If there is anything I hate more than cell phones, it's money.
I mean, of course everybody likes money, but seriously, who wants to actually deal with it? Going to the bank, cutting checks to the landlord, saving receipts, budgeting, negotiating salaries, calculating the tip, trying to find stuff on sale, thinking about taxes ... man, I have so many more interesting things to do. It's all just exhausting, if you ask me.
But. As usual. I'm griping.
Imagine a world without access to banks and the services they provide - baseline services such as credit, money transfers, savings. For many of the world's poor this is the everyday reality and it's a space where in part due to the spread of mobile telephony there are disruptions and innovations.- Jan Chipchase
So, ok, reality check. When it comes down to it: A) Thank Allah I've got enough to live on and B) Thank Jesus that I have some sort of infrastructure to deal with it in the first place. As in — literally — I'm thankful that I have a bank, and receipts and all that crufty stuff that makes it all actually work.
Because a hell of a lot of people don't.
Here's Chipchase on it earlier this week: "Imagine a world without access to banks and the services they provide - baseline services such as credit, money transfers, savings. For many of the world's poor this is the everyday reality and it's a space where in part due to the spread of mobile telephony there are disruptions and innovations."
And, Hey! Look! there they go again, those damned Cellphones! :)
Since this money stuff seems to have some potential influence on the future (who knew!), I'm actually really excited to be heading to BarCampBank San Francisco next weekend, to talk about cell phones and money. With a bunch of finance geeks. The point of this unconference is to dig into some of the newest, craziest ideas in finance technology, to "foster innovations and the creation of new business models in the world of banking and finance."
I'm hoping for some discussions about peer-to-peer lending a long with a bunch of talk about the future of mobile currency exchange. In general I'm hoping that there are some folks there who really grok the reality that mobile phones are the most important platform for application development in the developing world.
In this context, I don't care about iPhones, I don't care about web apps; I'm talking about paying your rent via SMS. I'm talking about currencies and payment methods that aren't defined by a government or even a bank!
Or something. This stuff is all so crazy I get the feeling nobody really knows what's obviously essential vs. obviously stupid as hell.
Anyway, I hope it will be a good conference that gets to some of the more important ICT4D issues. You really never know with unconferences. If we all want to talk about Baudrillard and Obama, that's what we'll do. (They're exciting that way. Who knows, maybe I'll lead a session on user-centered design, like I know anything. It would be better than the Baudrillard and Obama session at least.)
Here's to some exciting innovation at BarCampBank on Saturday ... maybe I'll see you there.