I like direct questions. They get right at the heart of things.
I am truly amazed by all the new offerings in financial services. Its seems there’s a new product or solution announced every day. Fintech innovations aren’t just coming from the non-bank players anymore; the banking industry has stepped up its game. When I read about each new product, I ask myself simply “Whose problem are they trying to solve?”
Surprisingly, its very rarely the customer’s. Most often, it’s the offering company’s own problems. Depending on the business model, it might be the investor’s problems. (I’m speaking about the product design here, not the marketing; the fine print well below the headline.)
Don’t get me wrong: many of these solutions are well-designed. They can do what they’re built to do, and that should be enough for an early-stage company. Can they move beyond that? Getting to scale means adapting their solution to the consumer’s needs, and they may be too far in the development process to reconfigure even if they wanted to.
I don’t want you to think this is only about B2C models, because it’s not. The distinction between B2C and B2B is meaningless here. There is a customer at the end of the line of every business process. No matter how far back in the back office, or deep in the core infrastructure, the B2B solutions that matter are the ones that help businesses better meet the needs of their end users.
Think about it. Any platform can get disintermediated. That’s the “disruptive” in disruptive innovation and its becoming more and more the reality in financial services.
Technologies shift. Systems change. But the customer is always there.
Innovation comes from all directions, but it is not random. The upstarts, the new market entrants that stick around and grow are the ones that meet a customer need.
We’ll get more specific soon, I promise. Case studies to follow. But the customer focus isn’t on a case-by-case basis for Fafnir. It’s our purpose. It’s who we are.
This shouldn’t make us different from the rest. Maybe it does.
So I’ll ask again: whose problem are you solving?