MBFBlog Review: An occasional series of reviews on exhibitions, books, films of interest to MailBigFile clients and readers. This one is on the 2012 book, Welcome to Entrepreneur Country by Julie Meyer.
This is a worthy read for these still dark winter nights if you have a heart for the business future of these British Isles. It is put together by an American, Julie Meyer who chooses to live this side of the Atlantic.
It’s not just about British business, but about how the fundamental societal changes that technology have brought are fundamental and here to stay, heralding a virtual revolution in the British economy.
Inherent Network Effects
She said in Welcome to Entrepreneur Country, ‘the world has gone network, it is no longer linear, hierarchical or top-down’. She claims that technology has created exponential growth because of its ‘inherent network effects’.
We live, according to her in a ‘time of carrots, not stick’; of influence, not control’. The social contract has changed forever, between governments and capitalists, start-ups and corporates. She cites ‘feminine strength’ in the workplace and how so many young people want to set up their own businesses, in which data, digital and technology are the pre-eminent forces.
Britain has always done networks, long before they were a fashionable contemporary buzzword. The English language has been a beneficial oil to lubricate commerce for generations.
She, who has worked with a wide variety of technology companies, says that ‘leveraging networks is how successful entrepreneurs build game-changers’. She feels that in financial services the UK is particularly strong which may surprise many who thought that banking had become the king of the baddies from now till doomsday.
But outside the main banking circles, a revolution is under way with new entrant smaller, leaner, more focussed, even hungry banks are emerging at one end, and non-bank peer-to-peer lending and crowd funding really taking off.
New Kids on the Block
She praises Nutmeg, the online investment manager, with an app that is the most user-friendly that you ‘almost forget you are setting up funds to achieve financial goals’.
The Money Dashboard ‘enables you to have a true picture of your financial position and have all your financial assets in one place’. She says, tellingly, that people are starting to realise that financial services are not an industry. They are a service industry to industry’.
She says that capitalists have always followed ideas and ‘money is really a proxy for trade and relationships’. Oxygen Finance understand that business spend is their biggest corporate asset and ‘turns the back office into a revenue-generating asset’. Their business-to-business trading network ‘may ultimately replace the Visa network by integrating trading and financial services’.
Entrepreneurial and Philanthropic
Meyer says that as the internet enables us ‘to distribute productivity tools, phones being the biggest one, to over 7 billion people on the planet, then money combined with those tools can lift the poor up’.
In a networked world, data is the new gold rush’. She shows how Google has built a multi-billion pound business leveraging our data, even if its anonymised and aggregated (for now). Google modestly claims to organise the world’s information, Meyer says ‘it organises the economics of the world’s information’.
Her really telling point is that despite what many think, the poor do have financial value. Data that reveals how people behave, our transactions and communications ‘could become an important asset that helps the poor establish a value to society’.
If we want to expand world wealth for more to enjoy, we need to ‘think differently, very differently’. She says that financial services reattaching itself to trade, networks driving growth and new asset classes (personal data, your vote and the money you spend directly or indirectly) are ‘emerging in the market place of ideas’.
For Meyer. the UK is uniquely placed to take advantage of the new structural changes, but will we?
For either your birthday or just to inform yourself, check out this well-written treatise.
Welcome to Entrepreneur Country (2012), Julie Meyer
Big Data Is Big News, Big Opportunities and a Big Problem, 30 January 2013
MBF New Service in the ‘Data is King’ Brave New Digital World, 12 December 2012
It’s the Season to Give Away Lots of Valuable Personal Data, 5 December 2012
London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ Provides a Carnival of Good News, 19 November 2012
The World’s Love-Hate Relationship with Google, 23 July 2012
A Hard Day at the Office, 24 April 2012