As I write this, I am sitting in a wooden half-pipe, in a rather dilapidated looking warehouse, dotted with technicolour furniture, lots of clever looking folks and not a tie in site…it can only mean one thing… I’m at a Web Summit event.
Not in Dublin this time (Web Summit has burst far and beyond the city of its birth), this time we are in Belfast, down by the docks (home of the Titanic and the Delorean car) and it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting for such a cutting-edge conference.
The order of the day is financial technology, that’s ‘FinTech’ to those in-the-know; certainly not my area of expertise, and I must confess to a certain level of apprehension upon arrival this morning. Of course this was terribly misplaced as MoneyConf has all the trademark warmth, informality, quirk, and general good craic of its much larger sister conference.
One cannot help but draw comparisons between the two, and whilst the name and branding are distinctive and unique, it’s impossible to deny that you are indeed attending a Web Summit event; it compares favourably.
If you have ever been to Web Summit you will know well of what I speak…these folks really know how to create events that cater to the new breed of enterprising individual. No drab grey spirals of boredom here; vibrancy, vitality, and fun take centre stage alongside the more traditional aspects of the business conference. All of this makes for an experience that is enjoyable as well as educational, and enlightening.
We will return later in the week with a more detailed commentary on the experience and what we’ve learned but for now, I just want to share one thought with you; something that has really resonated with me as someone who is rather well acquainted with the ‘startup scene’.
THESE ISSUES CONCERN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US
I’m really surprised to be writing those words, but for me that is the message that will stick with me from this conference. Most startups and SMEs who are not directly engaged in the world of Fintech, will understandably assume that such things are well beyond their remit, but that simply isn't the case.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the technology of finance is changing faster than at any other time in history, and that creates not only huge challenges, but incredible opportunities. What’s interesting for you lot, as startups and SMEs is that the possible benefits for you and your business really are significant.
The biggest changes that we have seen in the ‘business community’, is how we sell, buy, secure, transact, and analyse both online and offline; the significance of these, and the opportunities that they continue to bring cannot be overstated. A great many businesses will live and die by the way that they adapt to and exploit the new technologies, and in our opinion, Moneyconf has made a good start at opening up discussions that could help the average business to contemplate their place amongst the din.
They have created a nice space to learn, network, and mull over how the modern startup / SME might seize some of the opportunities that this brave new world of financial technology has opened up to them…or how they might ‘Bank to the future’, if you’ll pardon the expression.