By John Heaven
Angst has taken its place alongside words like schadenfreude and rucksack as one of the few pieces of German vocabulary that have entered common English parlance. Is German angst the reason people here hold onto their cash, shunning card payment in many stores? Is this why I have a bank employee assigned to manage my account, and I know her name and meet her once a year? Not to mention everyone’s favourite objection to progress: datenschutz – data protection!
Germans are the first to admit – and often lament – their purported reluctance to embrace change. We’re so far behind the rest of the world. If only we could pull ourselves together and look on the bright side.
Well maybe we can. There is a case to be made that looking before you leap is not a bad idea. And that’s what our conference, FinForward, is all about this year: casting our minds into the future and thinking about the consequences. For business, society, politics and individuals. What happens when cash is used less and less? Whom can I trust with my data? After all, if you want to do business in Germany – and it’s a huge market – then you will need to understand how customers here tick.
Some may argue that a healthy level of scepticism is helpful especially within the Fintech community. Generally, Fintech companies pride themselves on listening to customers, making technology work for them rather than against them, and taking on board the moral considerations that are important especially to millennials. Add to that the crisis in trust in traditional financial organisations, and you see that moving fast and breaking things is not always the best strategy in Fintech.
Or is it? How else can you learn unless you move fast and fail faster? You tell us! We want to continue a conversation that will help us deliver a bright future. We’re working on the line-up and one thing we’re not afraid to predict: it’s going to be a great day of talking, debating and learning about our favourite topic.
Tickets for FinForward 2019 – Don’t Be Afraid of German Angst are now on sale. Become an early bird until 2 August. And if you’re still unsure, subscribe to the FinForward newsletter and stay up to date on programme, speakers and other plans.