I just returned from the 2019 NRF (National Retail Federation) conference in New York. It’s a gathering of about 38,000 people at the Javits center, and if you’re at all interested in the things that make retail work, it’s where you need to be in January. Every type of business that supports retail is present and in force. Here are some of my observations from my few days in retail land:
FinovateFall 2018 is upon us, and it’s fitting that it’s happening in New York City, the center of the universe for many things; certainly this week it’s the center of the fintech universe. More than 80 companies will have seven minutes to show how they can improve the space and move the industry forward. Beyond the individual demos, the collection of presenting companies paints a picture of where the world of financial services is headed and who is going to lead in the future. For those of us figuring out trends and the future evolution of the space, it’s perfect.
I had the opportunity to moderate a panel for the Digital Money Forum, an all-day session that is part of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), this week in Las Vegas. Attending CES was a bucket-list thing for me, so I was really excited to be able to attend, and the experience was absolutely worth it. This show is huge—180,000 people were there. For those of you who think Money 2020 is a big deal, it attracts about 10,000 people. Think of about 180,000 people trying to get a cab at the same time or a coffee at Starbucks, and you can get a sense of what it’s like.
We’re one month into our experience with the Amazon Echo, the voice-activated device that accesses music, information, and pretty much anything else on the web. There have been a lot of proclamations of “game changer” made around the Echo, and based on our experience, those proclamations are correct. It’s a game changer, possibly a life changer.