Introducing FTT 2.0
By Ian Kar
Heyyyyy everyone what’s good.
Yes, yes, I know, long time no chat. I’ve been busy catching up on non-professional stuff in life—what they don’t tell you is that when you’re heads down building, you kinda forget about pursuing important life goals that are outside of work.
As my wife said, “you’re finally doing things normal people do!” (turns out, not as much of a compliment as I originally thought.)
A BRIEF REFLECTION
I’ve also been busy getting Vol. 1 Ventures off the ground: will tell y’all more about that over the coming weeks but building a preseed fund focused on the intersection of fintech and crypto has been a ton of fun. When I first thought about investing full time, I was a bit apprehensive—mainly because I like building a lot. But things changed when a mentor of mine, Steve Scarracino from Activant Capital, told me to think about building a fund like building a company, my perspective changed a lot. With this newfound mindset I’ve found myself learning a lot more than I expected, and passing that knowledge on to founders and friends. (btw, if you’re in town for Miami Tech Week, we’re having an event at Soho House with Activant Capital & Truework…DM me if you’re around!)
Selling FTT was a weird life event—it feels like just yesterday I was living in Brooklyn, about to turn 27, and was thinking about starting something. Between COVID and FTT, the past 3 years moved in the blink of an eye. The absence of it has been even odder; I’ve gotten so used to the pressure of running a company that without it I’ve felt a bit off.
So, long story short, my bad for being a bit MIA—your boy needed a break.
One thing I spent a lot of time thinking about is: what is Fintech Today now? When I first started Fintech Today in May 2019, I wanted it to be a snapshot of what I, and eventually other people in the ecosystem, were thinking and reading about in fintech.
But the past 3 years have been fucking crazy for the fintech world—in May 2019, fintech was a small subsector of the tech industry. In today’s post-COVID world, fintech, crypto, and the digitization of financial services is all anyone can talk about. In 2020, digital payments increased in the US by an entire $1 trillion dollars. 27-year-old Ian would have never predicted that kind of growth—no one would have.
With the future of finance changing so dramatically, what’s the future of Fintech Today?
FINTECH TODAY 2.0
A Major Content Refresh:
Idk if you all know this but I love writing. Contrary to popular belief, Fintech Today didn’t start because I watched a few episodes of Succession and wanted to be Logan Roy. I originally started writing Fintech Today for me and my friends, mainly as a forcing function to help me synthesize my research around starting a banking-as-a-service company with some friends. Eventually, FTT started growing quickly and the advice I got from mentors was to strike while the iron’s hot, so to speak, and continue building FTT.
That was back in May 2019. With FTT 2.0, our goal is to refocus our content towards what the goals were originally: advocating for community members and the ecosystem overall and inspiring people to build innovative tech-driven financial products.
So, what’s the new structure? And why?
Monday’s — Essays by Ian:
Like I said, I’ve always loved writing. But I fucking hate writing about dumb shit. And the stuff I tend to write are longform essays or memo’s. Now that I don’t have to suffer through the grind of building a media company (that’s Adam’s job lol), I’ll have a ton more time to write.
Why is Apple building payment infrastructure? Does Bolt buying on-and-off ramp company Wyre make sense? Is the next Stripe for Crypto just Stripe, or is there room for more infrastructure products in crypto? Can China export digital central currency technology as another way to expand their influence globally? If you follow me or my wife on Twitter you’ll see that we have very differing views on DAO’s…why are DAO’s so compelling in the first place? These are just some of the things I’m thinking about, and that stuff you’ll be reading more about over the next coming weeks.
Thursday’s — Essays from the FTT Expert Network:
One of the things I’m most proud of is the FTT Expert Network—a small group of industry experts like Charley Ma, Jenny Johnston, and John Collins—that contributed content on a regular basis for Fintech Today.
With FTT 2.0, we’re gonna supercharge the FTT Expert Network—my ideal goal is to have 10-20 contributors across a bunch of different focus areas. With Workweek’s exceptional editorial and operations team supporting FTT now, this goal is more achievable than ever.
Why create for FTT? Well the original goal was to help people build their personal brands—I know a ton of smart operators who are interested in sharing their experiences and opinions about the industry, and people should be reading their content. But there are so many issues around that—publishing to Medium or Substack puts the onus of finding an audience on the creator. Yes, Medium or Substack may promote you—but that’s really if you fit their mold (aka a Silicon Valley tech bro). My hope was that by developing the audience and distribution for Fintech Today, we could develop the personal brand for our FTT Experts too.
That thesis has been proven and now we’re ready to take it to the next level. We have a great roster of contributors starting soon but if you’re interested, feel free to hit me up at [email protected]
Friday’s — Weekly Recaps:
It’s always hard to keep up with the fast world of fintech and crypto. But, if you’re an operator or founder you probably don’t spend your time on news websites or Twitter (well…you shouldn’t…as someone who spent a lot of time on social media for work, its not particularly healthy or productive.)
That’s where we come in! We’re gonna start off by writing a simple weekly recap, but we definitely want to change things over time. Over time, a lot more updates about community members, new segments around jobs and recruiting, and a lot more.
Focus On Bridging Fintech & Crypto:
Much like Vol. 1 Ventures’ focus, expect a lot more content on the intersection of fintech and crypto. But, why?
As many of you know, and as I shared back in the fall when we launched Crypto Tonight, I’ve been thinking about this topic since Miami Tech Week last year.
But recently, as I spent more time reflecting on the last decade of my life, nearly all of my professional experience has been in fintech or crypto. I hated traditional finance after spending some time in mortgage-backed securities and “rebelled” by finding a niche in the intersection of finance and technology.
Now, in 2022, fintech and crypto is not just mainstream—they’re the core pillars of the future of financial services. But these aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive sectors in my opinion—like most interesting things in life, there’s a lot of value within the intersection of the two.
Thanks so much for the read, I’m so excited to be back.