Great post, Bing. I find your comment very interesting that Bloomberg “has become the Facebook of the finance community” – one could argue quite the opposite, I think, that Facebook has become the Bloomberg of social media. Regardless, the comparison is thought-provoking: I wonder whether, for instance, Bloomberg has considered alternative revenue models similar to those of Facebook (such as advertisements on the Terminal, sponsored news sources, etc.) instead of the subscription service. I also question whether the Terminal is an outdated form of infrastructure. Granted, of all industries, financial services seems least likely to change from the traditional fixed computer setup, but, continuing with the Facebook analogy, you might expect a more concerted effort to transition to a mobile platform (whereas Bloomberg Anywhere seems like a significantly less powerful application). In short, whereas Facebook is adapting to if not itself advancing technological trends, Bloomberg seems (at least at face value) less future-proof. Do you think it will exist in 20 years (i.e., do you think it has a sustainable edge)?
Great post! LendingClub is a fascinating company. I am especially impressed by their level of transparency, which you mention briefly above, that is in my view unparalleled across both established financial institutions and burgeoning fintech startups. Not only do they provide access to the raw data of their entire loan book, but they also offer a suite of helpful analytics online. This is clearly a distinctive marketing advantage, but do you think it leaves the door open to competitors? Obviously they are not sharing their underlying algorithm, but a sophisticated enough analyst might be able to find patterns. In short, do you think they have a sustainable edge (specifically, versus newer fintech players)?
Yes, absolutely – the whole business essentially hinges on their risk algorithm, which has proven itself only in this low interest rate / large spread environment. I’m very interested to see how the story plays out for CommonBond (and other similar marketplace lenders) as rates rise.
I’d also be keen to hear about the new concepts you mention – do tell!