Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter

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Detroit, USA

Friends & Colleagues,

SCOJ #106. What a week. Detroit. New York. Detroit. Burlington. Detroit. Several months ago I had committed to speak at the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards in NY. Benzinga is the go-to place for tech market commentary and insight. Presented in a fun and entertaining way, Benzinga is also writing and producing podcasts on fintech and cryptocurrency. Check them out here. As other responsibilities popped up, I ended up with two weeks of travel. Next week I’ll be NYC for MBA’s Secondary conference. Looking forward to connecting with friends and meeting with some world class companies.

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Fireside Chat at Benzinga’s Global Fintech Awards

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This week I also hosted the second Answer Well session. I enjoyed walking through a variety of topics including mindset and how to approach key decisions. For instance, to the best of my ability, I try to “firewalk” certain lessons which simply means trying to learn the lesson from others instead of having to make the mistake myself first. It was excited to spend over 5 with this group and learn how each individual tackles these important choices.

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I was also lucky enough to be included in the Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) Cybersecurity Roundtable. I moderated a panel discussion of cybersecurity insurance and risk management. It was a great experience and really valuable day. The event began with lunch with the Governor of Vermont including a bill signing (my first in person bill signing experience) and Q&A with Robert Cook the CEO of FINRA, the broker-dealer regulator.

Throughout the day we heard from regulators and practioners alike. Here were a few highlights I wrote down:

The SEC representation classified cyber threats as “uglier than most people imagine.” It was an interesting comment, not unheard of in a room where everyone’s focus is risks and how to manage risks, but the implication is that it’s not just consumer data but corporate espionage that also exists. The dark web is as a much a market for consumer data as it is a market for intel on corporate activity as well, though the latter gets far less attention.

Another valuable insight that I think we all know, but don’t want to admit, is that “there is no resource or organization to hire” that can simply and easily handle cyber threats. In other words, you can be the CEO of the wealthiest Fortune 100 companies and there still isn’t the one-stop shop or solution for this threat. It’s really time-consuming and expensive to do this right at any size or any price point.

Lastly, I’d highlight some of what the FBI agent mentioned. She deals with cyber threats all day every day and concluded that “the #1 threat to financial institutions today is spearphishing.” Spearphising is the practice of sending fraudulent and spoof emails to a company’s employees seeking to deploy malware or ransomware or some other form of monitoring or intrusion software as soon as someone clicks on the otherwise legit looking email.

What do you do?

1. Stay dynamic and continue to evolve with the threats

2. Train, train and train your humans

3. Email monitoring and email protection type software

4. System segmentation (where it’s not easy to get from the system that opens/operates email to the systems that house key data).

The big takeaway form the entire day, however, was that everyone is under the same level of threat and everyone is in the same boat. There are no easy answers and no inexpensive solutions. Financial services companies, in particular, must remain active, vigilant and aggressive to protect ourselves and our customers.

A big thank you to Commissioner Pieciak and VT DFR for the great day.

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Leaving Vermont before the sun came up…

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This came in from Brian Thompson at the Thompson Agency. The Thompson Agency is rolling out ID Theft Protection and ID Fraud prevention policies, programs and techniques for companies of all shapes and sizes. Check out these incredible stats.

Equifax Hack: By the Numbers

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Thompson Agency

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Future of work: I like to write about the future of work and, in particular, how technology is changing how we work. Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, writes “This is the upside to automation that no one talks about: It has the potential to make the future of work more creative.” Here are the lessons of creative capacity:

1. Bursts of intense effort are the most effective

2. Be curious

3. Be adaptable

4. Abolish hierarchy

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Next Belt: Detroit continues to grow and evolve. The design for the East Riverfront on the Detroit Riverwalk continues to make headlines. Read here how NextCity views this NextBelt proposal.

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“To begin, begin.” — William Wordsworth. This is a great sentiment because it requires action, it requires activity. It leaves no room for excuses.

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Detroit in the Spring

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The future is here: And it is a bicycle. According to Wired, “bike sharing has unlocked a ton of American interest in navigating cities on a bike: Usage has grown from 320,000 rides in 2010 to 28 million in 2016.” Here in Detroit, we have MoGo which has stations throughout downtown and other neighborhoods in Detroit. The red bikes have become ubiquitous especially as we experience ever improving weather. Biking is key for the “last mile” concept in urban transportation. How do major cities or populations centers get commuters that last mile (or last stretch) to their office door? A commuter train will often drop passengers at the central station requiring an additional subway, metro, tram or walk to the office. Parking garages may be convenient for the final parking location but cars do not offer a solution to the rest of the commute.

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Valuable lessons about learning lessons: In this article from Chief Learning Officer, the author looks at how learning is changing and how emerging technologies are contributing. One stat that caught my attention, “Consider the technologies we already use regularly — voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant may be available in 55 percent of homes by 2022, providing instant, seamless access to information we need on the spot.”

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A Detroit classic

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Have you ever wanted to have a lucid dream? The idea that you can be aware you are dreaming while dreaming and remain in the dream. I read a fascinating explanation of how it works and how you can train yourself to become aware of the dream. This article is part explanation, part science and part how-to. For instance, “the most important factor was being able to complete the technique and then go back to sleep quickly. In fact, it proved almost twice as effective when people fell asleep within five minutes after setting their intention.” The alarm was set for 5 hours after you fall asleep and the intention is repeating “next time I’m dreaming, I’ll know I’m dreaming.” Anyone going to give it a shot?

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Fasting for 24 hours from time to time may speed up metabolism and aid in cell regeneration. Metabolism helps with sustained weight loss and cell regeneration can ward off cancer before it begins. (Yeah, but is it worth it?)

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Hungry yet? Call this the sriracha lesson. The things we love can still hurt us.

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Today’s thought: 2 questions that will help you decide when to pivot or when to quit: is this still working and do I still believe in it? We all have to decide when to change course. It is often hard to know exactly when something isn’t working. It may not be working because you or your company are right on the brink of discovery. I’ve written before that “being first and being wrong feel the same.” It is hard to know the difference. Nevertheless, it is critical to understand what you are using to measure success and how close you may be. Is this working and do I still believe — will help get the self-examination started and that’s the key to beginning the evaluation process.

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Quote: “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” — Margaret Thatcher

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Bonus Content: This is just a really interesting article on fingerprints.

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The only carry on you need leaving Vermont.

Continued success and continue to answer well,

Written by

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well.

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