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Episode #17: Mike Bechtel

Episode 17

Mike Bechtel makes his living as a futurist – but in order to make predictions about tomorrow, he grounds himself in the past. “Futurists are just secretly historians,” he says.

Bechtel is Deloitte’s chief futurist and talks with David about how companies can prepare for the future while also tempering their expectations based on experience. He gives insights into what he feels will drive the technology of tomorrow – “going beyond the screen,” says Bechtel – and how corporate leaders can devise a plan to keep up.

Bechtel also says the banker of the future will “lead with need.”

Featured Guest: Mike Bechtel

As chief futurist with Deloitte Consulting LLP, Mike Bechtel helps clients develop strategies to thrive in the face of discontinuity and disruption. His team researches the novel and exponential technologies most likely to impact the future of business, and builds relationships with the startups, incumbents, and academic institutions creating them.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Bechtel led Ringleader Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm he co-founded in 2013. Before Ringleader, he served as CTO of Start Early, a national not-for-profit focused on early childhood education for at-risk youth. Bechtel began his career in technology R&D at a global professional services firm where his dozen US patents helped result in him being named that firm’s global innovation director. He currently serves as professor of corporate innovation at the University of Notre Dame.

David Reiling Headshot

David Reiling

David Reiling is an innovative social entrepreneur focused on empowering individuals through community banking and financial technology. David is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years.

Featured Music

Phil Madeira

"Wicked Job"

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Mike Bechtel: You got a lead with need. Right? There’s you know, cliches are cliches for a reason. And one of them is that necessity is the mother of invention. And we hear that in sixth grade and then promptly forget it for the rest of our life. But that’s it. The winning start-ups the winning corporates, the winning banks, the winning social enterprises, see a need, fill a need.

[00:00:24] Mike Bechtel: Don’t start with shiny bling. Don’t start with eyeballs and customer acquisition costs, lifetime value metrics and all these other echoes and shadows. Start with the itch worth scratching, then you’re going to be cooking with gas.

[00:00:42] David Reiling: Welcome to the NextGen Banker podcast, where we explore what’s next in banking and talk with the innovators responsible for creating positive change in the financial sector.

[00:00:51] David Reiling: I am your host, David Reiling and I am very excited to welcome Mike Bechtel today. Mike, thanks for being on the NextGen Banker podcast.

[00:00:59] Mike Bechtel: Oh, thanks for having me, David. It’s a treat!

[00:01:01] David Reiling: Fantastic. So, before we get started, just a reminder to our audience to stick around and hear our musical feature at the end of the episode. Each NexGen Banker episode showcase one new artist from somewhere around the globe representing a wide range of different genres. So be sure to check it out.

[00:01:18] David Reiling: So today I am excited to have Mike Bechtel with us. And Mike is the Chief Futurist at Deloitte, one of the largest accounting and professional service firms in the world. He is also a professor at the University of Notre Dame, teaching corporate innovation. He’s a co-founder and managing partner of Ringleader Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in software startups.

[00:01:40] David Reiling: And before all that Mike was the Chief Technology Officer at Start Early, a non-profit committed to providing quality early childhood experiences in the first five years of life. So, Mike, I got to start out because I love the concept of having the title of a futurist, but where did your interest in curiosity in kind of assuming that role come from?

[00:02:03] Mike Bechtel: Well, you know, I have to tell you, David, that title serves as a very useful barometer because you find that people either lean in, or they lean back, cross their arms, and say, what’s this guy going to be going on about? But you know, for me, it really came from, it really started early in my career. You know, I was a liberal arts guy with, with a creative disposition in college, you know, anthropology philosophy, you know, government, political science, all those sorts of things.

[00:02:38] Mike Bechtel: But because I graduated into 1998, You know, if you could spell www, you were handed a laptop and told, go build the future. And, and so despite my being a consultant for the first 12 years in the last four years of my career, I always thought of myself as a bit more of a, of a creative, a bit more of a pioneer.

[00:03:03] Mike Bechtel: And so, having found my tribe, if you will, in the, in the emerging technology groups, the research and development groups, the inventors, the, the, the change makers, as opposed to the order takers. I think I realized that I’d been working in all things newfangled for 25 years and a natural next step was to professionalize that and do it for a living as a, as a futurist.

[00:03:29] David Reiling: So that’s fantastic. So, I’m one of those that lean into that conversation because I, that I feel like that’s my tribe. And I, I heard you describe the future one time as translucent. And that always is kind of like ring the bell in my head because a lot of times when I’m looking at strategy and so forth for the bank, I’m like, you know, the direction is clear, the compass is this way. And I can kind of paint some pictures but it’s not a photograph. And so, when you think of translucent what does that sound like to you?

[00:03:59] Mike Bechtel: Yeah, no for sure. David, you know, when you talk about futures studies, the first thing people understandably conjure up in there, in their mind’s eye is, is the crystal ball prediction. This not that. Babe Ruth pointing towards where the ball will be. And, and the good thing about that is if you get it right, you get undue adulation,

[00:04:28] Mike Bechtel: But if you get it wrong, it’s, it’s a never-ending game of “Gotcha”. And so, when we say the future is translucent, what we mean and, you know, get nerd alert, get ready for vocab, barrage, but skeptics will tell you the future’s opaque, right, they’ll say, well, you can’t know it. Anytime on it is folly. We’ve got, we’ve got problems today.

[00:04:56] Mike Bechtel: On the flip side, you’ve got wide-eyed optimists who say the future is clear. Well, we believe translucent is the right word rather than transparent, because what we’re saying is you can make out the shapes and shadows, but not the fine details in how. Well, David pro-tip futurists are just secretly historians.

[00:05:19] Mike Bechtel: And so, we look back to make sense of where we’ve been the journey to current, and then we don’t project one future, we don’t call one shot. We say evidence suggests it’s going to be one of these two or three probable futures let’s overweight our investments in those directions.

[00:05:35] David Reiling: Got it. And so, is there a combo here?

[00:05:39] David Reiling: Is there science and maybe a little bit of crystal ball art? I mean, you do this long enough and you’re like, “Hey, the data suggests this and the data suggests that, but you know what? The data has just suggested that before, but we know it kind of goes sideways, not straight.”

[00:05:55] Mike Bechtel: Yeah. Yeah. There’s definitely, there’s definitely models, rubrics, frameworks, science involved.

[00:06:03] Mike Bechtel: But to your point, some of it is pattern recognition and lived experience. You know, the best thing is to be a student of history, to see where, where things have been so that we can project where they might go. The second-best thing is to you know, not that we need to bring age into is, is a discriminating characteristic, but a little gray hair goes a long way.

[00:06:30] Mike Bechtel: I’ll give you; I’ll give you an example. Breathless excitement over the last three months about the metaverse.

[00:06:37] David Reiling: Oh, well of course. Yeah.

[00:06:38] Mike Bechtel: Yeah. So, I mean, if you’re a digital native born into the mobile web and suddenly the world is going beyond this glowing 16 by 9 rectangle, it feels like a revolution, a step change of, of not just degree, but of kind. Well, for those of us who are as much geezer as geek, you know, I we’ve seen this movie before.

[00:07:03] Mike Bechtel: I hear the clumsy exposition around the metaverse, and I think back to 1996. Right? When folks were saying, well, why, why would an accountancy need one of these inter websites? Right. And so, to your point, I think a little bit of lived experience goes a long way in, in tempering, the models and the science with some, with some instinct.

[00:07:29] David Reiling: Yeah, it was funny. I was having a conversation with my daughter who like, you know, all things are Reddit and YouTube and whatever else. And, you know, I listened to his podcast, therefore I’m a professional. And she’s a super smart woman. But I was explaining to her, you know, there’s data and then there’s information and then there’s knowledge, but then there’s wisdom. Which is the future, it is time irrelevant.

[00:07:52] David Reiling: And so, I was trying to give her some perspective of, you know, you’re learning a lot of things, but you just don’t know it all yet, even though you’re very bright and very smart. And so, it’s that perspective for sure. Now, if I was in your class at the University of Notre Dame, what, what would I expect? What are the themes, what I’d be thinking about when I’m talking about corporate innovation, I’m just absolutely curious about this and would love to…

[00:08:19] Mike Bechtel: Yeah. No, I’ll, I’ll tell you the, the, the low hanging fruit, the, the, the joke I’ll make about myself is that, you know, corporate innovation is an oxymoron, you know, like jumbo shrimp.

[00:08:28] Mike Bechtel: Sure. Yeah. But, but here’s, here’s the, the straight scoop on that one. Our university, my Alma mater you know, you know, the old joke. How do you know somebody went to Notre Dame? They’ll tell you in the first 10 minutes. Yeah. But we have a graduate program. We call it ESTEEM and it’s a play on words. It’s a mashup of E for entrepreneurship.

[00:08:51] Mike Bechtel: And then the, the stem in esteem is steem. Right? Yep. And so, what’s that mean? Well, in plain English, we teach young adults, it’s a graduate program, who, who generally, well, not just young adults, all adults who, who are looking to infuse a little entrepreneurial mojo into their stem undergraduate base. So, you know, I use geek as a word to be celebrated.

[00:09:17] Mike Bechtel: So, we’re, we’re, we’re turbocharging geeks with a little bit of entrepreneurial savvy. Right?

[00:09:22] David Reiling: Love it. Yeah.

[00:09:23] Mike Bechtel: Well, what we learned, David was as much sound and fury is spent teaching the rules of the road around entrepreneurship, around startups, around grassroots business, founding there’s a whole world of innovators working in large established organizations.

[00:09:44] Mike Bechtel: Yeah. That, that feel, that feel like they can lean on some of the tropes of Silicon Valley, but not all of them. Right? It, as one of my headlines in that class is disruptive innovation, move fast and break things. It doesn’t work in a hundred-year-old firm that’s paying your salary, right? You need to approach that constructively. Right? With respect, for the best practices that got us to current and the pioneering spirit to explore whether or not there might be better ones. And so, a lot of that class, what, what do you learn? You learn how to; you learn how to pull the organization forward without disrespecting it or breaking the cash cow in the process.

[00:10:27] David Reiling: Exactly. Beautiful. And that is such a lovely and fine line. I call them the, the intrepreneurs of our company, because they’re always looking to have that continuous improvement and so forth. And some of them are very bold and forward with it. We got to do this, and others are, you know, if we tried it this way, and they totally set you up for the sale. And you’re like, well, why wouldn’t we do that?

[00:10:50] David Reiling: So yes, there is quite a bit of art there. Now I got to just go back to one thing that you triggered in my head, cause it, it came off another interview that I think was on YouTube of you. And I think I’ve used it three times now in the past 48 hours.

[00:11:02] David Reiling: And that is you had the definitions between invention and innovation. And to me that just lit my brain up and I’m like, oh my gosh, that is what I’ve been trying to describe to people for so long. So, I’m going to, I’m going to hand that one over on a dish because I want to see if I interpreted it correctly.

[00:11:22] Mike Bechtel: Yeah. I I’m grateful with, with sincerity, man. I’m grateful for the time you spent, you know, preparing and thinking about our talk because I, I it, it, it means the world. And I think it’s a great reflection on your, your passion for the space.

[00:11:37] David Reiling: I’m just a student in this journey. I got a graduate degree. It’s from the school of hard knocks, more than anything else.

[00:11:45] Mike Bechtel: The, so, so here, if it’s the definition, I think you’re talking about, okay, there’s a great story behind this. And that is 15 years ago. I was asked to serve as my former firms first global innovation director and with the, with the insecurity and youth that comes with having a title like that at the ripe old age of 30, I did what any self-respecting motor mouth would do.

[00:12:21] Mike Bechtel: And created about a 30-page definition for innovation, because clearly it couldn’t be simple, you know, it, it, it, it needed to be, you know, appendices until the cows come home. Right. Well, what I learned over the ensuing years was that the best definitions, the best frames are always simple. Doesn’t mean they’re simplistic.

[00:12:46] Mike Bechtel: It means they’re clear. And. The story is I’m looking online for simple pithy descriptions. And I see on Wikipedia and it’s no longer there. Right? Okay. And you know, high school teachers everywhere are doing the Kermit the frog wrinkle face. Like that’s not a reputable source. Well, it’s useful. Right. And I saw an IP address from Cincinnati, Ohio.

[00:13:07] Mike Bechtel: I’ll never knew who the genius was, who wrote this, but they said invention is the conversion of money into new ideas. Innovation is the conversion of new ideas into money. And I just thought, oh my goodness, isn’t that it, because the lab coat crowd obsesses over novelty, look at this new thing I made. Can I get a grant for it?

[00:13:34] Mike Bechtel: The entrepreneur crowd says, look at this new way to create value for others, financial, social, or beyond.

[00:13:44] David Reiling: Right. Awesome. And it’s so applicable in my world when it comes to, and a lot of times we run into technology, and we run into people with new ideas. And again, what they’re building this thing and people are going to come and if I could just get the funding for it and build it a little bit more and I’ll build it a little bit more and they keep building and building they’re inventing this thing.

[00:14:09] David Reiling: And as opposed to, I look at someone in the innovative world and they’re. I have this big juicy problem and it’s been weighing me down, but I finally got to the point where I felt confident enough to come up with the solutions that take the problem apart. And I figured it out. And I’m in now in the clarity zone.

[00:14:30] David Reiling: I’m like, yeah, baby, this is what we got. We’re going out.

[00:14:33] Mike Bechtel: I’ll tell you what David, one of the number one things that I’ve learned, in my own hard knock journey through innovation land, is that too often, even innovators, they start with the hammer and then go searching for nails. And the, the time honored the time honored, you know, approach the time honored, best practice to use a nerd word you got to lead with need.

[00:15:06] Mike Bechtel: Right? There’s you know, cliches are cliches for a reason. And one of them is that necessity is the mother of invention. And we hear that in sixth grade and then promptly forget it for the rest of our life. But that’s it. The winning start-ups the winning corporates, the winning banks, the winning social enterprises.

[00:15:23] Mike Bechtel: See a need, fill a need. Don’t start with shiny bling. Don’t start with eyeballs, customer acquisition costs, lifetime value metrics and all these other echoes and shadows start with an itch worth scratching.

[00:15:39] David Reiling: Yep.

[00:15:40] Mike Bechtel: Then you’re going to be cooking with gas.

[00:15:42] David Reiling: Absolutely. So, I’m going to, I’m going to take a turn on you here.

[00:15:46] David Reiling: We’ll go to financial services. And so now banking, financial services in general, banking especially it’s being disrupted by small tech and big tech alike by the minute. I used to say by the day, but that’s not even accurate anymore. And I would say a lot of banks are in a position like we are, and we’re focused on our nuts and bolts.

[00:16:07] David Reiling: We got to do a core migration. We got to go to the cloud, we’ve got to do some data stuff. And there’s a lot of data stuff to do. And it’s all on a quest of, I got to lower my cost of tech now because I got to invest in new tech, but quite frankly, I still have to drive the car while I’m changing the wheels.

[00:16:24] David Reiling: Yeah. It ain’t all that easy. What do you see next? While I’m, well, we’re busy doing that. Someone’s got to look out the windshield and say, you know, don’t crash into this, or don’t go the wrong way. Yeah. What do you see as next on that technology frontier?

[00:16:40] Mike Bechtel: So. I’ll tell you; I love your characterization.

[00:16:45] Mike Bechtel: And I am, I might borrow that several times the next 48 hours, the car cause, cause you’re right. You’re, you’re racing at 200 miles an hour and you got to do the gas, no pit stops, right? No pit stops the, the way we encourage our clients to think about it. And, and I think the way that, that I’ve seen work at organizations, small, medium, and jumbo is you want to allocate, you want a hard circle, some percentage of your budgets and your time and your team to wake up in the morning, thinking about the implementation of the new and the exploration of the next. The key is. You don’t drop what you’re doing. You don’t give up on your, you know, rusty by trusty core.

[00:17:42] Mike Bechtel: You keep the majority, and by majority I’m talking 75, 85%, of your budget in your mind share is on nurturing the now. But the key is, you know, there’s that old quote, what strategy, you know, operations eat strategy for breakfast. They both eat innovation for lunch. Right? So, another quote, “Best way to make sure something doesn’t happen is to make it everybody’s part-time job.”

[00:18:06] Mike Bechtel: Right? Right. And so, by, by, by forcing yourself the accountability of hard circling, some people, some dollars around the exploration of what’s new, you know, yet another trope, the electric light didn’t come from the continuous improvement of candles. Right? And so, as long as you have the tungsten filament crowd, your bird dogging the future, that’s the first step.

[00:18:31] Mike Bechtel: Now you asked what’s common the way, the way we look at it, honestly, we don’t look at it as a, as a, as, as a blizzard of al-a-cart, unrelated buzzwords. Too often I think technologists, you know, they, they, they, you know, put, put, put up the sparkle fingers as my old business partner used to say and hit you with 650 buzzwords and worse. There’s another 650 behind those.

[00:19:02] David Reiling: Right. Totally I’ve heard those before.

[00:19:05] Mike Bechtel: Oh yeah right. Absolutely.

[00:19:08] Mike Bechtel: The, in truth, our research suggests that the whole honking history of IT, and when I say history, I mean, back to the 1840s, it’s really been a pretty linear evolution along three train tracks. Okay. They are in for the nerds and wizards in your audience. And again, that’s a compliment for me.

[00:19:33] David Reiling: That is my tribe as well

[00:19:36] Mike Bechtel: it’s that user interface, right? The UI, UX, the interaction, how we interact with machines. There’s the information layer. Right. W what we do with that, as you said, that knowledge, that information come wisdom, right? And then underneath it, all the computation, how we, how we crunch numbers. And for the last five-ish years, the story on, on those three have been about mobility and, you know, touch and swipe mobile digital experiences on interaction.

[00:20:11] Mike Bechtel: It’s been about analytics and data science coming into AI on information. It’s been about, well, it’s been about the cloud on computation. Sure. What’s next. Finally, only took me 17 minutes, but what’s next on all three it’s well, an interaction, David, it’s getting beyond the glass. It’s this recognition, man, that these, this ever-shrinking series of rectangles that we’ve been staring at, and that my kids have been lost in for the last, you know, 10 years.

[00:20:45] Mike Bechtel: The one thing we know is ain’t going to get smaller now, again, smaller than a smartwatch. Right? And so, what’s really next on the interaction-front is beyond the glass. It’s conversational voice. A couple of years ago, we thought smart speakers would be a fad. Tell that to my twelve-year-old who sees that as the most natural and simple computing interface.

[00:21:08] David Reiling: Absolutely. Yup.

[00:21:09] Mike Bechtel: Right on the information front what’s next is emotional, charismatic, even creative, AI. And I’ll tell you. Yeah, it’s it. Here’s the thing. David AI. There’s a fellow Larry Tesler from Xerox Park. Okay. He invented a copy paste, which I think that’s a low-key candidate for the most useful thing ever.

[00:21:38] Mike Bechtel: Totally. I mean, you know, dark horse. But he had the best definition of AI I ever saw. He said, AI is whatever the heck computers can’t do yet. And so, in 1996, that meant beaten Casper off in chess, right? And in 2006, it’s beating Ken Jennings in Jeopardy. In 2017, it’s beating Lisa Doll in Go.

[00:22:02] Mike Bechtel: The thing is this. And here here’s the punchline here on. We doubt, every time AI threatens to do something uniquely human, we doubt that it’ll happen, never happen. And then when it does, it’s interesting, the next morning we shrug it off. It’s not really AI.

[00:22:20] David Reiling: Right.

[00:22:21] Mike Bechtel: It’s because we have this pride of place as people. We want to create amazing things, but not greater than us.

[00:22:27] Mike Bechtel: If we can get over ourselves. Yeah. I’ll tell you; we can more readily accept that AI can detect and emulate human emotion cause it’s another form of data. Right. And we’re seeing it at our client’s call centers, right? These robots don’t need to be more charming than a Hollywood actor. They need to be more charming than your lowest performing rep.

[00:22:49] Mike Bechtel: Gotcha. And so, you know, the final piece landing, the plane is what’s new on, on computers. It’s all this blockchain stuff, man. And in blockchain had such an image problem 10 years ago, dark actors on the dark web. But what we’re finding is this emerging belief that none of us may be as, as trustworthy as all of us.

[00:23:10] Mike Bechtel: And so, what is decentralized computing, if not the democratization of trust and the recognition that no one counterparty should hold all the eggs in our baskets.

[00:23:23] David Reiling: Right. That doesn’t speak very well for intermediaries like a bank, but, but you’re right. The, I would agree with you. The trust in the zero-trust model are I mean, we talk about it all the time.

[00:23:38] David Reiling: We have a zero-trust model, so therefore we can function essentially in terms of authentication.

[00:23:43] Mike Bechtel: It’s true in, in, in another thing though, that I think that, that you have with Sunrise, and I don’t, I don’t intend to butter you up nor preach to the choir or the converted, but, but I think it puts, it puts your mission, your, your B Corp status, you’re in it, you know, in it for a broader set of reasons to the fore, because regardless of where the trust discussion goes or the technical discussion goes.

[00:24:16] Mike Bechtel: We’re seeing as future as this trend towards people affiliating with expressions of their value systems. And so regardless of how central or decentralized banking becomes you have other levers to sort of attract and retain a community that.

[00:24:33] David Reiling: Right. No, thank you for that. And that is a, that is the hope.

[00:24:37] David Reiling: Let me just take off on that real quick, because in a lot of the AI conversations that I have I seem to be in the minority because they’re like AI can get AI needs grandparents. It’s being weaponized. It’s doing all this. And I’m like, you know, I think AI could be used for some. Like we could discover people that don’t have access, or we could think of underwriting in a different way or risk in a different way.

[00:25:03] David Reiling: Or we could, we could start to take in different forms of data and patterns that we can’t even comprehend and begin to open up this magical thing called you know, financial services in the, in the fear that’s around money. And my question is, is there a force for good here? Is there AI for good?

[00:25:24] Mike Bechtel: There is absolutely AI for good David.

[00:25:26] Mike Bechtel: I love this. I love this this question in this space, because in my experience media, whether it be creative media or, or journalistic, it follows this, this age, old trope of if, if it bleeds it leads. And so, in a world where we, we, we quest for eyeballs and outrage cells, we tend to get the dark mirror right on just about everything.

[00:25:57] Mike Bechtel: Well, AI, we know that the naive state is that AI makes. Existing processes faster. It automates it accelerates. And as my colleague and our CTO at Deloitte, Bill, likes to say, you know, good does not come from making bad things faster. Well, here’s but here’s the scoop.

[00:26:21] Mike Bechtel: Therefore, in emerging AI ethics sort of point of view, a way of thinking has emerged, which is out to ensure that we do no harm, a sort of Hippocratic oath of IT. Teach your digital children. Well, I love the way you said it. AI needs grandparents. Beautiful. I think we can do one step better. And I think you’re foreshadowing that David namely, imagine a world where the use of AI doubles as a hygiene function, it forces organizations to say, what are the tacit values, social, ethical, moral beliefs that we know we feel, but we haven’t yet made explicit that we haven’t yet articulated that we haven’t made legible. Let’s surface those in a way that’s machine readable and therefore AI trainable.

[00:27:15] Mike Bechtel: And then to your point, let’s. Let’s build and train systems that embody who we wish to be, not who we’ve behaved as for the last 50 or 500 years. And, and, and I think that’s doing one better than doing no harm. I think that is to your excellent language. That’s AIML for good

[00:27:37] David Reiling: No that is fantastic. I could never describe it in that articulate way.

[00:27:43] David Reiling: The thing that the vision that’s in my head, if I interpret what she just said is, gosh, if we had all the data we needed for a consumer, let’s say to understand a purchase, and I’ll take, I’ll go down the climate or the greenhouse gas world, if they knew, if I purchased this product versus that product, this one’s carbon footprint is X and this is X minus.

[00:28:10] David Reiling: Well, I might go with the X minus because that’s my value driven. And I start to change. It starts to change my behavior, but it does it in real time when I’m in the grocery store or I’m purchasing something. And all of a sudden who I used to be, I used to purchase this brand. Now I purchased this other brand because of where my values are.

[00:28:28] David Reiling: So, the AI is working for me to change my behavior, but I wouldn’t have known that otherwise.

[00:28:32] Mike Bechtel: That’s exactly it. That it’s exactly it. It’s. You know, we use this term is as entrepreneurs as, as leaders this term externalities, right? This idea that there’s the things in our sphere, scope of control. And then there’s the other stuff.

[00:28:47] Mike Bechtel: Well, imagine, imagine that thinking applied to. Right? Traditionally AI and ML is trained on what business data, what kind of business data would we typically have? Financial data. Okay. We can train a mechanical mind to optimize financial outcomes. Not so fast my friend. What we’re, what we’re suggesting, what we’re concocting together is a future wherein by exposing these same algorithms to our social values, to our moral aspirational, ethical values, we can optimize across the, the whole enchilada and, and seek to optimize externalities because there is no such thing.

[00:29:31] David Reiling: Right. Wow. Cool. So, Mike, I’m going to, I’m going to bring you down here to the final question and it’s the NextGen Banker question.

[00:29:41] David Reiling: So, you know, as you look out into your, into that future, knowing what you know of the past. What does the next generation of banker look like?

[00:29:54] Mike Bechtel: That’s a fun one because it is as a, as a breadth guy. I treat, I, you know, I look at opportunities to jump into any given sector as, as a, as a treat, you know, it’s, it’s a chance to it’s a chance to feign sector specific guru-ness but here’s what I’d say, David.

[00:30:15] Mike Bechtel: Back to lead with need. Okay. It might feel a bit cliched, but I think the banker of the future, if it’s going to be like everything else in the future that we’re seeing in our research, the banker of the future leads with need and leading with need is increasingly a data-driven understanding of not just who is your customer and where is, for example, in, in your sector, what is their net worth, their free cash flow, et cetera, but where have they been? Where are they at? Where do they aspire to be?

[00:30:52] Mike Bechtel: And so, I think that the next gen banker has a data-driven understanding of every single customer’s past present future trajectory as modeled and data so that you can offer, and I’m going to purposely use video game language here, but it feels right, you can offer unlocks and achievements and shortcuts to these customers preferred tomorrows. And you’ll notice nowhere in there is, are there notions of interest rates or loans or anything it’s, we’re here to help you get to your preferred tomorrow, a little ahead of schedule, right?

[00:31:34] Mike Bechtel: The way you happen to do is through financial systems and engineering.

[00:31:38] David Reiling: Yeah. Wow. That’s fantastic. Yeah, we spend so much time, particularly as bankers. If we could just lower the rate, if it’s usually all about us, as opposed to, you know, I know they want a car loan, but they really don’t want a car loan. They, they want a car, you know, they’re trying to achieve that, and we’re all tied up in our own heads. Oh my gosh. Well, Mike, thank you so much for joining me today on the NextGen Banker. I appreciate your insights and in all your gosh, your creativity that you bring to this space, it is really fantastic. I wish you all the best and I hope our paths run across each other.

[00:32:14] Mike Bechtel: David it’s been absolutely my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks.

[00:32:21] Becca Hoeft: For this episode’s musical feature we’re showcasing Phil Madeira. Phil is a singer songwriter who has worked with the likes of Alison Krauss, Garth Brooks, Keb’ Mo’, and Emmylou Harris. His latest album Bliss comes out this month. Here is Wicked Job from his 2018 album Providence.

[00:32:54] Becca Hoeft: That was Wicked Job by Phil Madeira. You can hear more of Phil’s music on Spotify and at philmadeira.net. If you would like your music featured on the NextGen Banker podcast, email David@nextgen-banker.com with the link to your music and website. Thanks for listening to the NextGen Banker podcast.

[00:33:47] Becca Hoeft: We’ll see you around next time.

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