This week we visited STHLM Tech Fest which was held at Stockholm Waterfront Congress. It was a full day of presentations by companies such as Google, Volvo Car Mobility, Uber, Stripe and Salesforce focusing on different topics ranging from machine learning to gender parity in the tech industry. In other words, it was truly an interesting and inspiring day.
The topic shifted towards payments in the afternoon when we got to hear a presentation by Adyen's co-founder and CCO, Roelant Prins where he talked about the reasons of the success behind the company.
These key points are:
- We build to benefit all merchants (not just one)
- We include different people to sharpen our ideas
- We launch fast and iterate
- We make good choices to build an ethical business and drive sustainable growth for our merchants
- We don’t hide behind email, instead we pick up the phone
- We talk straight without being rude
- Winning is more important than ego; we work as a team - across cultures and time zones
- We create our own path and won’t be slowed down by “stewards”
After his presentation, it was time for a panel discussion focusing on the future of finance with Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of Klarna, Jacob de Geer, co-founder and CEO of iZettle, Birgitte Bonnesen, CEO of Swedbank and Roelant Prins, co-founder and CCO of Adyen.
Amongst different things, the panel discussed what impact a cash-free society would have and how we could make sure people don't get left behind. They all agreed on the importance of being inclusive in the technological advancements and not expect everyone to adopt that easily. The industry needs to educate and take responsibility for the people who are not used to these changes. Also, there are a lot of skeptics that just do not want all their spendings to be able to be traced. Sebastian Siemiatkowski joked that cryptocurrencies will solve this problem.
Some benefits of a cash-free society are:
- Expanded Security of Funds
- Diminished Illegal Cash-Based Activity
- More Efficient Processing of Transactions
- Expanded Public Spending
On the agenda was also discussions about banks vs. FinTechs where Siemiatowski revealed that EU's competition authority made a raid towards several big banks who were suspected of having obstructed competition when PSD2 was being put in place. He said that the reason for bringing this up is because the banks' resistance to sharing data is hurting the consumer. As competition increases, prices will get lower which will be beneficial for consumers but not to banks, who of course are not happy about this.
He also got a question about his thoughts on Blockchain. He responded that he feels that it is most beneficial for mafia bosses and that he will not jump onto the train before he sees how it will benefit his mother.