“The Artist” movie and the parallel to the financial industry

I watched “The Artist” movie yesterday.

It’s a movie by Michel Hazanivicius with Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. I recommend it highly for its idea, visual style, the beautiful actors performance. And I do wish them luck tonight at the Oscars for the first ever non anglo-saxon movie to win the best movie award.

I was under the spell of the movie all day today (while cooking with friends on a gray belgian day – but that’s a story in itself).

The story is of a silent movie star who is facing the advent of the sound movies, all of this in the context of the 1929 crisis. The character – George Valentin – does not understand the new technology, has not seen it coming, and in fact doesn’t understand why the change is happening. His idea of the beauty and artistic value of silent movies is being stormed away.

It struck me that in fact that’s where the banking industry is today.

There is an established order, arguably since centuries, about how banks process money and loans and the products and services they provide.

But the banks are under pressure today –

  • the ongoing crisis
  • the advent of the new  connected generation on social media
  • the advent of easy, cheap person-to-person international payment schemes (Paypal and others)
  • the advent of new business models, dubbed banking 2.0 (see Movenbank, SImple, Fidorbank)
  • the advent of telecom operators as payment processors (mobile payments schemes not involving banks)
  • new business and artificial intelligence technologies.

Exactly as the silent movie world – of our character George Valentin – is under pressure.

But George doesn’t see it. Perhaps he doesn’t WANT to see it. And so the sound movie “happens to him”.

In the same way as the “digital banking” may happen to established banks.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, so a very quick summary. Eventually George, with a help of Peppy Miller (played excellently by Bérénice Bejo), realizes the predicament he is in. He can’t cope with the full change of things, but he adapts and in the end rides the wave of change, in his own and different way.

As you can imagine, this ending fits perfectly my eternal optimist take 🙂

I do think that if banks realize the massive change going on, they can ride the wave out. Propose new products and services for the connected generation, to enable them to manage their digital assets (and not only money), to help them be more accessible (through APIs), to establish them as core business intelligence processors.

All of these trends, pressures, changes and opportunities for the banking industry are summarized  here (a prezi).

Do you think I’m exaggerating by comparing the rate of change of today to the change of silent to sound movie in the 20’s? Am curious to know.


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This work by Kosta Peric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


3 thoughts on ““The Artist” movie and the parallel to the financial industry

  1. This Managing Invention Seminar (11/14/2011) video of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, Chairman and CEO of both the Institute for Advanced Health, and the Healthcare Transformation Institute (HTI) is a description of some really instructive case studies which demonstrate the “realeconomik” of disruptive innovation re: how entrenched interests actually behave vs their pretty, public rhetoric.


    My comment version here http://blog.conmergence.com/?p=2229

    • Hi- I read and like the lessons learned in your blog, even though I don’t understand all (NANTWORKS?).


      • Patrick Soon-Shiong uses Nantworks as his holding company which he uses as a foci to bring parallel developments into alignment: for instance, one of his entities backs the National LambdaRail efforts because he believes big data pipes (broadband) and big video are part of the necessary infrastructure needed to make the next leaps in healthcare.

        Consider this case study for illustration: you recall Google Wave failed, I think, because Google developed it in a very high bandwidth enterprise and then tried to get the public to adopt it by deploying it to a not so high bandwidth internet. Novell still offers “Wave” as OnPrem but predominantly on internal enterprise networks where the QoS of thru put can be monitored and assured.

        Nantworks is the catalyst to build a next generation digital ecosystem so that the data driven medicine won’t fail because the current infrastructure will crumble under it’s weight.

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