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Archive for October, 2014

  • Loved

“The difficult I’ll do right now. The impossible will take a little while.”

If you don’t read Brain Pickings, you should. And donate a bit as well.

  • Loved

Apple Pay vs. Current C

It’s somewhat amusing to read coverage of Apple Pay while sitting in Sydney. Apple Pay solves a uniquely American problem – cheques and signatures for credit card transactions which result in high fraud levels. Consumer convenience has always been secondary – if it had been a primary concern they would have done this long before now.

Simple an easy payments are something we addressed long-ago down under through a combination of smarter credit cards and apps on phones. Tap-and-go is now familiar and popular.

Seeing alternatives like Current C emerge in the US is interesting in that it addresses another problem unique to that geography (at this stage). And that is the collusion that has occurred between technology and credit card providers to set fees and lock-up transaction processes.

Years ago a really super smart developer said to me that every closed and proprietary system would be met not just by alternatives, but at some a point a powerful and open standard that would crush both. Think Java for payments. I wonder if Samsung could be the company to pioneer that open ecosystem – its current approach to NFC would suggest so.

Suggesting that consumers won’t largely want CurrentC misses the point – its the businesses, big and small, that have to shoulder the cost that will want it. And so long as they market and encourage it, its got a chance. Moreover, any incentive will be automatically applied as they subtract the credit card and Apple tax.

I just wonder if at any point anyone bothered to get on a plane and take a look at what has happened in the Australian and New Zealand markets where competition has driven innovation to outpace the best in Silicon Valley, in turn ultimately benefiting rather than taxing the small businesses that make the economy hum.

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Isn’t That Curious…

Johnny Ive on design… too good…

“Isn’t that curious? Because if you tasted some food that you didn’t think tasted right, you would assume that the food was wrong. But for some reason, it’s part of the human condition that if we struggle to use something, we assume that the problem resides with us.”

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Xero

 

I remember sitting with Rod Drury many years ago at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company chatting about Aftermail and what was, at the time, an idea on paper called Xero. We’ve all come a long way since then — a journey that has involved me advising and consulting to Xero along the way. Today our paths are converging again. 

Group Lark has been working with Xero on advancing their marketing strategy and plotting growth here and abroad. The opportunity is nearly limitless with the majority of small businesses not using any kind of platform to grow on. With the rise of mobile to become the 1st screen we use – and the arrival of beautiful software born in the cloud, that will change. Invoicing, paying employees and suppliers, checking cash-flow – all become activities we do anywhere, anytime, anyplace on Xero. The key here is “accounting” as we knew it goes from being a dedicated task to one we complete in the flow of business – simply and easily. And we then get to collaborate without friction or cost with our advisors. That’s a beautiful thing.

We’ve been a Xero customer for years – we love it. It is elegant, always there, and always getting better.

Come November I’ll be formalising my role with Xero as their Global CMO. We’ll remain in Sydney, a city the family has come to love – and from here I’ll work closely with the Xero teams here, New Zealand, the US and UK. I’ve had plenty of opportunities come my way but few that combine the growth, global scale and maturity of business to allow me to have a real impact.

Group Lark will continue to advise and work with clients as it always has through my journey’s elsewhere. I’m loving my work with the boards of Mighty River Power, SLI, Fronde and Simple – and will continue to make a difference to the fullest extent I can across all of them. 

While it feels like the Xero journey started for me sometime ago, its really just getting going. It’s going to be fun focusing my energy with such a great team on such a large opportunity. 

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