Jack Ma’s $290 Billion Loan Machine Is Changing Chinese Banking

Using real-time payments data and a risk-management system that analyzes more than 3,000 variables, Ma’s four-year-old MYbank has lent 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) to nearly 16 million small companies. Borrowers apply with a few taps on a smartphone and receive cash almost instantly if they’re approved. The whole process takes three minutes and involves zero human bankers. The default rate so far: about 1%.


Amazon’s job is “to get you the thing,” not “to be a website”

Amazon’s job is “to get you the thing,” not “to be a website”, so if it takes physical stores, machine learning, drones or even teleportation, they will do it.

“The clearest place to see this is in Amazon’s moves into physical retail. This is the opposite of pride or “principle.” Amazon’s job is “to get you the thing,” not “to be a website,” so what are the best ways to do it? What else might work? The project to make a convenience store with no human checkout process is an obvious experiment, now that machine learning and computer vision offer a route to make it work.”



Why Amazon still works as a startup

Amazon is not afraid to try things it’s not supposed to do:

“Amazon, of course, is the Sears Roebuck of our time, but it’s more than that. Amazon is systematically going through every branch of the idea tree around what retail is, and doing it without any pride. It’s trying everything that anyone has ever tried before, and anything else that it can think of that might make sense, as well. There is no-one saying “that’s a good idea, but we’re a website so we wouldn’t do that.”



All disruptive businesses scare people

For a long time, disruptive businesses have scared people. Amazon is just the latest example (and like those before it, it ended up being better for consumers):

“Amazon is so new, and so dramatic in its speed and scale and aggression, that we can easily forget how many of the things it’s doing are actually very old. And, we also forget how many of the slightly dusty incumbent retailers we all grew up with were also once considered radical, daring, piratical new businesses that made people angry with their new ideas.



The In Real Life channel: Offline to online, Online to offline

This is so true for both digital startups and ‘traditional’ businesses:

“The IRL (In Real Life) channel is real. It helps you with acquisition, retention, and more. It’s starting to go both ways – from online to offline, which has been a force in retail for the past few years – but also offline to online, where IRL products remind you to interact with their digital sides.”



‘Done’ means it works in the real world

Shipping a feature and/or user testing are not enough, it needs to have an impact in the real world:

““Done” ain’t finished. “Done” just means that you’ve created an output. The bigger question is this: did that feature create value? You need to observe that feature in the wild to see if it created the outcome that you want for your customer and your business. In other words: “done” gets you an output. “Validated” gets you an outcome.”



Startups take off because the founders make them take off

Things don’t happen by themselves, especially in startups:

“A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off.



Should Product Owners think like entrepreneurs?

The answer, of course, is yes. More specifically, the post spells what entrepreneurial looks like:

  • Ability to execute
  • Fast-paced
  • Hyper-logical
  • Open-mindness
  • No ego
  • Positive attitude

My favorite: “You deliver, you never settle, you make the most of every opportunity, and you enjoy yourself along the way.” In other words, you get things done.


Small, independent teams are the lifeblood of All organizations

Good McKinsey article. Except it applies to all organizations, not just those that are trying to become ‘agile’.

“How do you know if your organization is struggling with agile? One indication is the time required to carry out basic decisions. Another indication is whether small, agile teams enjoy the autonomy they need.”