Reflecting on my evening with the Financial Services Club in London
28th May 2018
Last week, I had the opportunity to fly to London to give a presentation to The Financial Services Club. This was made possible by Chris Skinner — author of over a dozen books, including his most recent accomplishment, “Digital Human — The Fourth Revolution of Humanity Includes Everyone” which has been well received both critically and commercially. Chris reached out to us on Twitter initially, which then spiraled into a more general conversation that ended with me agreeing to present to a group of FSC members.
The Financial Services Club bills itself as, “The number ONE networking group for senior executives in financial services in Europe” and has chapters in England, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Norway, Sweden and Austria. From my experience that night, I can certainly confirm that if one was interested in networking opportunities in the financial services sector, then I would think the assembled talent that I saw would be very appealing indeed.
I spoke to a selection of FSC members at the historic Painter’s Hall in London. As an American, it is always impressive to be able to walk through halls that are older than my country, and it was truly pleasant to be able to have a thoughtful, thorough discussion about forward-looking tech in the midst of such storied history.
Part of the appeal of such gatherings is that there is an element of intimacy and privacy attached to them — as such I will not be divulging any personal details of any of the attendees, and will instead keep things more circumspect as it relates to the members of The Financial Services Club. They were kind enough to invite me into their space, so I will try to respect theirs.
The evening was structured fairly normally, with a brief informal period for introductions and drinks in an adjacent room, followed by moving into the main hall for the presentation, Questions & Answers, and then moving back to the adjacent room for more conversation and drinking for about an hour. My presentation took a little under an hour, with another half hour or so being used for Q&A.
Both the host and chair for the evening were extremely gracious in introducing me both to many of the members in attendance, as well as before my presentation. By the quality and quantity of questions and comments following the presentation, I believe it was a success. Certainly, vigorous applause is something one likes to receive at the end of talks. However, while applause is a sign of a good talk, engaged and attentive audience members asking quality questions during the Q&A is the hallmark of a great one. Some questions were more challenging than others, but all that revealed was the amount of knowledge assembled in the room, as well as what active listeners the FSC members were.
Generally it is a good sign when there is so much post-presentation conversation as to run over the allotted commingling time. I ended up heading to a pub with 4–5 of the attendees after the event, where we continued a more general discussion of Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and where both are headed for the next few hours over a few rounds of drinks.
One of the things I have been most fortunate to experience in my time with QRL is such a diversity of audiences for my presentations/talks. The perspectives of blockchain developers, family office managers, exposition hopefuls, conference attendees and in this case of FSC — current and former executives in the financial services industry, some of which had taken a career pivot into the tech sphere.
I am a firm believer that anyone stuck in an echo chamber loses their sense of perspective. It is always important to remember that one of the strengths of cryptocurrency and blockchain is that these technologies appeal to many different people on many different levels, but it can be easy to lose sight of that.
Blockchain is not one thing, and it is not even necessarily one thing primarily. Blockchain is many things, to many people, and one of the most important things I have learned in this space is that the only way to learn what it is Blockchain means to all these diverse subsets of people is to go out and meet them, talk with them, and hear their perspectives.
I can honestly say that my evening in London with the Financial Services Club has been one of the most unique, and interesting, experiences I have had in this space. It provided me with opinions and points of view that I (and I would imagine, most people) do not often hear in person, articulated by people with the knowledge and experience to leave no doubt as to the sincerity of their words.
Thank you to The Financial Services Club, Thank you to Painter’s Hall, and Thank you to Chris Skinner for making this all possible.
Second Half of 2018
As I mentioned in my last blog, we at QRL are still figuring out what our conference attendance will look like for the second half of 2018. Got a conference worth attending? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to have a preliminary internal list of conferences produced within the next week or so, with outreach occurring immediately afterward. Securing sponsorships and the like can take time, but stay tuned, we should hopefully have that settled in a month or so.
28th May 2018