Tigger, that adorable tiger from the Christopher Robin’s Pooh Bear stories is seen as optimistic, full of energy and just too much to deal with sometimes. Of course Eeyore, everyone’s favorite down in the dumps donkey with the pinned on tail is pretty much Tigger’s complete opposite. I admit when I think of them, they remind me of Fintech folks and bankers. Tigger and Eeyore like Fintechers and Bankers are opposites that need each other. You might not recall but Tigger and Eeyore are quite close friends in the books.
It takes a Tigger mentality to start a Fintech really, why would you decide to disrupt money or banking, arguably one of the older professions known to exist. You would need to be an optimist by nature and be kinda bouncey honestly. One article I read about Eeyore stated that Eeyore would never fall for a get rich scheme. I think that is fair. Of course if you are a banker, please don’t take offense at the overly simplified stereotypes represented by Eeyore and Tigger.
We have all read some variation of a Banker’s list of attributes. They do indeed tend to be process oriented, operate with large teams and focus on Scale. I also would say bankers tend to have such a diverse agenda it might be hard for them to focus. I do however tend to give bankers -0- slack for being in a regulated industry as that tends to become an excuse to not innovate. Overall the job of banker is quite serious business and it is NOT a job for a Tigger type of personality.
Fintechs have their equal list of traits that tends to read like a list of attributes most of us admire and would like to emulate. Of course most Fintechs start with Technology, so it is fair to say they are Tech Focused over Process. Also, due to constraints and otherwise Fintechs operate with smaller teams, while banks are just now learning to spell agile team structure. Agility means two things and it starts with simply smaller teams. Of course having teams that are less specialized is also a key component of an agile team. Fintechs do get to be singularly focused and that does breed a focus that banks can only envy and very unlikely emulate.
Why use Tigger and Eeyore as metaphors for bankers and Fintechs. Simplicity. If you can as a banker think “am I being too much of an Eeyore” while evaluating an opportunity to deliver a new and innovative service to your customers, maybe, just maybe you will stop and think….no, we CAN do this, we just need to step back and be more of a Tigger. Of course moving people’s money is never a matter of simplicity and should not be taken lightly as was evidenced by a recent Fintech “Tiggerish” move. Robinhood, a very well thought of and funded Fintech announced a checking and savings account with a 3% interest rate. Oops, they didn’t check with the SIPC before launching their innovative product, the regulator immediately pointed out that Robinhood’s product was in violation of their rules. An Eeyore would not have introduced a 3% rate product without presuming something could go wrong, Tigger quite simply would.
Balance is the key. Fintechs and bankers need each other and like Tigger and Eeyore should appreciate their differences. Also, as one or the other, try and see it from the other’s perspective now and then. I once joined a large bank from a Fintech startup and was amazed how everyone at the startup started talking to me like I was a “big dumb banker.” No idea how I could have become that literally overnight. It did show me how we just simplify things in our mind to deal with information overload. I should note for anyone that knows me, I am by nature a Tigger more than an Eeyore and yes, to a fault. I do get ahead of myself on projects or ideas and do appreciate a more level headed, Eeyore helping me balance the risk vs. return. Net, net, we all need a Tigger or an Eeyore to help us be our best selves.