Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm
Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm

Good at maths? (For my American relatives, colleagues and readers, “Are you good at math?”) If you are, then the latest crowdsourcing industry might be lucrative for you… hedge funds.

Websites such as Quantopian, Numerai and Quantiacs allow anyone to create algorithms to make hedge funds more successful. When I say anyone, you’d need to be pretty good at maths and the Python programming language before even starting. Continue reading Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede
If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede

There is a trend for financial and retail companies to offer additional benefits at the checkout – whether it’s spreading payments for large purchases, insurance or charity donations. Some banks are offering ‘save the small change’ functionality, rounding the purchase up to the nearest dollar or pound and putting that change into a holding account.

I know a few people who collect small change (or a particular coin). Every day they put it in a jar, then at the end of the year they donate it to charity or buy themselves a gift. This is obviously harder to do with electronic payments at the moment.

With new challenger banking apps appearing on users’ smartphones, retail banks are starting to offer their customers value added services at the point of payment. Continue reading I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

The Garmin Forerunner 235. I wish I had as many hairs on my head as my arms. Nice watch though.
I wish I had as many hairs on my head as on my arms. Nice watch though.

After months of stating that I won’t get a smart watch, I’ve gone and bought one. Sort of. And I’m delighted with it. It’s the Garmin Forerunner 235.

I’ve been preparing to run a marathon since the start of 2016. During training my mile paces (timings) were all over the place. During a half marathon in May, someone suggested I get a GPS based running watch to keep my paces consistent.

After a little research I realised the decent ones are well over £200 and I didn’t want to spend that much. I found a way to get a 50% discount on the specific watch I wanted, the Garmin Forerunner 235, and now I’m hooked – not just on the running features. Continue reading Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

Designing Self-Service From the Start

PremierInn Check In email - a good example of customer self-service
Premier Inn Check In email – a good example of customer self-service

One of the features of “a digital project”, is that the end user can become self-sufficient without needing to call the organisation offering the service or product. We call this self-service.

The first Internet services had a thin veil of self-service features, enabling companies to experience the cost savings of letting users perform common tasks.

Once this Return On Investment was proven, one of two things happened. Many organisations left the systems alone, stopped any further investment and patted themselves on the back.

Other companies redesigned the service to allow the maximum possible self-service touch points to maximise the future return on investment. They redesigned the self-service experience from the start. Continue reading Designing Self-Service From the Start

The Coolest Digital Industry to Work in

It's ok - photo of the list of what's ok at GDS featured as bullet points in this post
How did government become the coolest digital industry?

Think of the top three industries that seem cool to work in. I’d be surprised if you are my age and listed government as a top three coolest digital industry. But working on digital government projects seems to have become cool.

So cool, that last week Matt Cutts of Google fame announced that he will be leaving Google for the US Digital Service. Matt Cutts was the head of Google’s spam SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) team, and built up a large following across social media channels from webmasters around the world. There are forums set up to discuss every detail of his speeches and YouTube videos, to try to outsmart the chief enemy of SEO spam. Continue reading The Coolest Digital Industry to Work in

Insurance Digital Transformation case studies

Insurance is perfectly positioned for a radical digital transformation over the next few years (or maybe months) – customers feel they don’t get value from insurers (unless something goes wrong, at which point they see the value); there is a general poor to dreadful customer experience of most insurers; there are still antiquated business models (why do we still have to buy annual policies? Why can’t we have subscription-based or pay as you go policies?); and then there’s the fact that most car insurers don’t make much profit in the first year of a new customer either.

Here is some insight from two recent insurance events where the main topic has been about digital transformation, disruption and innovative ideas. Continue reading Insurance Digital Transformation case studies

Book review: The Fintech Book

The Fintech Book, a paper version of a decent blog. Sticky bookmarks are mine and do not come as standard
The Fintech Book, a paper incarnation of a decent blog. Sticky bookmarks are mine and do not come as standard

The Fintech Book is a crowdsourced compilation of articles from 168 authors. It’s more of reference book for a reader to dip in and out than reading cover to cover.

The articles are a range of medium to long blog posts, often with accompanying graphs or diagrams. The design layout is well presented with a nice orange theme. Every so often there’s a graphic which has been pasted into the book in its original format, which breaks the nice theme.

It would have been nice to have seen some real heavyweight C-level managers from the big banks or financial institutions provide some ‘keynote style’ Fintech posts in the book. Or at least provide a review of the book among the other 21 endorsements on page one as you open the front cover to add some immediate credibility. Authors from Lloyds (twice), PwC and McKinsey have provided articles, and job titles like “Business Analyst” and “Senior Manager” appear regularly in authors’ descriptions. I don’t intend any disrespect to them – perhaps these are the thought leaders in these organisations. Continue reading Book review: The Fintech Book

Innovation from traditional car manufacturers

There’s lots of publicity from technology companies like Google, Apple and Tesla about their vision of the self-driving cars. Time for some research on what traditional car manufacturers are looking at…

I’ve looked at the manufacturers’ websites and YouTube channels to get their official view – rather than a sneak preview clip from a cunning motoring magazine.

Technology in the car industry seemed to stagnate for a few decades until Google and Apple shook up the existing manufacturers. We can now see a range of innovative ideas and themes across the industry.

“Two, three or four years ago we could not have imagined building such a complex vehicle which is capable of doing so much.

“We are driving backwards. Absolutely incredible driving because it’s now like sitting in a train or a private Learjet.

I think that’s a good comparison.”

BMW – the 7 series

Not a concept car here… the latest BMW 7 series with remote control parking… it can drive into and out of a garage without anyone inside. Plus gesture control (i.e. touch-less) for the dashboard. Not sure about the fragrance control though.

Continue reading Innovation from traditional car manufacturers

Agile London at CodeNode

ThisKate from CodeCamp giving an introduction to CodeCamp evening I went to the latest Agile London event. I’ve been to a few previous Agile London events including Thomas Cook and McKinsey Labs. Some of the Endava team liked the Agile London events so much that we arranged to sponsor tonight’s event at CodeNode.

Tonight felt like it had more people attend than any previous event – there were 120 seats and we had to bring more into the main CodeNode meeting room.

What is Code Club?
What is Code Club?

The event kicked off with Kate Wilsea from Code Club. The organisation was set up about four years ago to inspire more children to… code. Code Club now reach over 65,000 kids across 4,000 UK locations, and have now opened up to Ukraine and Brazil.

If you like the sound of Code Club, you can help support them on JustGiving. Continue reading Agile London at CodeNode

Smart IoT 2016 Day Two

Today was the second and last day of Smart IoT London. Read here for Day One’s report.

The presenterless presentation... a very odd presentation at Smart IoT
The presenterless presentation… a very odd presentation at Smart IoT

I went to a few of the presentations, but only two of them are worthy of any mention (one, which I won’t name, didn’t have a presenter… the technical support guys simply played a video in the theatre – it was one of the oddest ‘presentations’ I’ve seen).

I recommend the organisers arrange fewer presentations next year, aiming for quality over this year’s huge quantity.

And please, supply more power sockets for visitors to recharge their phones and laptops (especially to help visitors cover Smart IoT on social networks). Continue reading Smart IoT 2016 Day Two