My intent was always to provide a recap of last week’s inaugural Mobile Money Canada conference. I was going to review the event itself, the speakers and even the audience. However much has gotten in the way of doing that for you – even though I feel a certain sense of obligation to provide you with an opinion.
But I am not going to review the event, the speakers or the audience. What I will tell you is that I did not leave the conference with a ‘good’ feeling for mobile financial services in Canada. What’s even worse is that I am not even sure why I have that feeling.
The most important question I wanted insight on was – what’s the holdup in Canada? The real holdup? I was hungry to hear the experts. I was there both as a consumer and as a mobile strategy practitioner. My question was not answered but if I look at the thirteen lessons I walked away with it gives you a pretty good idea as to what the holdup is in Canada. If you want the less cynical recap the link is provided at the end of this post.
Thirteen things I brought back from the conference:
- Be leary of experts… they are usually trying to sell you something.
- Everyone is an expert!
- Don’t trust most of the numbers thrown at you. Be very careful when figures are used and read between the lines. If adoption numbers are not freely offered there is a good chance that adoption is poor.
- Too much time is spent trying to build partnerships and alliances…
- Too little time is spent on understanding the customer!
- Too much time is spent patting ourselves on the back for a mature mobile infrastructure.
- Too little time is spent on understanding why the industry is where it is…
- The carriers claim (and actually appear offended) when it is insinuated they want to own the mobile financial consumer. Why do you get so defensive anyways? The dumb pipe complex perhaps?
- There is much disagreement on the maturity of mobile financial services in Canada.
- Some folks will tell you that mobile financial services in Canada are highly advanced (and they say this with a straight face).
- However, some financial services insiders tell me their clients are not even close to investing in mobility until they feel more comfortable with the market.
- It is hard to know who to believe (since everyone is an expert).
- And for lucky thirteen – don’t believe anyone. If you are buying, do the research yourself.
I walked into the conference thinking that Canadian banks were simply slow or even negligent for not moving faster on mobile financial services. But I walked out understanding that the Canadian ecosystem is complex, filled with misinformation and really much more immature than I thought. So although the banks are moving quite slowly – I can now see that the carriers and the vendors are not helping the situation. What Canadian Banks (BMO, TD, RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC…) need is a mobile strategy. A road map to help them navigate through the fluff, the noise and the hoopla.
I realize that no one is going to make a decision on a vendor after seeing a couple of presentations and hearing a few panels at a conference … and that is a good thing.
A very good thing.
Now don’t get me wrong… Overall I am still very hopeful. The vendors in the room were all very smart and knowledgeable. They are capable of great things and if they ever actually do meaningful work in Canada I am sure it will be great…
But if you read between the lines of what is going on, you turn some rocks and you ask lots of questions – you will probably agree with me.
What am I missing?
Do you disagree with me? Please do…
Please share your thoughts below…
I do want to thank the organizers for allowing me to attend and for pushing the conversation forward. Their summary of the event can be found here. Hopefully they will still invite me next year and may even allow me to be a partner… it’s nice to have different opinions isn’t it?