Volcker 2.0, Boozy Coke & Left out lefties

A week spent mostly on the road. The week started in in NYC, spent time at Charleston, and back to NYC via DC. The screen below was the theme for the week.


While the wait was frustrating, it also gives an opportunity to connect with fellow passengers. One of them happened to be running operations for a large airport mentioned that there were over 100+ changes required (across gates, flight/cleaning/ground crew, catering etc.) every time a flight got delayed. On a related note, here is what is called a Misery Map across the country (the red indicates delayed flights).

misery Map

This week the focus shifts to the upcoming Volcker amendments which will have far reaching impact on the financial services market. We also look at aspects of Design Thinking and it’s presence everywhere. And the usual sections on Blast from the Past, and Quote of the week.

Fed Activity –  Volcker 2.0 a.k.a The Great Deregulation Show Begins…

The great deregulation show is all set to start. Next week the Fed sits to debate on Volcker 2.0 – specifically the two points of concession asked by the banks.a) A clearer definition of what is a prop trade & b) Change the de-facto negative presumption where banks need to provide prop trading did not happen to a scenario where there needs to be evidence of prop trading.

With a corporate lawyer (Clayton) at SEC,  a  business executive (Giancarlo) at CFTC, and now an-ex banker (McWilliams) at the helm at FDIC – a much lighter and simpler Volcker could be in place within the year.  (Source: The Financial Times).

On a related note, stronger than expected jobs data has raised the probability of the Fed going 4/4 on interest rate raise to 36%.

Mass exodus at the C-level continues at CALPERS – After the CIO, it’s the turn of the CFO to leaves Calpers. Other departures include the fixed income head and the PE managing director. After the bad rep Calpers got in 2016, one can’t help but feel nervous for the teachers, the firefighters and all the good guys with their pensions at stake. Here’s to hoping that there is no more bad news on Calpers.

Design Thinking – Everywhere…

If you one of the 5.45 AM on a Monday morning every week flyer, you will understand the frustrating experience getting a cup of coffee at the airport can be. Inevitably, the guy in front of you will order a Chai Latte with extra hot skimmed milk, and 2 pumps of caramel. One such order and the lines stall. So, when I saw the concept of Dunkin Express at Reagan Airport – I was excited by this great example of design thinking. The Dunkin express only sells coffee, iced coffee and cold brew and the lines moves at lightning speed!!!



Spent the airport wait hours leafing through “Defined by Design: The Surprising Power of Hidden Gender, Age and Body Bias in Everyday Products and Places“. I was surprised to see how many of these design biases exist in everyday products. A special call out for what the book refers to as “Left-out Lefties”. I was astounded to read that on an average “lefties” are likely to live 9 years less than right-handed people due to increased health risks that they experience living and working in environments designed for right-handers. Environment design experiments for this week – spending the week as a “leftie”.

Data Science in Banking – The concept of CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) has been around for a while now. But with the improvements in quality of data, and the rapid strides in data science  – it will be interesting to see the customer engagement strategy employed by firms across sectors. An interesting read on data science use cases for banking focused largely on CLTV and customer segmentation.

Blast from the Past

In the last couple of posts, we have been covering technology innovations from the past . We have also been on a little bit of a journey covering interesting facts about specific keys on the keyboard. We looked at the power of the hashtag and the “untyper-backspace” connection last week.

This week – here’s a great example of multi-tasking a.k.a Alt+Tab. Thomas Jefferson used this rotating book stand to consume information and cross reference these across windows books. If you found the rotating book stand fascinating, I would recommend a read around the 8 hottest tech trends in 1776.


Via the senior Ghosh…

My dad has (enthusiastically) volunteered  to send me interesting pieces and references on technology.  As a leading technologist and a voracious reader – I’m excited to have him contribute. Here’s a fascinating article he forwarded – the rise of blogs and opinion pieces has seen an ever increasing set of opinions and predictions. Sometimes it’s fun to step back and go through the bloopers.

Here’s some classics –

2005: “There’s just not that many videos I want to watch” — Steve Chen, CTO and co-founder of YouTube expressing concerns about his company’s long term viability.

2006: “Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.‘” — David Pogue, The New York Times.

Lesson for the week

#1 – Learn resilience from the kids –  My son’s flag football team, the Cyclones suffered their first defeat of the season – unfortunately, the 19-20 defeat came during the finals with the other team making a 2-point conversion with 30 seconds to go. While watching a bunch of kids being in tears is never fun, I am astounded by the strength and resilience kids show. A cheeseburger, an ice cream sundae and a Caps win (yes, the Caps are actually ahead!!) – and my 10 year old was bouncing around – full of beans and ready to take on life. How many of us can shake off a major disappointment in a matter of hours?  When do we lose that ability to re-bound that quickly?

#2 – Don’t be Busy – We had a packed week trying to get a critical system into testing phase. It was an interesting experience watching some of the managers in our teams getting completely engulfed with work and trying to cover gaps in their teams. It got me thinking on the importance of creating a culture where the focus in on delegating outcomes and not activities.  Without that culture being pervasive in an organization, it will continue to be all-hands-to-the-deck every time something goes off schedule. Here’s a good read on the subject.

On a personal note – I am excited by the increase in my fitness levels since I moved to NYC.  The everyday commute, the constant pretense of walking when you are actually running and the hanging onto your allocated 3 inches of a steel rod in the metro (it’s half of that on the PATH trains during peak hours) does help your fitness levels immensely.

…Nowhere in Particular

  • Coke launches it’s first alcoholic drink – on the shelves now in Japan. Can’t wait to try a boozy coke.
  • Starbucks changes it’s “loose” policy of only allowing paying customers to use the bathroom. While the incident at Philadelphia was ghastly, it is encouraging to see a lot of good things came out of it.
  • GitHub is now owned by Microsoft – While one saw an acquisition happening with all the financial troubles at GitHub, can’t help but feel every new innovation, critical software is increasingly in the clutches of the Frightful Five.
  • If you are in NYC, go look up 570 Broome St, New York, NY 10013. This newly constructed building uses NASA technology to use UV rays to trigger off a chemical reaction that not only cleans the building but also air around it. Initial estimates indicate that one such building has the equivalent impact of removing 625 cars from the NYC street.

Movie Review of the Week – Alas, work schedules plotted and schemed against me. I still remain un-Solo. But it is interesting on how many people discuss the movie you have not seen on the NYC transit and loudly…..another week and watching the movie will be an exercise in futility…

Quote of the week

Reminds me to take that long overdue camping trip.


Till next week…..Citius Altius Fortius…

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