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Jo Ann Barefoot discussion disrupting innovation in the financial services sector and beyond.

Jo Ann Barefoot discussion disrupting innovation in the financial services sector and beyond.
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Boston, MA


Jo Ann Barefoot discussion disrupting innovation in the financial services sector and beyond.




A Bright Future for Small Business, with Karen Mills

This is the second time I’ve sat down with Karen Mills for a conversation on Barefoot Innovation. Karen is a Senior Fellow at both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School (where I got to know her), and previously was the head of the US Small Business Administration. She is also probably the foremost expert, and most eloquent voice, anywhere, on using technology to strengthen small business. We got together, on a very rainy day on the Harvard campus, shortly after Karen...


Small Business Lending: Rob Frohwein and Kathryn Petralia of Kabbage

In our conversation, Rob and Kathryn tell their story, on how they’ve built a company that has extended $6 billion in credit to 165,000 people in the United States. They explain how they started with e-commerce companies and now service all small businesses. They describe their gradual realization that their loans can help these businesses manage cash flow -- a critical need. And they share their thinking on the regulatory challenges ahead for the space, including the risk that new...


The Future of Banking with Chris Skinner

My guest is the one-and-only Chris Skinner. Chris, the CEO of the Finanser, began writing a daily blog in 2007. Every single day since then, for twelve solid years, he has written a blog post. It’s said that journalism is the first draft of history. Chris has written that daily first draft of the history of fintech, almost from the start. He’s the bard, or minstrel, or troubadour of fintech, telling its story as it has unfolded in real-time, day by day, with all its twists and turns and...


100th Episode: The Race to Regulation Transformation -- Marathon and Sprint

My new nonprofit, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, or AIR (about which you’ll soon hear much more), collaborated with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to run the first-ever US regulatory “Tech Sprint.” A tech sprint is a hackathon. It puts subject matter experts together with software developers, lets them form themselves into teams, and has them work side by side -- sometimes day and night -- trying to solve concrete regulatory challenges. By the end of the sprint, typically a...


Agile Regulation -- CFTC Chairman Chris Giancarlo

I’m calling today’s show “agile regulation.” I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but today, agile regulation is actually on its way. Financial regulators all over the world are realizing that they will have to update their tools, digitize their information and, above all, speed up, to keep pace with the exponential rate of technology change in the industry they regulate. In the United States, the leading voice in this new vision has been our guest today -- the Chairman of the Commodity...


Fighting Financial Crime with Science: Giant Oak CEO Gary Shiffman

We know that the money launderers are winning. We know that law enforcement is losing. By now, you’ve probably heard the UN’s statistics on this, that we catch less than 1% of these crimes, which add up to an estimated $1.6 trillion a year. At the heart of this problem is asymmetrical technology. The bad guys have sophisticated, networked, rapidly improving technologies, and the good guys are stuck in the past.


The Promise of Digital ID: David Shrier of Distilled Identity and MIT Media Lab

There are some challenges in fintech and regtech that transcend the others -- problems that have to be solved in order to “unstick” numerous other kinds of exciting innovation. Of these core enabling solutions, none is more important than digital identity. A few months ago I sat down with one of the people leading the work in this field. David Shrier is founder and CEO of Distilled Identity, an AI biometric software company that helps financial institutions and governments build better...


Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Craig Phillips

Our conversations on Barefoot Innovation always grapple with the regulatory challenges arising as technology transforms finance. Most of our guests have good ideas about this, but very few are in a position to make things happen. Today’s guest is different. He is Craig Phillips, who is the Counselor to the US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnunchin. The Counselor role spans everything from fiscal operations to America’s debt management, but for our audience he is best-known for leading...


Prince Michael of Liechtenstein: Imagining Finance in 2030

Bill Gates famously said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.” That gets quoted often these days, because it so well captures the times we live in. In that vein, it was a special pleasure to be invited recently to a roundtable aimed at envisioning the financial system of 2030. The event was the second in a series hosted by Prince Michael of...


A New Breed of Community Bank: My Fun and Fascinating Conversation with NBKC

If you’re ready for a breath of fresh air, today’s show is for you. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and it’s filled to the brim with ideas that many of us haven’t heard before. NBKC bank is a community bank that thinks and acts like a start-up company. My guests are its CEO, Brian Unruh, and Zach Pettet, who is the bank’s Fintech Strategist and who heads its Fountain City Fintech affiliate, which is the first “partnership accelerator” run by a community bank.


Bonus Episode: Futurist Brett King

Today’s show is a bonus episode, and an extra-special one, because I sat down with my friend, the futurist and financial technology guru Brett King.This is our second show with Brett -- we also had one we recorded over a delightful breakfast in London a while back. We wanted to talk again because he’s put out his new book, Bank 4.0, for which I co-wrote the chapter on financial regulation. We made that chapter 2 of the book, right after the opening, because regulation has become absolutely...


Talking Cryptocurrency with Brian Brooks of Coinbase

I have a real treat for you today. Brian Brooks is the Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase and is also one of the smartest and most thoughtful people anywhere in the financial world. His past roles include being General Counsel at Fannie Mae and Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank, where he worked with both now-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and now-Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting. If his name seems familiar, it may be because was in headlines a while back as a short-list candidate to be...


Women in Fintech

Today is International Women’s Day, and we’re honoring it with a very special bonus episode of Barefoot Innovation, on Women in Fintech...and with Women in Fintech. My four guests are Laura Spiekerman, the CRO of Alloy, Melissa van Kluyve, Associate at Clocktower Technology Ventures, Zoe Chaves, the Product Manager of Splitwise, and Lyn Farrell, the Regulatory Strategy Advisor of Hummingbird Regtech.


How to Digitize a Bank: Citizen’s Lamont Young

I love how technology is bringing new kinds of people into finance. Today’s guest, Lamont Young, is a great example. He started his career in the fashion industry. Today, he is at Citizens Bank, as the Head of Digital and Multi-Channel Marketing.


AI’s Potential and Perils for Finance: Steve Cohen of Basis Technology

I had a fascinating conversation in Boston this winter with Steve Cohen, who is Cofounder, EVP, and COO of Basis Technology. Basis is a world-leading innovator in text analytics and the branch of artificial intelligence known as natural language processing. Over the last two decades. they have built a suite of tools that can analyze information produced by people in text form, in virtually any language, and distill patterns that reveal meaning and connections.


Crossing Party Lines with Fintech Foxes Jon Bouker, Dan Renberg and Kate Flocken of Arent Fox

Amidst all the collective angst about our political discourse, I found myself, one afternoon last fall, in a meeting with the leadership team of the government affairs group at the law firm, Arent Fox. One partner, Jon Bouker, is a Democrat. Another, Dan Renberg, is a Republican. And as we talked, they kept making me laugh. Watching them interact, watching them brainstorm together, watching them riff on each other’s points, I realized we could all use a little more of whatever makes them...


The CFPB Innovation Director Paul Watkins

Today’s show is a bonus episode that we added to the schedule because it has a deadline connected with it. My guest is Paul Watkins, Assistant Director of the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Director of its new Office of Innovation. And the deadline is February 11, which is the last day that the CFPB will be accepting public comment letters on its proposals for organizing a Product Sandbox and for issuing No-Action Letters on innovative products and practices. The Bureau is...


Making Hard Things Easy and Boring Things Fun with Acorns Co-founder Walter Cruttenden

Today’s guest is Walter Cruttenden, cofounder of Acorns and founder of the gaming company, Blast.


Biometrics, Blockchains, and Bots with David Birch

Today’s show is a special treat because my guest is brilliant and funny and original, and he’s also a friend. Dave Birch is a London-based author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services and Global Ambassador for Consult Hyperion. We often run into each other in different parts of the world, and in December we found time to sit down and catch up in London’s old City.


Fintech in China and Around the World: Anju Patwardhan of CreditEase

Our first 2019 show brings us a global perspective on fintech. My guest is Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director of the CreditEase FinTech VC Fund. Anju has an incredible background. I first met her when she was starting at Stanford as a Fulbright Fellow and visiting scholar, at a time when I was a senior fellow at Harvard. We made an instant connection and since then, we’ve often run into each other in interesting places around the world. Late last summer, we finally found time to sit down and...