Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending time with a mentor of mine, Hannes van Rensburg of Fundamo. Hannes and I share a enthusiasm for innovation that sees mobile fused with financial services at a time in which there is limited full scale business’s to justify the industry’s existence. We will often have discussions that venture into the possibilities and challenges of our chosen field. I thoroughly enjoy these discussions, particularly when the happen at Fundamo HQ in Cape Town. A city that is now close to my heart after developing a personal obsession with their signature wine, the Pinotage.
Relationships like this are rare in the Mobile Financial Services industry, given the relative immaturity of the industry. Thought leaders are usually lightly spread across organizations and usually in competitive situations, such as competing businesses, consultancies or technology vendors. This is a complete contrast to our related industries of either Mobile Telecommunications or Banking, where deep multi-generational maturity provides thought leaders with dozens of options when it comes to industry guidance or visionary discussions. Which leaves us questioning, where pioneers find their inspiration, sound board or mentor in the absence of those with reference experience.
Each thought leader in this space has his personal passion ideas. The ones that manifest over the years into clear visions that eventually the individual feels compelled to act on. Hannes and I love to bounce the latest state of our ideas off each other, as we close pollinate our knowledge in the ongoing pursuit of our visions.
So I’d like to take a few moments to recognize the individuals that have helped shape who I am today. Their contributions to my development have proven time and time again to be invaluable. Firstly with have Lynn Rock, now in 38th year with ANZ Bank in Australia. This is an inspiring woman that started with the bank back when they had to write manual account journals, but has continued to refresh her mind in the ongoing pursuit of excellence. Lynn has seen technology come and go, but continues to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Joseph Seychell, isn’t a always remembered with positivity. But this is a guy that was prepared to challenge the norms of a conservative organization. Joe lead ANZ head first into some crazy thinking such as Monte Carlo risk calculation and consolidated counter party decision making in the highly tense world of financial markets. Joe’s imprint on me continues to shine through, as I challenge an industry to adapt, evolve and extend.
Brad Jones, who I actually first meet during my Seychell days, gave me the gift that changed my life. Absolute trust in my abilities. Brad, I and a few others landed in Cambodia to catch a concept known at the time only as SMS Banking. Something that would later become a business close to my heart, WING Money. One of the first Bank Led Mobile Money businesses in the world, and one that would maintain commitment to a socially responsible agenda around financial inclusion. When we landed on the ground we had nothing, and I mean nothing. We had to find offices, buy computers and hire local staff. We were forced to make it up as we went alone, cause there was no precedence for what we were doing. But I loved every moment of it, it stretch the boundaries of my creative mind. Brad trust in me during this time, built an invincible resolve in me to chase the impossible with a belief that anything was possible. It also gives me great pleasure to see Brad continue in the industry.
Only through continuity in the industry will brilliant minds likes these help drive Mobile Financial Services through it’s decades of immaturity into a thriving main stream market.
Now time to find a bottle of red