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Notes from BarCampBankBC

By Jim Bruene on September 22, 2008 6:08 PM | Comments (5)

imageI attended my second BarCampBank Saturday in Vancouver BC. I was part of the first North American camp in Seattle last July (coverage here).

For me, this one was more interesting. There were more people (50-60 compared to 30-40 in Seattle) and more financial institutions represented, including both credit unions and banks. HSBC Direct even helped sponsor the event.

image First a note of thanks to organizers William Azaroff of Vancity; Tim McAlpine, creator of Common Wealth CU's Young and Free program and  founder of Currency Marketing; and Gene Blishen, CEO of Mt. Lehman Credit Union who has the coolest graphics in the whole world (see inset). 

If you want to see session notes, check out the weekend entries at William's blog. He did an amazing job facilitating the sessions and live blogging. You can also watch archived video streams of five of the sessions, courtesy of Brent Dixon, posted at his Open Source CU blog (turn on the embedded player and click the "on demand" button in the lower bar). 

Here's what I highlighted in my notebook: 

  • Mobile could be more game-changing than we give it credit for. The ability to communicate in real-time as consumers engage in shopping, bill payment, and so on is so powerful, it's difficult to grasp the long-term implications. 
  • Social media tools like Twitter could be used to harness customers' reactions in real time, a virtual sentiment meter as one of the campers said (was that you Brent?) Why not have a "what are you thinking" box displayed after customers login. The responses could be aggregated and trended to see how the bank is performing over time.
    They could also be broadcast to all customers to build community.
  • Even in this progressive group, only two of the financial institutions are blogging: Vancity's ChangeEverything which is really more of a platform for social change than a true broadcast-type blog and Verity Credit Union (note 1). Reasons for not blogging seemed to be some variation of "lack of resources." It's hard to argue with that. But basic blogs such as UW Credit Union or Piedmont Credit Union, both of which I think are very effective, can be put together in just a few hours per week.
  • Financial literacy, or lack thereof, was a common theme and there seemed to be a consensus that the industry should help schools and parents do a better job preparing youth to handle money and debt. This is what iThyrv, which debuted at TechCrunch50 last week, is using as their primary market-entry strategy (previous post here). Andrew Taylor, Jwaala CEO, participating remotely via the live webcast, threw out the the idea of a financial literacy score similar to FICO. Again, that's part of the iThryv model. It's a good idea if it were to catch on, although that seems like a long shot.  

Note:
1. Many (most?) of the credit union representatives had personal blogs.

Comments (5)
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5 Comments

So very very glad you could make it Jim. You made BarCamping a whole lot more fun!

Thanks for making the journey. It was knowledgeable and interesting people like you that made this event so successful.

It amazing that all we had to do was put up a wiki page, blog a few times and 60+ people travelled from all around North America. An agenda was built on the fly and great discussion ensued.

Brent Dixon did an outstanding job of live streaming the event for those of us who weren't able to be there in person. I was able to attend some of the same sessions you did, Jim.

Fantastic seeing you again, Jim! You know you've achieved a certain status in the industry when at the beginning of a session someone says "wow, Jim Bruene, needs to be in on this one!"

Great to see you again Jim. Glad you could make it. Wish you could have stayed for Sunday it got exciting there for a bit.

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