Possunt quia posse videntur 

What a week!! The MBA Secondary was in town, met a bunch of old friends and had some engaging conversations around FinTech over beers. It’s fascinating to see the progress in terms of knowledge and perspective that the industry has made. This is a compliment to everyone involved and especially the great folks at MBA like Dan McPheeters (now at Fannie), Justin Wiseman, and Pete Mills. Guess those blockchain and AI drawings in 2016 over napkins at the FourCourts bar did help.

GDPR and Solo are at the theater– OK – I thought I would start with a GDPR joke (yes, there is such a thing). This one is an original (forewarning – not good – just original).

You get Jason-Bourned. You wake up – how do you find out if you are American or European?

Duhh…check your Gmail….if 98% of your emails have the word “privacy”, you’re European. On the other hand, if 98% of your email notifications are from Twitter and have the word “Trump..”….

Just so that we get a sense of how maddening this deluge of GDPR emails can be – I asked one of my friends in the UK for a screenshot of her phone.

GDPR-1

Note – Observe, these have already been moved to that great Database of Irrelevance – Trash…

I promised myself not to be carried away with the Here, There, and Nowhere in Particular tagline for the blog but next week I hope to have the Solo movie review – c’mon it’s only the coolest pilot in the whole galaxy (can’t believe you thought about Poe Dameron – shame!)

Treasury Yield Curve – We have been following the yield movements on the Treasury for the last month. The question that comes to mind is – does the modern global ecosystem of complex networks have too many exogenous factors for Keynsian concepts to work. Just like how ETFs and the light touch now rule the asset management space, is it time to bring a similar (light) touch approach to monetary policy.  A case in point – Japan; monetary policy changes have proved ineffective in bringing inflation down while artificially boosting stock prices.

Here’s the treasury yield curve for the month.  By the way, the decline over the last week can at least be clearly attributed – the Fed’s dovish statements. Worth a mention – the 3.11 on the chart is the highest it’s been since 2011. When was this highest ever – almost 19% in 1981!!

Rates

Tech Circa December, 1977 – While on the blast from past theme, I was thrilled to receive a December 1977 National Geographic magazine (an incredibly thoughtful gift  – since that’s the month this blogger came into existence). While the articles were fun to read, I thought it worthwhile to share a couple of ads. The first one is the BankAmericard migration to VISA (that’s the image on the right). A little financial history on VISA’s origination.

If you have been following this blog, you would remember my piece on the # on your keyboard and the hashtag revolution. Next up – the backspace. I found a fascinating reference to something called the Untyper – which allowed you to connect the “Untyper” cartridge and easily correct a spelling mistake (made presumably through the Typer). Bet you are loving that backspace now!!

combined.png

Can Siri, Echo, Duplex, Marcel and Erica share a Coke together – We at Publicis.Sapient are excited by the launch of the Marcel AI platform developed in partnership with Microsoft . Personally, I’m hoping at some stage to be involved in the testing of Marcel – it could be a game changer in terms of knowledge sharing  and foster greater effectiveness in the skills marketplace. And for an organization like ours with over 80,000 people, collaboration will key.  It was also interesting to read about BoA’s approach to their own AI powered bot – Erica. As a BoA customer, I intend to strike up a conversation with Erica soon.

On an fun note i am hoping to start a project with my son Abir this summer. Our plan is to MacGyver a conversation between a Siri, Echo and a couple of other tools. Should be a fun project – any ideas are welcome!!

“Possunt quia posse videntur”

That inscription on the back of Putney medals  (awarded to boat race winning Oxford blues) means “They can because they think they can”.  It’s truly inspirational and a big part of my philosophy to challenge boundaries each and every day.

I was fortunate to spend time with an incredibly talented group of entrepreneurs at a Tech start up event this week. I met entrepreneurs working on exciting applications of machine learning and AI – cab bookings, golf tee times, facial recognition software and fashion design. Meeting folks who are so incredibly passionate about technology and action their thoughts & beliefs always makes me wonder – are all of us at large organizations becoming too staid in our approach? An evening with these talented doers got me thinking.

And the theme continued at a blockchain session organized by Symmetry. I have always viewed blockchain as a people problem versus a technology problem. I heard a thought during a conversation which really resonated with me – the path to extracting the true value behind Blockchain will be a rocky road since it involves a massive re-allocation of power.  At the tech event, a young entrepreneur equated blockchain as a socialist revolution. While my whole fiscal belief system is based on free market and capitalism – I believe all of us involved in blockchain in any capacity should take great pride in ushering in probably the most important revolution of this century.

While on the topic of blockchain and bitcoins, we continue to closely follow regulatory approach to crypto-currencies. The CFTC just released an advisory around virtual currency derivatives contract. Worth reading.

Tech beyond boundaries – A big part of my mission behind this blog is to explore technology outside of the financial services and North America space.  I am fortunate enough to have a network which allows me to connect individually with talent across the world. Here’s a first attempt – this country has the following contributions to the tech space.

a.  Earliest blockchain adaptors – first country to allow online voting.

b. Developed initial code behind Skype and Kazaa

c. Holds the record for highest tech start ups per person

d. 95% file tax online – takes on an average 5 minutes

…the list is long and the answer is Estonia. Here’s a great article which talk about their success and the need for an extremist approach to to ditching legacy systems thinking and investing in education.

Perspective – A Tale of Two Cities

I have been following Stacey Abrams journey as she won the Georgia’s Democrats nomination for Governor – it’s a huge milestone for the whole country and we all wish her luck at the upcoming elections. However, I could not but reflect and salute the spirit of women like Hanan Abdulrahaman. Hanan is practicing hard and hopes to become the first Saudi woman to get a motorcycle license. Having spent time in Riyadh a decade and a half ago – I’m excited by the progress the country is making. Stacy and Hanan are both already winners – “possunt quia posse videntur” .

Go Caps – finally, we have a team from DC playing for the championship. Next week the Capitals take on the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup. Exciting times for a city which has been starved of sporting glory for so long!!

A special thanks to everyone who shared HTNW with their networks and provided feedback and comments.

Till next week…..Citius Altius Fortius…

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