SXSW Day 2

originally posted on Concept Hub

Yesterday was an incredibly full day. It started with breakfast at the hotel with a couple of new friends. People are here from all over the world. I have met people from Norway, France, and Nebraska…

The first two presentations I attended were on a Financial track. The title of the first one was Dawn of Data: Future of Consumer Lending. Based on the description I thought it was going to be about how lending is going to take into consideration much more than your Credit Score and Cash Flow when making lending decisions, especially considering the amount of information that is now available about each one of us. IT ended up being more about start-ups who are providing alternative solutions to predatory lending, not so much a technical presentation

It was a good talk however. Ryan Gilbert, on the left has a business called Billfloat which provides short term solutions to people who need a little extra time  to pay their bills. He mentioned that he would like to extend the life of his customers by graduating them  from living paycheck to paycheck to more money management solutions.

Dana Mauriello was definitely my favorite on the panel. She was sharp. Her company Profounder sounds like localized micro-financing for start ups where the community acts as your board of advisors. It is people like her that will get cities like Detroit moving again. Via Google I found her TEDxGotham  video which you should check out.

Douglas Merrill from Zest Cash seems to offer short term loans at reasonable interest rates and with a bit of relationship building to help their customers make good on the loan.

Ryan and Douglas’ idea made me think that they are or could be offering a much more idealistic service which is to educate their customers on money management and wealth creation. I asked the question if they were doing that or if they were partnering with a nonprofit to help in that area. The answer I got made me think they were thinking, where is the capitalistic value in that? *Sigh*

The next panel was entertaining.You have here from Left to Right Bob Weinschenk from SmartyPig, Anne O’Brien from CitiBank, Joshua Reich from Bank Simple, Rob Garcia from Lending Club and moderating was Brett King from Bank 2.0. The session was titled Banks: Innovate or Die, and I guess with a title like that the representative of the bank might be put on the defensive. And boy was she!!!

I wish I could tell you what the companies of the other panelist did, but the whole conversation was dominated by Anne stressing why start-ups are not a threat to banks. Each sentence, however, she only proved the point that there was lots of opportunities for start ups. Overall the presentation was well produced and I did get to take lots of notes and send out a lot of tweets.

My favorite presentation of the day was Reality is Broken:Why Games Make US Better by Jane McGonigal. Within 10 minutes of the presentation she organized a massive multi-player thumb wrestling match.Her TED presentation is here and definitely worth checking out.

I lost.

I went back to my hotel to re-group and then decided to check out the party scene. I caught a cab with a SXSWer who had just arrived to the city and on the way into town we discovered that we both lived in ATL. We skipped the party scene and had Margaritas  and enchiladas at a restaurant she was familiar with. One thing about SXSW, even if you come by yourself, you never have to dine alone.

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