Bankers And Revolutionaries

“There ain’t a winner in the game / Who don’t go home with all” (Garcia/Hunter, “Jack Straw,” 1971.) Raise your hand if you’re sick of the “fintech innovators vs. incumbent banks” conversation. I’ve been following this debate for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the framing is entirely wrong and the terms involved […]


Today, August 28th, 2015, is the 12th birthday of Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest-ever Oscar nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Happy birthday, Quvenzhané! Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Quvenzhané, Happy Birthday to you! Suppose you were asked to sing this song, solo, at Quvenzhané’s birthday party. But […]

Fintech 2.0: The Copenhagen Model

Fintech firms should get into bed with banks, according to The Fintech 2.0 Paper, published in June 2015 by Santander InnoVentures, Oliver Wyman and Anthemis Group. The authors of the paper suggest that fintechs can only get so far working as industry outsiders: “[R]einventing our industry’s core infrastructure and processes…can succeed only as a collaborative endeavor, […]

I faked my bar-mitzvah. 

The rabbi gave me an audiotape with instructions to memorize my portion. I quickly learned the first five lines of text. The rabbi trusted that with practice, I would learn the rest. On the big day, after exhausting my five-line repertoire, I improvised guttural noises to a Torah-y tune. The rabbi tapped me on the […]

Tuba-X, the Tinder Killer

Tinder, like eBay, finds strangers to take your unwanted junk. Shouldn’t there be a better way? Dating sites profit from recurring revenue, and the incentives follow from there: The best customers are players. Marriage is attrition, slightly ameliorated by positive word-of-mouth. Divorce is a double payday. Imagine a diaper business that wants you to stay in […]

The “Cli-fi” bank shot

Reduce. Reuse. Run for the hills. In August 2008, I started blogging for EcoTech, a IBM-sponsored, TechWeb-produced website that explored environmental-themed business opportunities for banks and insurance companies. From the press release: EcoTech is dedicated to practical applications of green technology and ecologically sound business practices in financial services, with a special focus on reducing […]

Review: Tsunami Reflections

A memoir bearing witness to disaster Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, entombing in ashes the Roman town of Pompeii and preserving a moment in time for almost two millennia now. The obliterating power of a tsunami leaves no such historical traces, save for the stone markers placed along coastlines warning future generations that a […]

The youngest at the Eagles, the oldest at Titus Andronicus

The creaky oldsters in the top rows grudgingly stand to allow me to pass to my seat, pungent quasi-legal herbs in the air, the music already started, 45 minutes into the show, it’s “Desperado.” I’m here because the Eagles permitted their music to stream on Rhapsody starting June 25; because in the early 80s Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) […]