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I had a chance to visit the esd2019 conference in Katowice in May. It was a two-day event for us full of interesting sessions about different aspects of technology and finance. On Tuesday I was joined by our CEO Lukasz with whom we explored different sessions and Lukasz got to catch up with his friends and colleagues. I personally enjoyed listening to different topics including digital marketing, fintech, international growth, AI and much more. 

 

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In digital marketing, the speakers were telling how highly targeted marketing campaigns need to be these days in order to be effective and give some ROI to the companies investing in it. 

The AI talk was talking about supercomputing and how back in the day a person had to travel to Stanford Univ. in California to be able to access such a powerful computing system. Nowadays, a person can find one much easier than back then. Related to AI, the speakers were talking about more accurate data and how sharing private information in this space is still a debate. They were also talking about how AI could replace people’s work in the future. Microsoft was mentioned in the talk and how they were/are dealing with AI in one of their projects.

One of my favorite talks was the fin-tech talk where experts were talking about the changes in the industry and how nontraditional banks are becoming like banks because they have the customer data needed to be like one. This leads to a situation where traditional banks are being challenged by competitors that did not exist before. In the session, experts were talking about ING bank vs. Revolut which is a bank that's fully online. They were talking about the regulatory issues in this topic and why none want to get a banking license because it would increase their obligation to follow regulation by quite a lot. One of the most interesting examples was the Apple Credit Card issued by Goldman Sachs. As of today, more than 10M people have applied for this credit card which is an unheard phenomenon in the banking sector. The speakers were also talking about fees and markups and how Revolut is still not profitable but should be someday.

During the international expansion talk, the speaker was talking about how companies should think “start with why” talk. Then what and how. This is classic Simon Sinek talk and still relevant to how business should present them to the public. They were also talking about the use of external help. They said that take all the help you can and then select those who can bring you the most value which makes sense.

Another interesting topic at the conference was the use of money in the startup world. How to find investors or VC and pitch to them. ESD had some workshops and startup challenge for some rising companies but I did not witness any of those. 

Overall, I must say that I enjoyed the conference from an educational point of view. I am looking forward to the next year’s conference as it should be also interesting.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to ask me any questions, please reach out to me at christian.maines@railwaymen.org

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