You know by now I like TV shows, especially to survive long flights like this one when I am not blogging or working or sleeping.
“We are gladiators with a suit” is how each member of the team of Olivia Pope, the hero of Scandal, a US made TV show, define himself. These guys are often doing the groundwork.
They are relentless, they get their hands dirty, they are not afraid to break the rules and they trust each other, often when nobody else believe in their mission (these guys are often called to solve cases no one would take and their leader, beside sleeping and beeing madly in love with the President of the United States, is a true genius in dealing with these apparently unsolvable problems).
Allow me to make a jump back in 2008.
As Gottfried (SWIFT CEO) said in his opening speech at Innotribe at Sibos this year :
when Innotribe started SWIFT Management had no idea what this ‘thing’ was all about.
These are textual words, and despite – of course – being a bit emphasized, they are actually accurate.
FinTech was not even a commonly used word, back then.
Innovation merely existed as a vague concept, no fintech accelerators, no challenges, no Labs…
This is the first Innotribe stand at Sibos in 2009, in Hong Kong, with pictures from the very first Fintech Startups gathering (the Challenge came one year later) – please notice Lazaro Campos, you will see later in this post as well.
PS : notice Kosta and Peter with a suit and an unusual version of Mela 🙂
This is the Innotribe Stand in 2015 in Singapore just beside the SWIFT stand and actually since the very first session using the SWIFT stand as the second scene because the Innotribe stand was too small.
What you see inside is the most beautiful interactive all-round screen I have ever seen, in what I think was the most beautiful place of every Sibos I have ever attended.
We were gladiators.
Now something else…
It is actually the first time I check this. I didn’t know I was in the picture as well.
This is the link of Tranferwise pitch at Sibos 2011 :
Now everyone talks about Transferwise as the greatest example of Fintech Unicorn.
We were gladiators.
This is the article that announces the official opening od Level39, roughly two and a half years ago : it mentions Innotribe as one of their first events.
Now, you would ask, why this rather nostalgic, maybe Innotribe too focused, kind of celebrative and self-celebrative type of post ?
Without making another useless list, I wanted to pay a tribute to the pioneers.
Most of them still around, who believed in this shift from the very beginning, when FinTech had to be explained (still has to, in some context, admittedly), when thinking of a startup working with a bank was in the best case a secret proof of concept in some remote place in the basement, and only ONE bank had a truly structured approach for Innovation and investment : CITI. But just starting.
I had a recent, long overdue, super refreshing catch-up conversation with a true friend, a gladiator as well and we were both observing some of the disappointing consequences of a booming trend : shallowness, irrelevance, lack of content, greed, luckily confined and absolutely not defining the current system, but for someone who has seen the whole story is – lets say – easier to spot and easier to get bothered by.
So this is a gladiator’s celebration.
The beauty of it is that the ones who were there to share these moments and many others I had no time to report here, will read this and smile.
The good news is that the last two hours of this flight literally went away without me noticing anything.
Let me finish with one of my favourite pictures, recently : Lazaro and I at our FinTechStage event, in Barcelona, with a very symbolic black t-shirt convergence.
If you have met Lazaro already, you know why he has all the rights to be in this post.