Sanjib Kalita: In Fintech Today, It Takes an Ecosystem

“One big, big point is understanding your end consumer’s needs. And if you use that as like a bit of a springboard for everything else, I think that will be helpful for however things evolve.”



with guest:

Sanjib Kalita
Head of Industry

Fintech Meetup

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Digital Banking Podcast, host Josh DeTar welcomed Sanjib Kalita, the Head of Industry for Fintech Meetup, an annual conference that brings together fintechs at all stages of development and financial institutions from across North America and beyond. Kalita shared his extensive experience in the fintech industry, discussing the dynamic interplay between technology and financial services. He reflected on his journey from working at Intel to his current role, highlighting the technological advancements that have reshaped the banking sector.

Kalita offered insights into the evolution of digital banking, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and innovation in the industry. He touched upon the challenges and opportunities that have emerged with the digital transformation of financial services. Sanjib’s expertise provided a unique perspective on the future of banking.

The conversation also delved into the impact of fintech on consumer experiences and the importance of adapting to changing consumer needs. Kalita ‘s vision for a more interconnected and efficient banking ecosystem underscores the transformative power of fintech in the modern world.

Key Insights

Embracing Change in Financial Technology

Kalita discussed the rapid evolution of financial technology and its impact on the banking industry. He highlighted how advancements in technology have compelled traditional financial institutions to innovate and adapt. The conversation shed light on how these changes create new opportunities for improved consumer experiences and operational efficiency. This insight underlined the necessity for financial institutions to stay agile and responsive to technological advancements in order to remain competitive.

The Importance of Collaboration in Fintech

Kalita talked about the critical role of collaboration in the fintech sector. He emphasized that partnerships between various players in the industry, including startups, established institutions, and technology providers, are essential for driving innovation. The discussion revealed how collaborative efforts can lead to more robust and consumer-friendly financial solutions, reflecting a trend towards more integrated and interconnected financial ecosystems.

The Consumer Experience in Digital Banking

Kalita shared insights on the transformation of consumer experiences in digital banking. He noted how customer expectations have evolved, with a growing demand for convenience, speed, and personalized services. The conversation explored how fintech is responding to these expectations by developing more user-centric platforms and services. This shift signifies a broader trend towards consumer-focused innovations in the banking sector, aiming to deliver more engaging and satisfying user experiences.

Guest At A Glance

Sanjib Kalita
Head of Industry

Fintech Meetup

Find Kalita On:

Kalita transitioned from a technologist working as a chip designer at Intel to a significant role in the fintech industry, where he was part of the team that launched the Money20/20 event. His journey reflects a combination of technological acumen and a passion for impacting business and finance, leading to his current influential position in the fintech sector.

Sanjib Kalita: [00:00:00] a lot of times, there’s sort of an assumption that, just because you work with money, like you have all the resources at your disposal And obviously protecting and, you know, accounts, protecting data is like so important, but, but it’s also like there’s limited resources.


Josh DeTar: [00:02:00] Welcome to another episode of the digital banking podcast. My guest today is Sanjib Kalita, the head of industry for FinTech Meetup. Sanjib really had me laughing when we started preparing for this podcast. He said, even though he’s been in the events business for over a decade, he’s really 50:50. 50 percent extrovert and 50 percent introvert.

You’ll see why that’s so funny throughout today’s episode for sure. Now, if you’re not familiar with Sanjib’s history in the event space, here’s the cliff notes. Ever heard of this little conference in Las Vegas called Money2020? If you’re listening to this podcast, I would put a lot of money on a bet that you have.

Well, Sanjib was a part of the team that brought that event to life. His interest in the FinTech space didn’t start there though. He started his professional life as a technologist, working as a chip designer at Intel. Sanjib describes himself as a builder in many ways. Technology is a cool tool that can shape a reality.

You control output through [00:03:00] input and software. And he quickly realized that he loved building in tech, but he also loved building in business, where the opportunity to impact people for the positive is present. He wanted to combine his tech acumen and hunger for the impact side of business. So he joined Citibank, what he thought would be a short stint turned into an incredibly formative, better part of a decade of his life with a genuine passion for building and creating.

He left Citi to be a part of a payments company that ultimately exited to Google and became the technology that current Google wallet sits on seeing the impact technology and finance could have on the world. Sanjib then set out with Anil Agarwal and a small group of others to radically transform the face of FinTech collaboration.

While today’s episode is not about Money2020, the lessons learned and the impact it has had on Sanjib and this industry are profound and not to be missed. People thought he was crazy to leave Google and the most exciting division of Google at that [00:04:00] time, payments. Today, we get to talk a little bit about why, what was so important that he felt he could do in this industry, um, and the global impacts the FinTech industry has.

Having been born in India and lived all over the U. S. and internationally, Sanjib has an acute attention to looking for unique ideas and perspectives through culture and people. We’re going to see a lot of the 50 percent side of Sanjib that is the extrovert side today, but that other 50 percent just likes to be home cooking with his wife or out hiking in nature and trying new things, continuing his never ending quest for expansion of life and experiences.

With all of that distilled down into cliff notes, um, I don’t know. I think there’s something wrong with you. If you’re not excited to, uh, listen in on this podcast. So Sanjib, thank you so much for being a guest with me today.

Sanjib: Thank you, Josh. And thank you for the wonderful intro.

Josh: Yeah, well, so man, you know, as we were kind of prepping for this episode. Um, I really was [00:05:00] thinking, I was like, man, where do I start? There’s like 6 million opportunities of things that I can’t wait to pick your brain on. Um, but I really would like to start with just kind of, uh, the big elephant in the room that is money2020, right?

I mean, arguably this is one of the biggest, most notable events in our industry. Um, and I’d really love to understand kind of this evolution for you through life and, and why you felt at the time it was so important to create something. Um, I don’t know if you ever expected it to become the magnitude of what it became, but, um, why it was so important for FinTech to have this level of collaboration.

And I think, you know, really love to pick your brain more so on the FinTech collaboration side of that and why that was so important and, and how, you know, money2020 kind of became secondary to that. So I’d love to kind of start there.

Sanjib: Yeah, absolutely. So, so I, I, I guess like, let me start off with like, actually something that, uh, you know, like a little bit of a joke that Anil and I used to say back in the early days, [00:06:00] it was like, you know, if you were in a cocktail party and you used to be, if you wanted people to run away from you, you told people that I work in payments. And people would run away from you. But then, around 2010, 2011, 12, like, you know, if you said you worked in payments, then actually people started to come in and they wanted to listen more about what you were doing. So, um, you know, I was at Citibank for, you know, about a decade, as you said. And, um, it was like, you know, um, It was like focused on bankers, maybe some payment networks.

It was like sort of, you know, I’d say within a certain set of an ecosystem. And then right before money 2020 was launching, um, you know, you had Google with Google wallet, then you had the, uh, [00:07:00] telecoms. that were trying to launch their own, uh, mobile payments, uh, service. Then you had retailers that were trying to launch their payment service. Then you had other big tech companies, um, you know, like places like Meta or Facebook back then or, or, uh, even like Amazon. Like you had all these new participants, um, getting into the ecosystem, being interested in, in this, uh, payments, um, and financial services. And, um, What we sort of found was that, like, if you went to any of the other existing events at the time, their definition of innovation was very, um, was sort of limited to, um, you know, what they were doing.

So, for example, you know, you take a credit card, rotate it 90 degrees. That’s huge innovation. Um, and, and in reality, it was back then, but you could do so much more. And I think [00:08:00] we sort of felt that you, let’s create something where we talked about what you could do. Um, we, let’s create something where we brought that new ecosystem, the broader ecosystem together. And, um, and I think like. We could get into this more too, but like, you know, as the years progressed, there was a bit of a maturation, the evolution, um, as well that I saw, and, uh, but like, in the beginning, it was like, let’s get a bunch of people together who are interested in what was going, where the world was heading.

Josh: Um, you know, I think for folks who’ve listened to our podcast for years, probably we’ve heard this many times, but. I think one of the reasons why I was so excited to have this opportunity to talk with you too is, um, you know, this is kind of the genesis of this podcast, right? Was it really started through the COVID pandemic where I lost the opportunity to go to these conferences and to have those in person [00:09:00] conversations with people.

And I just felt like that collaboration connection was broken for me.

so this became a way to kind of fill that void.

And, um, so it’s really interesting kind of hearing you talk about, you know, that being some of the genesis behind putting together an event where it was, no, we want to put people in a space where they’re free to talk about innovation and collaborate around that, um, where there’s kind of no barriers to it, right?

Is that fair to say?

Sanjib: That’s fair to say, and actually, I think you hit upon a very important point, is that, In a lot of cases, you know, working in a regulated industry, if you talk about something that’s really different, like, you’ll get swatted down. And, um, in your normal, everyday office, you know, back when everybody went into the offices.

And, um, but what we had, you know, what we’d created was a safe space [00:10:00] to talk about things that were quite radical. Um, and, uh, and at the same time it was like very, um, it was real. It wasn’t like so far in the future that we were talking about like, automatons that were doing crazy things back, you know, back in 2012.

Josh: I, you I I think that’s why this is such a fascinating, uh, topic to me is I think just disruption as a whole is really fascinating to me, you know, you, you see every industry goes through their own form of, you know, ebbs and flows of disruption. Um, and you know, it’s, it’s too easy to pick on the low hanging fruit of using the example of like, um, you know, uh, Blockbuster and Netflix.

But, it is a really great example that’s just very black and white and it’s really easy to see, like it was an industry that really just didn’t see it coming

and it was because they weren’t willing to take their blinders off [00:11:00] and say, you know, Oh, disruption in our industry is going from VHS to DVD.

no, no disruption is completely changing the supply chain model for how your goods and services are distributed. And I think that’s a really applicable thing to our industry of saying, like you’re saying, like, if we think that disruption is turning the credit card 90 degrees. That’s kind of like blockbuster saying, well, disruption will just be, we have a different form of what we distribute in our store,

Versus no, no, there’s not gonna be a store at all.

and so I think, you know, what’s really fascinating in our industry is, is that, you know, people have heard me preach about this probably far too many times already, but I think our industry is one where. There is a very important element to the physical branches.

So I’m not going down that path of just about disruption in that sense. But I think just talking about the space to talk about, well, what does real disruption look [00:12:00] like in our industry? What’s not the, you know, little tit for tat things that are going to change places here and there. Like, what are the leapfrog moments that are going to happen?

What are the things that are going to have, like widespread catastrophically positive or negative impacts? To our industry and the way that we do things. And so I think that’s what fascinates me so much about talking to you is just understanding, like you obviously saw the need for something like that and you’ve been trying to foster that for the better part of a decade through multiple different forums.


Sanjib: Yeah, absolutely. And like even going back to like the city days. Um, so for example, I, I got to participate in one of the first mobile payments tests with, uh, it was with, um, MasterCard with Nokia and, uh, and obviously with, with, with city and um, so did this is like in the, um, Mid to early [00:13:00] aughts. And so, Let’s say like, you know, 2006, 7 ish kind of time frame. Um, and, So this is way early, and, So like, it really was like science fiction going to the drugstore, taking out your phone and paying, making a payment. Um, it like, the cashiers were really like, what the heck are you doing? And, and then you were like, Oh, this is actually really cool. And then, and then from that point on, every year is like, Oh, this is the year of mobile payments. This is the year. Oh, it’s not. Okay. Next year. Next year is going to be new year of mobile payment. Oh, it’s not. Oh, that following year is going to be the year of mobile payments.

So it’s sort of a bit of like, you, you see the future and then, you know, you, um, yeah. You know, getting large scale adoption takes longer than you anticipate. Uh, but, but when it does, like, it can accelerate quite quickly.

Josh: You know, it’s [00:14:00] funny. You know, I don’t know. I probably shoot myself on the foot a little bit by saying this, but, um, you know, I’m a total Apple pay junkie.

I mean, I’m sucked into Apple’s ecosystem. It is what it is, man. just, I’m, I’m in now. There’s no getting out. They’ve got me locked into the walled garden.

Um, but I, you know, I love being able to, um, we live kind of that outskirts of town, like up against like farm country, but if I head east, I go right into town. And so we love to just like. Walk kind of into quote unquote, the little, um, you know, center and things like that near us. And so I love that I can just have my Apple watch on.


and buy a coffee or, um, you know, grab some groceries and, and walk back to the house with it. And, and it’s fascinating me how still today, every once in a while when I tap my watch up to pay, people’s minds explode. And I’m like, wait, this is not like common knowledge that this is a, a payment mechanism in [00:15:00] now.

Like it, so, I mean, to your point, like that’s, it’s so true. Even in a very technology. Um, you know, prevalent society as we are here in America and in major cities, like the fact that there’s still gaps of understanding of what’s even possible is pretty interesting and demonstrates that kind of getting wide scale adoption takes a lot of time and it takes longer than people think.

Sanjib: It is, and it’s also like, um, You know, the, I think the, good and the bad of it is that, you know, people like you and I, we spend, you know, 24 7 thinking about, let’s say, digital banking, or payments, or fintech, and, but in reality, like, the average person spends, like, a few minutes, if that,

and, and, and so it’s not something that is top of mind, um, so, so making that change is much harder because it’s like [00:16:00] trying to, You know, changing habits is always really hard. And, um, and then, you know, convincing someone that they should change their habits is even harder.

Josh: Yeah. Um, you know, that really makes me think too. of, I want to kind of sideline this, but I want get your brain thinking about it. Um, I think this is why, and I almost got this, um, impression as we were just kind of talking before we started recording today. This is a lot of your, um, kind of perspective too, is that I think FinTech and FinTech kind of coupled with the mindset of community financial institutions also has a really, um.

Really big positive impact that they can make to real people’s lives, but that there’s still a lot of opportunity there,

right? You know, it’s really funny. So this morning, um, we were talking about this before we’re in a, uh, that once every four years, weird state here in Portland, Oregon, where we got some snow [00:17:00] and some ice, well, it turned into like straight freezing rain and it just an ice skating rink outside.

And, um. And this morning was kind of the first time I felt like I could try and venture out and see if it was safe for my wife to go drive around and stuff. So I went to go grab us coffee at, uh, the little Dutch brothers, uh, shop, not too far from our house. It was like a mile away. We have a, um, a truck that’s one of the hybrids.

So it has a big battery in the back, weighs like 6 billion pounds. Uh, I have dedicated snow tires on this thing. So I’m like, I feel pretty confident that we out and about. Um. I’m like, get into the line at the coffee shop and, and I’m just talking to the girl as they’re kind of making our coffees and things.

And, you know, we got to talking about just the ice and the snow and how many people were out and weren’t. And she was like, yeah, I didn’t even know if I could venture out. Like, I didn’t know if my car was safe. And so you have to bear with me. I’m a total car nerd. So inevitably, like all my analogies come back to cars, just talking to her about, I was like, well, actually it has less to do with the [00:18:00] car.

It has more to do with the tires. that’s what’s in contact with the surface. And I said, jokingly, I was like, you know, I really wish they actually taught tire technology in school. people need to understand that there’s tires for rain, there’s tires for snow, there’s for dry. And if you have a dedicated summer tire and you’re trying to get around in today’s weather, you’re hosed.

Like, you’re not going anywhere. care if you have four wheel drive, I don’t care if you have a truck. Um, you need a tire that was designed for that type of environment. And she starts laughing. She’s like, I know, I feel like there’s so many things they don’t teach me in school and where I’m going with this whole story is what I thought was really, really interesting was completely, um, prompted.

She has no idea what I do for a living. Any of this, goes, yeah, but actually, you know, the one thing I really wish that they taught us or somebody taught me finance and how to my finances. And she goes and how to use technology my finances to help me better understand it. And I just like mind blown having [00:19:00] conversation with probably this, I don’t know, 17, 18 year old girl at this shop.

Talking about how she feels like she’s been let down in understanding how to leverage all of this technology that’s around her to help her better understand her finances. And she’s like, I have no idea. What was funny was she goes, I do know how to write a check though. I was like, Oh yeah, that’s good. Um, but, but you know, I think, um, kind of coming back to, like I said, I would like to kind of sideline that and kind of come back to just the whole topic of.

of technology and the impact it can have for people. But, you know, I think what’s interesting is, is that, like, that also goes back to what you were talking about of why, why you felt it was important to kind of create this ecosystem of free collaboration, to help kind of propel the industry forward to actually make positive impacts.


Sanjib: think, um, and then sort of even getting back to, um, even, even sort [00:20:00] of like the community banks and, uh, it’s sort of like a lot of times, um, you know, there’s sort of an assumption that, um, you know, just because you work with money, like you have all the resources at your disposal and, and, and, uh, And obviously protecting and, you know, accounts, protecting data is like so important, but, but it’s also like there’s limited resources.

So like, you know, like, for example, with Money20/20, um, you know, there was, uh, you know, we used to put together, uh, sessions about like maybe with some of the bigger banks and things like that. And we’d cover things. But then, you know, as things progressed, realized that like actually. The world is completely different for other types of banks or other types of financial institutions. And the way that they look at things, um, is different. You might not, like, um, just as an example, um, [00:21:00] uh, looking at, like, data, um, for example, you might have At a large bank, you’ll have thousands of people that will help massage data, analyze data. Whereas at, you know, like, um, a community bank, that’s not the case. That entire organization is thousands of people.

So, it puts different, um, uh, emphases on different elements of the business. So, I think that, uh, like, as we progress with Money20/20, The, just a quick side note, like when I, when at the early days of Money20/20, I was in charge of picking speakers, putting together the agenda, and I, I coming new to the Indus, uh, to the events industry, I was like, okay, the, the content is like the main thing.

That’s what everybody’s there for. And then, after like, a couple years, what I realized was that, like, one thing I used to do was, like, I used to introduce, um, my startup friends with my [00:22:00] banker friends and with my investor friends and, you know, help create, um, You know that and eventually they would come back to me and they’d say oh, thank you for introducing me to so and so Thank you, like the big bank and the fintech would both say. Thank you so much and and

there was mutual value in that and and as as As it progressed I realized actually that is like the main value of an event and

and that that’s sort of why Like now with like FinTech meetup. I just sort of feel like we’re for for me. It was like addressing Uh, a value proposition that, that is, that was sort of like networking and meetings are a big part of it, like,

and it’s talked about by all events, but like just having something where you apply technology to help solve that problem, that, that, that’s sort of what drew me to it.

And, and sort of like, so now we’re, I’m not, I’m not sure if that answers the question or if I went off on some

Josh: No, know, that’s perfect. And what’s funny is, is you actually brought me to one of the things I [00:23:00] really wanted to talk to you about is, um, bear with me. I don’t know if you’re going to love me or hate me for what I’m about to say, but, um, you know, I, I think what FinTech meetup is, is really, really unique and super cool for a couple of reasons.

Um, and for my listeners, just fair warning, I am not paid for endorsed spokesperson for this. I just really actually think it’s pretty cool idea. Um, and, and here’s why, because. I’ve just, yeah, I’m going to be a little bit dangerous with my statement here. But, um, you know, you look at kind of the traditional conference, right?

And there, don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely a ton of value that happens in these things. But from a, like a vendor buyer perspective, it’s kind of awkward, right? Like we’re kind of standing there at our little booth and like, you’re there for some other reason, but we paid for the event. So you feel kind of obligated to like stop by and say hi.

And then. Like I got to go back to my boss and tell him how many leads I got. So I got to like really jump on you. And uh, I’m really hoping I can [00:24:00] give you my chachki. Like I’ve got cooler stress ball than he’s got. And I don’t know, it’s just kind of weird. Right. And there’s, there’s absolutely some really beautiful collaboration and connections that happen in that.

But there’s also some awkwardness to the, like, Hey, do we really want to talk? Do you really even care about my product? Are you just trying to be nice? You just trying to get my chachki for your grandkids? Like, um. Um, and so from, from like the, the vendor and almost buyer perspective, um, it just, it, it’s kind of its own thing.

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: FinTech Meetup comes along and I actually really think this was a disruption to the traditional model of that. I think it was a really big leapfrog, um, and this is where you’re going to either love me or hate me for how say this, but I think. What’s really cool about it is like, it’s literally like the tinder for speed of, um, you know, people in the fintech industry.

Hey, I, I do this. You do this. I want to talk about this. want to talk about it? I do. We [00:25:00] both said yes. And we set up a 15 minute speed date and we sit down and we meet no awkwardness. Like we agreed like. Hey, I’m coming in. I’m like, Hey, I’m Josh. I work for Tyfone. I sell digital banking.

Do you want to buy digital banking? And if they say no, I’m like, cool, then there’s no awkwardness to this. say yes, then I know I’ve got a really solid 15 minute conversation with somebody that actually sees value in the service that I provide and vice versa. And it’s not just about selling products.

It’s about being able to connect with, like you said, investors and other fintechs that we can partner with to grow an ecosystem. Um, And so it really gives you this unique opportunity to use technology to help, like you said, kind of filter through all that noise and just put together really solid meetings.

Um, so I’d love to understand some of the concept behind this and why you all felt that there was power in doing it this way.

Sanjib: Yeah. Yeah. So before I answer that question, like since you mentioned Tinder, then I’ll have to draw the analogy to the, you know, the, the, the first [00:26:00] example of the, the vendors in the, uh, you know, in the traditional events, it’s then that that’s a bit like a middle school dance. And you’re right. It is, um, I, I do think that there’s, uh, um, like, I, I, and part of the thinking actually did come out of, um, the pandemic, I actually,

when, when, like, you couldn’t go to events, you couldn’t meet people, and it was, everything was a bit, everything was virtual, and, um, and, and so I actually, the first, um, um, FinTech meetup was virtual and, and it was, um, and, and, and so then, you know, you, you sort of ran into a situation where, well, we’re in a digital medium. Um, how do we take advantage of that? Um, like, [00:27:00] so, so for example, um, you, you know, with something digital, You can have much more data used in sort of that decision process. Like, like when you, if you and I were to meet in a networking room at like some traditional conference, we wouldn’t know who, you know, we could look at the badges, but then beyond that, there’s not much else.

Um, whereas if, if you’re, if you’re interacting with, um, if you’re able to use technology to interact, like you can, I’m interested in a digital banking solution. I work for, um, you know, a regional bank in the Midwest. You know, 50 percent of our business is, like, small businesses. Another 50 percent of our business is, you know, is consumer. Like, there might be data there that is relevant for, uh, for you to help you, like, figure out, okay, like, what What, you know, what, what might be interesting to me [00:28:00] and so, uh, if, if you can use that data to, um, I, you know, it’s a bit like, you know, going back to the Netflix Blockbuster thing, um, you know, you know the, the, the traditional, um, event is like go walking into a blockbuster video. And then you have to go to the action section. You have to go to the new release section. You have to go to the children’s section. And that’s sort of how you, and you are limited by what’s categorically there. Whereas like Netflix, um, you know, your viewing data can be used to help determine what is interesting to you.

So you, you, like, for example, um, like my wife and I on Netflix, like there was a time where We, we started watching several, we [00:29:00] watched several like Korean, uh, series, Korean TV series. And, and, and then I think Netflix thought we were Korean or something like that. ’cause then we, we, we would see a lot of Korean movies and which, um, uh, and some we saw.

And then after some we were like, okay, let’s watch some other stuff, and, and then, you know, that, so, so that, that sort of evolved. So I, I think. There’s no way you’re going to walk into a Blockbuster video and say, Oh, this person is interested in

Korean cereals. 

Josh: You know, I’m glad you brought up the point too of just, This is no disrespect whatsoever to folks. We were all navigating a difficult time, but it was really interesting to watch what happened to kind of the traditional conferences in the pandemic. Right. And I what a lot of folks did was say, this is what we did in the physical world.

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: Right. And then that whole like vendor booth thing got even more awkward because then you are like, they’re like, okay, so you’re going to [00:30:00] have a digital booth and people are going to stop by your digital booth. Like nobody stopped digital booth. You’re crazy to think that like at least I could, you know, bribe them with a cookie to come by my booth in the real world, but I can’t even do that in the digital world.

And so it really did think, take thinking about that very differently. To be able to create an environment where collaboration could happen digitally, because I think that’s also why I’m glad you brought that up is I think that is also just such a great example that can be applied to other areas, right?

Like just trying to take something the way we’ve always done it and pivot it and do the same thing we’ve always done, but in a different place or different way, it doesn’t always work. sometimes you have to think very, very differently. And that’s to your point from earlier. Like that’s where real disruption happens.

That’s not just turning the credit card 90 degrees happens.

Sanjib: Absolutely. And a lot of times it’s very unexpected. [00:31:00] So, so going back even to like Intel, you know, I, I helped, um, launch Intel’s graphics chip business back in the 90s. And our first product was a 2D, 3D graphics chip accelerator, graphics accelerator. And so there is the 3D piece, we were basically taking military. Simulator technology, like multi million dollar military simulator technology, putting it on a 25 chip. And, and, and then there was also a piece that involved 2D that would control your display. You could play DVDs and things like that on it. And the funny thing was that 2D, 3D, back then, like, even though we put a lot of resources into 3D, like, we sort of assumed that 2D, like watching videos and movies, would be like the main usage of it, much more so than, than, the 3D. But today Like the gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood and, and, and it’s sort of like [00:32:00] how, um, things that you wound up, you, you, you, you’re thinking you, you’re creating something in one world, but it’s in a completely, the world completely changes into a different, different, way. And, and, and, um, so, so like, even like the, um, you know, back during the pandemic, like there was all these like virtual worlds, uh, even going back to like.

Um, like the sims and things like that, it’s sort of like, I still feel like we’re, we’re nowhere near where that’s gonna, that’s mainstream yet it’s, I, I do think it’s, it’s a bit off. And, um, so I, and I, and I think that like. I, at least from my perspective, like when you meet someone in person, it’s such a very different experience from meeting them virtually.

And, and, and, um, I, I don’t, I’m sure there’s some biological elements to it, but like, it’s like when you have that, um, face to face, [00:33:00] it’s a very different type of a bond. And maybe trust and understanding that you, that you build. Um, and, and, and to assume that. You know, you could transpose one with the other is, I mean, as you pointed out, it’s like, it’s, it’s a fallacy.

Josh: Isn’t that, I never thought we were going to go down this path, but, um, isn’t that so true? I, and I, yeah, I’m sure there’s somebody way smarter than me. That’s got some data and some understanding on why, but there absolutely is. I mean, it’s, it’s really interesting. I have, you know, people that I’ve never met.

We’re talking about some of the folks on like our India team, right? I’ve never had the opportunity to meet, but I mean, they’re like family to me

we’ve developed this bond over years. But there’s still something that’s just missing there. Look, there’s a part of my soul literally yearns to give them a hug.

know what I mean?

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: And that’s just, you can’t do that in the virtual world. So I think there are certain things that are just completely [00:34:00] irreplaceable, but can be augmented with technology.

Sanjib: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, I think, um, so when you do meet your, um, your, your, your coworkers in India, Like you, you will have that knowledge of them so that when you do meet them in person E even though, you know, like if you met them like for the first time, uh, versus me meeting them now, you, you, that if you had only had 15 minutes, you could make so much more impact with that 15 minutes.

So, so I, I think it’s, it’s like, it like to, to take your example, if you met them, you, you know, you would, um, augment what you’ve done so much more, but, but also because you’ve had that digital experience. You will know them much better than if you just met them, you know, physically as well, too.

Josh: Yeah. I, yeah, yeah. We’re really detouring this sucker and I’m all for it. Um, I think that was one of the other things that I found really, really fascinating about the pandemic. And, [00:35:00] um, and I don’t know why, like literally just, uh, you and I getting ready for this podcast had me really thinking about it beforehand is, um, you know, you’ve got all this really cool stuff on the wall behind you 

Sanjib: Yeah. 

Josh: Um, you know, I’ve actually been really thoughtful about like how we’ve put my office together for this podcast and it’s important to me that it’s not completely stale and it has some of the personality of it. And, and I think a lot of that is because what I witnessed in the pandemic was. The more we got on these like virtual meetings and took them from the homes, I felt like I created a new level of depth that I also could not have gotten in person

a lot of these times, like, I mean, we’d have to get to a very specific level before you’re going to bring me into your home,

right? But now I get to be in your home and, you know, I, I know it’s silly, but I used to love when, you know, we first kind of the pandemic of everybody having to go remote and a lot of people that hadn’t experienced working from home [00:36:00] before. And you’d see people were like, so ashamed when their dog would bark or their kid would come running through.

I was like, no, this is great. Like we’re humans. It’s okay. It’s really cool to actually see you in that element. Like. That’s awesome. No. Now tell me about your dog. No. Hey, you know, what grade is your kid in? Like, what are they studying or what’s going on in their world? You got to know people in a very different light.

So I think it’s, it’s really cool. Like you were saying to be able to almost have the opportunity in this day and age to blend those two things, right? Like you and I are getting an opportunity to do this podcast virtually where we’re both getting to see into each other’s homes, our lives connect, and we’re getting to build a relationship and a bond through this.

That to your point, like the first time I actually get to meet you in person, it’s going to be different. Like instead of being like, uh, you know, hi, nice to you. I’m like, Hey man, give me a hug. You’ve been a guest on the podcast. This is awesome. You know, I don’t know. It’s cool.

Sanjib: That’s such a great point, like, how often do you meet someone where your first physical interaction is a [00:37:00] hug? Um, you know, without digital, that never happened. Like, who’s crazy enough to like, go into an office and like start hugging random people like first time you meet. But, but, but now that we know each other, virtual, at least, you know, through this medium, um, you’re right.

Like when we see each other in person, our first interaction will be a hug,

Josh: Yeah, so since we’re taking this thing, you know, like deep into left field, let’s just keep trucking. so now I’m gonna throw a crazy curve. So what do you think about like, uh, you know, Zuckerberg’s push into the metaverse? And what are your thoughts on this? And what are the, what do you think it’s going to take for that to become mainstream?

Or do you think it ever will? And what do you think the impacts of that are going to be?

Sanjib: Yeah. I, that, uh, that, that, that’s like we, that’s a whole lot of other hours of talking

Josh: You did say earlier, like, don’t get 

Sanjib: Yeah, 

Josh: on AI because you were into it before even a thing. So I’ve opened up that can of [00:38:00] 

Sanjib: Yeah. That, so, so I, I, um, like, I, I, I, I, I think that, um, on one hand, um, it’s sort of like, if the human mind is very good at picking out when they’re being tricked, I think, like, in many respects.

It’s like, so if you’re trying to recreate the world and make a virtual world, like, you’ll pick that up right now, I

think. Whereas, if you are trying to, uh, present yourself in a, you know, maybe, like, suspended version of reality You su if you suspend real, you like, like, so like, um, so that’s why like Minecraft or Roblox or, you know, they, they’re, they’re real, but not real

and, and you know that they’re real, not real.

And, and I, and I think that if, um, if you’re in [00:39:00] something where, in a virtual world where, um, you’re sort of forced to be suspend your, your disbelief, um, I, I, I think that that is. That has a greater likelihood of being adopted,

I’d say. Whereas if you’re trying to create something that is like, oh, this is a world, this is the end all be all world where everything happens, and it’s, I think, um, I don’t know, I think that, well, I think that that raises more ethical questions, but it

also, um, it also You know, it’s, I think it’s going to trip the rails of the suspension of disbelief, you know, in our minds as well, too.

So I, um, I think that the way I sort of view it is that, you know, um, having virtual realities for [00:40:00] targeted types of purposes. Like I could sort of see that happening and, um, but like sort of just a general multipurpose. You know, uh, uh, virtual world is probably much harder to do and it’s like, even like thinking about like, so, uh, you know, I, I left, um, Citibank, um, to, to work on an ed tech company where we were trying to build, uh, educational, socially networked education apps.

Josh: Hmm.

Sanjib: So, so, so we had, uh, so we did the first official Khan Academy mobile app. We did apps for MIT, for Cornell, and, and, you know, the, the, the funny thing was that, like, um, so for example, the, the MIT, you know, there, there was like lectures, you watching videos of lectures, whereas with the Khan Academy, it’s, it’s more like you’re seeing graphics, and you’re seeing stuff that was like much more simplified, and the engagement on, and [00:41:00] no, no surprise there, like, the engagement on the Khan Academy stuff was so much more because it was like, designed for that interface, and it wasn’t trying to recreate, like, a classroom.

It was trying to, like, just focus in on something to, to transfer that idea to the listener, or to the reader, or to the watcher. Um, and, and, and, and, and so, like, I think if you, if you try to do too much, you’re, you’re, you’re, it’s gonna be, I don’t know, I think the risk of failure is much harder.

Josh: Yeah, that’s actually, I, I don’t know if I’ve really, really thought about it that way, but that makes a lot of sense when I apply that to kind of the, the meta example

is it does, it just feels so, Expansive, which I think is part of the intent, But I think it’s also why it is less appealing. Um, I don’t know.

I, when you were talking about like very intent based specific use cases of, um, you know, [00:42:00] augmented or virtual reality or suspended reality, like that, that seems to have some real legs to it. if you ask me. Um, I know that I, I actually haven’t seen it and people fault me for it because it’s probably something I would absolutely love, but I guess there was even like a, a Netflix documentary on, you know, taking a bunch of kids who were, um, you know, doing racing simulators

Sanjib: mm,

Josh: and then put them in real race cars

Sanjib: you


Josh: they beat real race car drivers.

And it was because they had the ability, like, because the technology had gotten so good, it was so close to the real thing were so good at actually mapping out the tracks to the nth degree

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: and, you know, the race car driver, he goes around a couple of times, he’s got to get new tires, he’s got to get fuel, car breaks down, he gets tired, it gets dark, these kids can race on the simulator 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they’ve gone around that track far more times than the race car driver [00:43:00] has.

And you start thinking about applying that to like, you know, a surgeon and how many times are they able to do open heart surgery, right? able to actually do that in, say, an augmented reality versus actually having to do that in the real, because I give them our pilots. And so, I mean, I think there’s some really, really cool use cases to it, but I am really, really curious to see what happens with the, the mainstreamness of it.

Sanjib: Hmm. Yeah. I, I, that’s a great question. And, and, uh, I, um, it, it’s a, and I don’t know if you’re familiar, but like the first, uh, video on demand, uh, test, uh, happened in Orlando, Florida. I think it was at t that did it.

Josh: Hmm.

Sanjib: But, but, but basically they, it was in Orlando and they literally had like people going around on roller skates like with VHS tapes like putting them into various machines that fed into, it was very [00:44:00] physical and, and, and

very like, and, and, and, um, and that, that was the technology at the time, um, and that, that, and I think that, um, um, I, I’ve, and you know this better than anyone, like infrastructure matters. And um, I think so, right now, we’re probably, from a, a meta universe perspective, there’s limitations of infrastructure. And, and, and, um, also like, if only like, um, let’s say 1 percent of people have like these goggle things. You know, that sort of limits what you can do with it. And, and, and, and, you know, there’s definitely elements of like economies of, of scale and scope here.

And, um, so, so I, I, I think it’s, uh, and not, not, not that I’m necessarily advocating that we should all jump to having these things on our heads. You know, I, [00:45:00] I, I, um. Uh, but, but it, it, it’s, it’s sort of like, I, I think it’s it there too. It’s, it’s gonna be like, um, you know, you, you, you, you, you, you mentioned you, you loved automobiles, right?

So, so like, I, actually, back in 1990, I, I helped design a, build an electric car,

uh, back, yeah, yeah. It was, it was back when. Uh, you know, I was in college, and it was a GM sponsored project, and it was

like, and it was like, really, I had a lot of fun doing it. But like, if you think about cars, like, I sort of feel like that might be a place where we might start seeing some of this meta technology first.

Because you have the screen, you have, you can put heavier equipment and sensors and things like that. Without it feeling, like, burdensome.

Like, you’re naturally in a [00:46:00] vehicle that has these glass panels all around you. So, your reality is all around you, but through the glass. And, you have, you know, there’s so many sensors and computers on these cars now. So, like, I actually, you know, I’m totally spitballing here, but I actually think that, like, cars would probably be a place. Where we’re going to start seeing some of this stuff first. Probably a natural place to try some of

Josh: Oh, interesting. What do you think some of the use would be for something like that?

Sanjib: I mean, there’s, uh, you know, definitely stuff like, um, Uh, you know, like, um, On the screen, like, you know, if you’re talking about, Oh, you know, are you hungry? And I’m like, yeah, I’m hungry too. I could go for some pizza. And then, you know, like, you could, you could start seeing some types of ideas popping up, or like some restaurants being highlighted.

Or, um, even like, [00:47:00] um, uh, like thinking about, um, even your schedule, right? Like, you know, we have our calendars. Um, And then, you know, if we have certain locations on our, on our calendars, like, you know, you could, you could say, like, hey, I, I, I, I need to get to this meeting, but I need a cup of coffee. And then, like, so you could look at the, the calendar, you could look at the location, you could look at the traffic, and, and sort of, you know, triangulate, like, okay, if you really want a cup of coffee, You can get a crappy cup of coffee here, but if you’re looking for, like, you know, the, the pour over, you know, this might be a place, and you have the time to do that, so it’s, I don’t know, like, it’s,

it’s, it’s probably stuff that, like, might, stuff that seems a bit, um, pedestrian right now, and I’m sure, like, smarter people [00:48:00] are gonna come up with all kinds of other great ideas than what I just talked about.

Josh: No. Yeah. No. That really got me thinking. I mean, but it’s cool because I feel like you’re already starting to see the groundworks of some of that 

Sanjib: Yeah. 

Josh: and like habit creation being formed. Right. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, like apparently my, you know, my phone and my car think that I’m a coffee junkie, which is.

Absolutely true. Um, and, and literally, you know, when I got in the truck this morning, it was like, you know, it’s four minutes to Dutch. I’m like, yeah, That is where I’m going. Yes, you know that, you know? So yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense. Um, What do you think the impacts of just the, um, the evolution of computing power and things like, you know, quantum computing, what are the impacts that those are going to have on the ability to actually leverage that kind of technology as well?

Sanjib: Yeah. I, I, uh, I, I’m like in, in general, like [00:49:00] computing power is, um, it’s, so I, I, I actually got to meet Gordon Moore. I, I got, I got

to meet Andy Grove. Yeah, yeah.

I, I, yeah. Yeah. So I, I, I actually. Yeah, yeah, I, I, I, I saw Steve Jobs, uh, pitch the next computer, but when I was in high school, it was. I’ve seen like a

lot of these, like it was, it was really cool stuff.

And, and it’s like, um, and this is all like, when they’re talking, it, it’s, um, it’s very much a case where, like, the, the future as improbable as it is. seems very, very, real. You know,

the, the, the, and, and, so like, even with something like quantum competing right now, um, there’s obviously, like, it’s, it’s still, it’s quite early days, I’d say, but it, like, now we’re starting to see, [00:50:00] like, um, things that are more stable, things that are more reproducible, um, and, um, And, and to be honest, like, it’s, it’s sort of, um, if you can do, like a, like a, so, so one of the things with quantum computing is that you’re able to parallelize a lot of stuff and do a lot of operations much faster, so that, um, much faster than traditional, you know, digital technology, and, and, and so if you’re able to do things much more And, massively faster in parallel, um, you know, what, um, you know, that, that, that opens up the opportunities for, uh, doing new types of analytics, new types of, um, uh, even like, just like screen creation if you

want, or, or, [00:51:00] um, uh, scenario, playing out different scenarios and predictions. Um, obviously the cryptography thing is huge and probably like what’s on a lot of people’s mind right now if cryptography can be hacked with quantum computers. So

it’s, it’s, um, I think the, the, um, there’s always like a bit of like, almost like magic that opens up when you are able to make something much more parallelized. Um, And, and, and do things quicker. I, I don’t know. I’m not sure if that’s, if

I’m talking gobbledygook or 

Josh: got my brain going. But you know, before we go on, I actually, I’m going to put you on the spot if you’re cool with it. And hope this is okay. Um, but I don’t know if anybody listening caught what you talked about and beating John Moore. But do you, can you articulate Moore’s [00:52:00] law a little bit?

Because I think that’s actually really important to the conversation that we’re having. Okay.

and I only know it well enough by osmosis through Siva, CEO, who’s a er and um, talks about it all the time. But I think it’d be really valuable to kind of maybe talk through that a little bit.

Sanjib: yeah. So, so, so basically, like, Moore’s Law, like, with, with, uh, semiconductor technology, like, The way that you make these chips is with basically like how you, uh, do photography. Like you use, uh, uh, you basically, you use lights and you, um, you, you print these chips basically with various digital You know, what would with with with transistors and I’m and the engineering in me is like saying, like, you’re massively oversimplifying it.

Yeah. [00:53:00] And so basically, like, um, see if you have, let’s just say a one inch by one inch, uh, piece of silicon, uh, Moore’s law says that, you know, you could increase that density You could double that density, like, once every 18 months. And then, so like, after 18 months, what, you know, um, used to be one inch by one inch, you could fit one chip, but by, uh, you know, doubling the density, you could get, you know, two chips, let’s say, in there. And then, that’s going to be at half the cost. So, um, and also, um, there’s power implications as well too. So, like Uh, and, and, and, and, and, and so basically like Moore’s law talks about, um, how you can in, in, increase the, um, density, uh, decrease the power and, and also increase the speed as well too, all at half the [00:54:00] cost.

So, it, it, the, the And like I said, the engineer in me is like, you know, yelling at me, like, what are you saying? But let’s just leave it at that. At least

it’s like a 

Josh: and I think a good real world example for those of us like myself is, you know, you think about. Um, if you apply some significant time to this 

Sanjib: Mm. Yeah. 

Josh: more compute power in my Apple watch than there was on the Lunar Lander. 

Sanjib: Mm. 

Josh: And conversely, just thinking about it in a short term scale, like how many of you have gone to Costco and looked price of TVs over last couple of years?

And I remember it wasn’t that long ago, like a 55 inch TV was like a big deal and it could be like 10 grand.

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: And, uh, you know, we were literally just looking at, um, at new TVs for our trade show for conferences and man, you can get 120 inch TV for two grand, [00:55:00] right? So I think that’s just like, if you’re trying to apply it to like, what does that mean for real world?

Like that’s showing just how fast this technology is evolving. And it’s, it’s an exponential scale, 

Sanjib: Yes. Yeah, yeah, 

Josh: So you also said something that was really, really fascinating to me about, um, you know, kind of the concern of things like quantum computing, being able to hack cryptography and, um, it gave me the opportunity to come back to something I’ve been dying to talk to you about because you mentioned it when we were like, um, you know, just talking before recording and it is really stuck with me because I love the way that you said it.

And you said, You know, things are always kind of getting better, but then everything up levels. 

Sanjib: Yeah. 

Josh: I think that’s a great example of what you were talking about, right? it’s like, um, yes, we’re getting better. Like we’re getting better security. And if we start talking about, um, you know, banking and payments, yeah, security is kind of an important thing and fraud mitigation tools.

And, and so we’re up leveling [00:56:00] those things, but at the same time, everything else is up leveling. And so what are the implications when all of a sudden, you know, this, um, You know, supercomputer, quantum computer, it doesn’t matter. You can have a 4 billion character password. It’ll still hack that sucker four seconds.

Like, then what’s the point? Then I might as well like keep cash and like leave on my front porch. And if somebody takes it, they take it. I don’t know. Um, so I don’t know. I’d love to get your thoughts on that.

Sanjib: Yeah. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to think too far ahead. Right. And like, what I’ll say is like, I, in general, I, I do tend to think like what I try to put myself in situations where I’m living in the future. Um, like, so for example, like I said, back in 1990, I was helping design an electric car. Um, [00:57:00] my, my master’s, uh, project back in 95 was about basically what was smartphones, what would end up becoming smartphones. Um, I, I, I, I worked on artificial, I did, uh, I got published in artificial intelligence research back in, So,, it’s sort of like if you can get a taste of the future ahead of everyone else, like that, that sort of maybe gives you a bit of a leg up. And, and another really crazy example was, um, I, I met this, you know, before smartphones, I, I met this entrepreneur who was trying to create like a location based, um, service. Um, and so he used to walk around with a laptop and a cell, uh, uh, cell antenna, you know, like hooked up to his laptop. And, and that’s how he would walk around because like, he, he, he [00:58:00] was like, at some point we’re going to have powerful computing attached to location and you’re going to be able to walk around with it. And I was like, that you look, you look like an absolute crazy person.

Josh: And now

Sanjib: Yeah, exactly. So, so, but yeah, that, that, and, um, so to the extent that like, I’m able to like experience a little bit of, um, the future, even if I, even if it might be painful, um, that like, so like to take it, uh, make that example a little bit like easier, like, or not as crazy.

Like I, I started using a Chromebook as my main computer. Like I’ve been doing that for like six years or so. And, and, and, um, and back six years ago, it was really painful, like not having, you know, a laptop that had apps on it, you know, built in and needing connectivity all the time. But I was like, I just sort of felt [00:59:00] like, okay, we’re going to get to a point where Everything is going to be cloud based, everything is going to be, like, at a distance.

It’s not going to be apps on your, um, laptop. And so, it was painful initially, but now I’m like, Okay, well, this is sort of how everybody does stuff now. Yeah. Yeah.

Josh: The parallels between you and Siva. Siva’s been on that Chromebook train for like six, seven years. Um, and it is like original one. He still uses to this day and it’s finally starting to die on him. And it’s just hilarious that, um, I don’t know, you know, man, sorry, like little detour, this is what’s so cool about this podcast.

Is man, there are just some really fascinating humans in this world. just listening to you talk like you are absolutely in one of those categories for where I sit back and I’m probably gonna end this podcast and wonder what am I doing with my life? Um, but um, you know, but, so kind of going back to this, uh, this [01:00:00] idea of.

Um, you know, everything is kind of constantly up leveling and something like we, we feel like we’re getting better, like we’re getting an we’ve, we’ve done some really positive disruption, but then everything up levels around that. Like, what do you think the implications of that are for kind of traditional finance and banking?

And then, um, you know, kind of coming full circle back to, you know, why do you think it’s then so important for the collaboration to happen within the FinTech, uh, ecosystem to be able to constantly, you know, evolve and, and up level alongside that. Um,

Sanjib: Like, um, one big, big point is like understanding your end consumer’s needs. And, and if you use that as like a bit of a springboard for everything else, I think that that that, that will be helpful for however things evolve. Um, and, and, um, So, so like if, like even going back to like [01:01:00] that credit card example initially, you know if you think of, you know, my goal in life is to, is credit cards versus my goal in life is to help people access payments or money when, when they don’t have it physically with them.

Josh: Um,

Sanjib: Uh, to, you know, two, two very different things. You could take it to many different ways and obviously like. You don’t want to make it, like, too big because then you’re going to be trying to boil the ocean. Um, but if you are able to tie it back to, um, some kind of a core need, customer need, then that at least enables you to, like, stay in reality and then think about, um, and then figure out, okay, what technology makes sense to use. Um, and, and what technology might, and then you also have to think about like what technology is going to be able to [01:02:00] evolve as the customer needs evolve or as the use cases evolve. Um, so, so that, that up leveling, um, is, you know, a lot of, most companies don’t necessarily do that very well.

Like there’s a disruptor that comes in and then. And then you’re, you’re sort of forced to, like, follow and, and try to see if you can save as much of your business as you can. But, um, if you, and also to this point, like, um, a lot of times, like, there are some, uh, customers that are, like, that, that, that their needs are, like, so advanced that, like, they might be sort of lead, lead thought, you know, thought leaders as far as, like, where the market’s going to go or how the market might move.

And, and so the, it’s sort of like having. A diverse, you know, thinking about customer needs from, but from a diversity of,

of customers, that, that, that’s also very helpful.[01:03:00] 

Josh: Yeah. Um, no, I think that makes a lot of sense when you look at just the power of, of these types of events and why, like we’ve been talking about, right? I mean, we can do a lot of this virtually, but why there’s a lot of power and actually getting to sit down with people. Um, and again, I mean, I’ve said this far too many times on this podcast, but it’s also why I love this podcast.

It’s just, I think diversity of thought is probably one of the most powerful things that we have. Right. Um, if you’re trying to go at it alone, like 

Sanjib: Yeah. Yeah.

Josh: seriously. And I think, especially when we come back to kind of the noble efforts of this industry, right? I mean, the impacts that we can have on real people’s lives,

um, and the freedom that, you know, financial health and stability and security provide is.

Truly life changing. So if we can look at how can we collaborate to leverage, um, you know, [01:04:00] existing plus technology and kind of this heart element of it all. There’s a ton of opportunity. And even just, you know, my example of the, of the girl at touch bros this morning, right? there’s still a really big need able to solve for some of these gaps in getting people to that place where they feel comfortable and confident and successful in their financial health and stability and wellbeing.

And, um, so I think there’s a lot of opportunities still out there. So it’s really cool to see. Um, you know, folks like yourself and organizations like fintech meetup and, you know, the conference, uh, circuit as a whole, just, just putting people in a place to collaborate and taking down those barriers of disruption and innovation and allowing people to think outside the box.

But you also made a really good point that I don’t want to gloss over, which is. Um, I think what makes entrepreneurs like yourself so fascinating to me, it’s just not my DNA. And, and it’s really to your point, like if you’re too far out there, [01:05:00] it’s just not going to stick. But if you’re too close, it doesn’t actually do any disruption.

And there’s this magical space in between. it’s really hard to hit that magical space in between.

Sanjib: it, it, it, it is. And, and it, it, it sort of, I, I, I think like, uh, I, who was it? I I might’ve been Bill Gross or something. Like, he did an analysis of like startups that failed and what, what, and the reason that they failed and timing was like, I think the top factor

or, and,

It’s sort of EE even if you even thinking about like just investing, like stock investing. Um, like if you’re trying to do a timing strategy. You’re, you’re never, you’re going to lose. It’s really hard to get. And this is a, you know, like, like an equities market. Um, so, so timing is really hard. It’s, it’s sort of like you, um, I [01:06:00] think part of, and this is also sort of why like so many entrepreneurs talk about pivots. It is a bit like, you know, you, you, you have a certain idea of how the, you feel the world is going to move and you build something for that. But then, you, you know, It might not happen for the mass market, but it might happen for, let’s say, the small business segment, or might happen for cross border, or might happen for, uh, you know, large enterprise.

So it’s sort of like, there’s having a, you know, being able to look at the world in a diverse manner also helps you figure out, like, what, what might be a natural home for what you have at the moment as well.

Josh: Yeah, okay. I have to ask a question then. I’m really curious to get your Unbridled take on what do you think of FedNow?

Sanjib: Oh, wow. Uh, yeah, it’s, it’s,

it’s, yeah, [01:07:00] yeah, yeah, yeah, I, I, I, I, I love it. Um, I mean, I, I think it’s, um, so sort of like, uh, you know, just to date myself, like back in, um, you know, when we sold a TX via to Google, I, I was, um, I was trying to come up with product requirements for like bank account access. And, and, and, and, so, um, I, I, like, I, and I was looking at it initially in the U.

S., but then also looking at it internationally, too, like, so, for example, the U. K. And, I, I was, like, just so, I, I, I had only worked in financial services in the U. S., so I just sort of thought that that’s the way everything worked. But then when I looked at U. K., I’m like, Oh, wow, you can actually do things faster and do things and like, wow, and, and, and, and so it’s, it’s definitely like a case where, um, now I’m seeing like, oh, wow, it’s, it’s great to see, you know, that, that [01:08:00] real time element of it, um, you know, come to the States. Um, but also it’s, you know, having spoken to. Um, a lot of financial institutions. There’s obviously like, you know, faster payments also means faster risk, faster fraud. And, and, and so, you know, balancing that is, it’s really hard as, as you know. And, and, and, um, so I, I think it’s, it’s gonna be like, um, like, like a lot of things.

It’s gonna be, happen in like, be available for limited use cases, and then it will expand with more data. Um, also, like, just to take it back to, like, when I first joined Citibank, um, you know, in 2001, you know, the big, big question was, will consumers ever be comfortable putting their credit cards online, credit card

information online? And that’s, that’s not a question now.

[01:09:00] Um, but, but, but like the questions in the initial days are very different from what what it, but it takes a

lot of work. Yeah.

Josh: Yeah, you know, I, I think that also is a good example of what we were talking about earlier of if you just carbon copy what we did to what we’re going to do. Um, 

Sanjib: Yeah. 

Josh: When one of things we hear all the time, right? If you do things the way you did them, but if you do things differently, you’re going to face some of the same challenges.

And I think that’s been something that just personally, you know, Ihis is one of the reasons why I wanted to really talk to you about it being a, you know, self prescribed technology and payments geek,

um, is,

you know, when that’s one of the things we hear all the time, right. It is like faster payments equals faster fraud.

It absolutely does. You do things the way you did them, if you do things differently. You know, we’re actually seeing a significantly lower amount of fraud 

Sanjib: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yes.

Josh: but yes, if you 

Sanjib: That’s a great point.

Josh: logic you don’t [01:10:00] say our technology is upleveling, how uplevel with it? Yeah. Faster payments equals faster fraud without better tech, but better tech, actually better, but those are really hard.

Like, to your point of getting things to be actually mainstream and. And that’s really hard for legacy industry to wrap around sometimes well, no, I mean. If we just make the payment faster, then the bad guys will get the money faster. Yes, but without the right safeguards

the right safeguards changes everything.

And I think that’s just a lot of what we’ve been talking about. I think that just felt like a really real example of if we think about things differently and continue to evolve the technology instead of just turning the credit card 90 degrees,

sorry, that was just such a good example from earlier. I like using it.

Um, Then yeah, I mean, you know, what is it Einstein’s you keep trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result is this stupid?

Sanjib: Yeah. Yeah. 

Josh: So yeah do something [01:11:00] different. I don’t know Um, but what do you think are going to be like looking in, uh, you seem to have a pretty good track record with the crystal ball.

So do you think the impacts of kind of radically changing the way the payments ecosystem in the U. S. works, like, what do you think the implications of that are going to be? And, and like you said, it’s going to start with really small use cases, but what do you see are the, some of the potential opportunities or challenges that are going to come along with this change?

Sanjib: Sorry. I think there was a network glitch for a bit, so I didn’t hear the question. Could you,

Josh: Oh, no worries. Yeah. I was just saying. So, um, you know, with kind of that transition to a new, faster payment method, um, you know, what do you think are going to be looking at the short term kind of use cases, but applying, you know, your pretty successful crystal ball look at what maybe some of the later use cases are going to be.

What do you think? Some of the disruption that’s going to happen based on that is going to be, you know, you

Sanjib: Yeah. [01:12:00] Um. I think, um. Like, even, um, I, I, I, I, I think that I, I’m particularly interested or curious about business models and, and like, um, so, so for example, like, you know, like how, for example, like smartphones and stuff like that, like so much of it is subscription based, uh, whereas before it might’ve been more, uh, Like, uh, download based or product based, um, and, and that, that’s sort of on the, on the end user, like, end user side, but I think on the back end side, like, um, how you create things, right, right, you know, has traditionally been, like, corporation based, and then, you know, you, you’re gonna have that disaggregated as well, too, and, [01:13:00] and, like, so, um, I don’t mean to go off on a completely, you know, weird tangent, but like, you know, rather than having to have a corporation to, let’s say, design a chip, like, say, if you could design a chip and then, like, get various elements of the design from these different engineers and combine them, and they’re all their independent entities, um, and they work together.

It’s, it’s like. You know, then you have like different, um, ways of payments, different ways of, um, it’s, it’s a bit of like, you know, thinking about even like the creator economy and extending that even further, you know, thinking about like Patreon and like how, you know, you have these new business models for creating content, um, and, and, um, I, so, so like, I think like, um, you know, like, Even like how the music industry is now very different. [01:14:00] Um, I, I, I, I sort of, I think that the business models for a lot of things are, are gonna really change and I, I’m, you know, I’m, uh, hopefully I don’t sound too crazy saying that, but that,

Josh: No, I think that, but that’s what I, that’s what I’m really curious about, right? Like is, is. you know, so actually it’s funny, the very last episode I record is the first time I’ve ever let somebody from my own organization be on. And I had Siva on

and we just talked about kind of like, um, you know, what we saw in 2023, some predictions for 24.

And obviously, you know, FedNow was one of the big topics of this last year. So we were talking a little bit about that. And, you know, one of the things Siva talks about is that if you look at kind of the, um, the money movement in the U S as a quadrant. Um, where, you know, your vertical axis is cost and your horizontal axis is speed

And the one we were missing was [01:15:00] fast and cheap. And so we finally have that and that’s going to have really significant impacts to your point on like how business is actually able to operate in the U S because of how currency will be able to flow. And I mean, we’re talking impacts to GDP could be realized in kind of late state of.

Of this type of evolution of money movement in the U. S.

no, I don’t, I don’t think you’re off base. I’m, I’m, I’m like, no, keep going. Like, I want to hear you know, conspiracy theory hypothesis. Um, because who knows, like we were talking about earlier, like sometimes we start with one thing in mind and what it actually ends up becoming is something totally different.

Um, and it’s, you know, the, the people are thinking about it, the innovators. Of course. Um, that, like you said, are kind of ahead of that and seeing what the technology is, is, and being able to pivot. but yeah, no, I mean, just any other predictions on what you think, you know, being able to kind of change the payments landscape is going to have for the U. [01:16:00] S.

Sanjib: I mean, I think, um, so it will, um, I think it’s going to, and I do think that we’re going to need, um, I guess, personal bots to control some of our payments, I think, and control our money much more so than we do now. Right now, it’s sort of like we Um, you know, we’re able to look online and see our credit card, look at, uh, you know, a, a transaction happens when I do this or that, you know, it’s, whereas like if, if things, if you’ve lowered the cost of, of doing a payment, you could do it much more frequently,

uh, and in lower volume, um, and, and meaning that, um, you know, it’s, it’s a bit of like earned wage, wage access, right?

Like, you know, you could get your money, As you earn it. Uh, but, but, but [01:17:00] then take that to, to the other side as well too, like in terms of payments and things like that. So, um, it, it, it, it’s, and which is, which is cool, but it, it also means that you’re getting data much more frequently.

Um, you’re, you’re probably getting it more data from more sources, so that that could potentially be very, uh, overwhelming.

Josh: Yeah. 

Sanjib: and then, so, that’s why I think that. You know, we’re going to need bots, personal, different types of personal bots to control our money than, versus like, having it all, and they might roll

up, but that’s, you know, is that enough of a, you know, aluminum foil hat thing?

Josh: No, I don’t. That’s actually a really cool perspective, Sanjib. Like seriously, I, you know, cause that’s actually one that I’ve been really, um, that’s a use case. I’ve been really keen on personally.

Right. You think about, I think [01:18:00] that, uh, one of the most recent data points I have is something like 60 percent of us consumers still live paycheck to paycheck.

Right. And so if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you get paid on the 15th, but your electric bill is due on the 14th, you have a problem, right? And so if we get to a point where we can do earned wage access you can be paid at the end of the day or the end of the job um, you know, whatever it may be, yes, that frequency increases.

And if you also speed up the payment on the other side, it means I can make my electric payment at 1159 and 58 seconds

that night before it’s late tomorrow and still be on on time payment.

Sanjib: Yeah.

Josh: Um, and I have waited for all of my earned wage access to meet that point. But point, I never really thought about the complexity that that will create for.

Quite frankly, a simple lay person, Like somebody that that’s an overwhelming amount of data. And like all of a sudden, like, Oh my gosh, I get paid every seven minutes. Like, so how do I [01:19:00] budget for, well, I have 9 now and I’ll have 11 and six more minutes and then I’ll have 13 and six more minutes. And then like, so when can I pay my freaking electric bill?

Um, and I think that is, that’s a super, super astute point to talk about. Like, that’s where I think some of these AI. Um, you know, recommendation kind of can really have an impact. So it’s like, we’re taking some of that complexity out of it. So we just say, Hey Sanjib, like your employer is now paying you earned wage access every day.

At the end of the day, we see that these are your bills. So we’re going to recommend, and we’re going to make the payment for this on this date and this, dates. Um, really simplifying that process. I think that, that to me is kind of like the Holy grail of this whole thing, right? Is, is getting to a point where we’re really simplifying people’s financial lives to improve their financial health and futures.

we can accomplish that, that’s, I [01:20:00] think what we’re trying to get with all of this, right? I don’t 

Sanjib: Mm. No, I, it, it, it, it’s, um, you know, the, the, um, it’s funny, I, I was on a, uh, a prep call earlier today, uh, of, for, for FinTech Meetup and it was about, um, financial health. And, and, and, uh, one of the speakers was talking about like how, you know, there’s sort of a myth that like if you tell people enough that they will do it. But that’s not the case. It’s not the case. And everybody laughed. And we’re like, yeah, we could relate to that.

And you don’t think about it, but it’s like for financial services, it’s sort of like, you know, you tell people you should save this, you should save this, you repeat it. Or, you know, you should invest. It’s not going to make it. You know,

there’s um, repetition isn’t the solution to the problem.

Josh: No, that’s a good point. [01:21:00] Um, Sanjib I feel like I could literally talk to you for days. I can’t even begin to tell you how much, uh, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation with you. Um, and I really look forward to, um, you know, people being able to collaborate because of people like you. Um, putting the thought behind really creating and cultivating experiences around collaboration and specifically in, in our industry.

So I just, I would literally want to tip my hat to you and, um, and your team of folks, uh, there at FinTech meetup and what you’ve done just in the past for facilitating this. So thank you for what you’ve done.

Sanjib: Thank you very much, Josh, and it was a privilege to be here, and I really enjoyed this conversation with you.

Josh: Well, before I let you go, I have two final questions for you. So if people want to connect with you or learn more about you, and if they want to learn more about FinTech meetup. Um, how can they do that?

Sanjib: Yeah. So I’m quite active on LinkedIn. Uh, so my first name is S A N J I B. Uh, last name is [01:22:00] K A L I T A, so I’m on LinkedIn /in/SanjibKalita. So that’s, uh, that’s how they can get in touch with me there. I’m, uh, I, and, and for FinTech Meetup, it’s, uh, I, I, my email address is sanjib @ finTech, F I N T E C H meetup, M E E T U P . Com. And, uh, you can go to the website, uh, learn more about, about the event. And, you know, hopefully, you know, we’ll see many of you, many of your listeners there.

Josh: Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I’m just hoping for a discount out of this now, but, uh, um, seriously, I, I can’t recommend the event enough. It’s, it’s a really phenomenal event. If you want to just get in, get down to brass tacks and just connect with people and talk about the things that are interesting. It’s such a cool forum for that.

So kudos, kudos to the thought process there. last but not least, um, Just out of curiosity, where do you go to stay up to date on what’s happening in our industry? What [01:23:00] other kind of shout outs can you give for places you’d like to go to get information?

Sanjib: Yeah, so, so I, I, like, I, I think I mentioned to you, like, I, I love business and technology. So, like, when I was a technologist, I used to love reading business stuff. And now that I’m in business, I love reading technology stuff. So, I always sort of feel like I need to augment it. Like, so, like, on the technology side of things, like, I actually, I really enjoy Wired, and just, like, sort of

their future view on things, and stuff that, and then, like, even, like, uh, stuff like the MIT Technology Review, and, you know, the, the, the, those types of things.

And, and, um, Uh, like, like some of the more academic stuff I think is too deep for me. So like, I, I don’t even try So, so, and, and then like, as far as

Josh: That’s terrifying. If something’s too deep for you, I’m just going to stay way the heck away from it then.

Sanjib: I actually, I for, from within our industry, like I, I do [01:24:00] follow, you know, I actually LinkedIn is what I sort of live and breathe a lot of knowledge from there and like try to click on, and you know, it’s sort of like, um, obviously going to events and meeting people, that’s, that’s, that’s obviously a huge thing for me as well too.

Josh: Love it. Well, again, uh, Sanjib, thank you so much for this time. It has been absolute pleasure just getting to know you, uh, hear a little bit of your story and your insight has been just absolutely fascinating. Like I can’t get over So you so much for coming and being a guest on the digital banking podcast.

Sanjib: Thank you Josh, it was my pleasure.

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