! I personally “found them here” when I started a few years ago and hey, I’m old guard too now. And they are mandatory. To read and get to know. No excuses.
Chris Skinner @Chris_Skinner
Brett King @brettking
Ron Shevlin @ronshevlin
Bradley Leimer @leimer
Jim Marous @JimMarous
Dave Birch @dgwbirch
Jim Bruene @netbanker
Rob Findlay @robfindlay
JP Nicols @JPNicols
The Newer Kids on the Block
They aren’t new, just slightly newer than the above and on their way to enter the above category. They are young and opinionated and so influential that if you don’t recognise their name and wonder about their stance on this or that you’re doing it wrong.
Some of these are part of some of the other lists in many ways but they are nonetheless what makes up the European contingent (mostly London but hey, we’re the Capital of FinTech so what did you expect?)
Nektarios Liolios @nekliolios
Daniel Gusev @dngusev
Matteo Rizzi @matteorizzi
Conor M Ogle @cmogle
Christophe Langlois @Visible_Banking
Peter Vander Auwera @petervan
Claire Calmejane @ccalmeja
Brad Van Leewuen @bradvanl
Roy Vella @royvella
Elizabeth Lumley @LizLum
Nasir Zubairi @naszub
Andra Sonea @andrasonea
Devie Mohan @devie_mohan
Phil Allen @philballen
Daryl Wilkinson @DarylAndHobbes
The Bankers with the vision
In the last few years I’ve met a handful of visionaries working in banks. Whether their title is digital something or other or online and mobile channels something or other or even CxO (in painfully rare cases) they are the ones whose courage of conviction is much greater than those of us who work on the sidelines pointing in. They made digital banks happen in the last few years and brought what was debated, tested, talked about in this list to consumers. They likely know this list. And read it. Sadly this is an all-to-short section. There are at least another 8 names that are sadly just Twitter-stalkers because of inane bank-policies against joining in the dialogue.
Many more on the American contingent are bankers. That’s a good sign. And their chatter around big events like Next Bank or Finovate or Money2020 or SIBOS is often all you need to know how that went, if the usual innovation curb means this year “innovation” in FinTech meant very light shades of pink lipstick applied on pre-existent pigs or great big new ideas and a hint of how to execute them will shake things up.
Not surprisingly this list is extensive, more so than it shows here and the intersection with the above are vast. Australia and Asia have so much thought brewing that the healthy dialogue is only natural. And honest. And very fresh.
The (Too) Silent Mega Influencers
The Why-Have-they-(kinda)-Shut-up Guard
If you see these guys for a beer remind them to Tweet, if you’re their employer, give them time to tweet, read them and reward them. They’re not out, they still occasionally post and I’m sure they’re still reading it all but it’s not “like the old days”. There are some names above that have stopped being as active as us all in the industry need them, as well, and the reasons are many but they are not excused and could still use the nudge.
This list is Twitter and some of these thinkers (in particular the Titans) blog religiously. Reading those should be first priority.
This list has intersections. Many. It’s the beauty of it to a degree. Europeans who are titans, A-Pac-ers who are bankers, analysts who become bankers, bankers who join the lighter (sic) side, thinkers who become executers and doers who become preachers. It’s all in how fluid our industry is and in a year’s time if anyone stumbles across it many of those categories won’t hold true but the fact that they were all part of shaping this will.
In a speech recently in Canary Wharf, Georg Osborne the Chancellor of the UK was talking about all hands on deck and what is it that we need to make us the real epicentre of FinTech. To know this list. To grow it if we have solid reason. To nudge and ask them. Constantly.To have them engaged if not in mentorship roles if we can’t manage that then at least in dialogue. Their opinions rolling will power the engine to make this happen, not stiff governmental policies no one will even know about. Get the new guard of innovators and entrepreneurs reading them religiously and they’ll understand more about the industry as it’s been shaped in the last few years and where it’s heading than reading 100 reports and attending 50 stiff courses or conferences.
This list’s combined IQ could power a mid-sized town for years and they know and get FinTech so intimately, that if we were to fire all bank’s Digital Heads in the world, have these guys in charge, give them absolute power and a debatably-big bucket of money we’d have so much awesomeness reach each and every of us consumers in about a year’s time that we would send our bank a basket of fruit every month.