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乐高公司带给P2P借贷业的启示

注:本文作者Karteek Patel是英国新兴P2P平台Crowdstacker联合创始人兼首席执行官。今年6月未央团队赴英游学期间,有幸与Karteek Patel及其团队进行了沟通交流,了解更多相关内容,请点击《Crowdstacker:打造证券交易所模式的P2P平台

Fidget Spinner(指间陀螺)不过昙花一现,Loom Band(橡皮织带)也成明日黄花,PokemonGo同样盛况难再。最近风靡全球的又是什么呢?答案是乐高,准确的说是乐高小人。

用乐高进行类比似乎有些奇怪,但它的确与P2P行业有很多相似之处。有人认为P2P行业仅烜赫一时,终将称为冗余之物,然而众多原因表明情况并非如此。

追求更高更好

十年前,乐高完全专注售卖彩色积木。当时该公司濒临破产。

然而今日,乐高公司不仅仍然会推出各类乐高积木玩具,还拥有了大获成功的系列电影,电视节目在世界各地均有播放,粉丝群数量庞大,老少皆备。

除此之外,乐高甚至还曾举办活动,邀请所有人参加,使任何人都能成为创意发起人,成功众筹。

简单来说,乐高的成功在很大程度上源自其能拥抱变革与技术,优化产品类型,而非只是炒冷饭。

拥抱变革,创造更优产品正是P2P借贷业撼动借贷与投资界之途。

P2P平台正穷尽一系列新老方法,旨在为公众打造更为公平、令人满意且有用的产品。

起初,也就是2015年Zopa完成其首笔贷款时,P2P借贷业力图提升借贷程序的速度与透明度,从而革新投资者与借款者的交互方式。

但这从不是一场抛却所有现行运作良好模式的革命。

真正创新的成功之法并不在于抛却所有从零开始,而在于能够审视眼前之物。我们应审视运作良好之法,并利用其进行提升与改进。

然而有些人却将借贷业的此种现象视作衰败的表现。行业批评家与反对者指摘某些平台走入被误称作“传统金融”的歧途。

金融并不传统

金融业并未困于传统,而是刚刚走上了一场新的商业冒险。

我们P2P行业为企业创造获得金融的途径,使其得以发展、保持竞争力并创造就业。

与此同时,企业也为散户投资者拓宽了投资机遇类型。如今利率低迷,养老金危机在伏,千禧一代无法购得住房,投资机遇多样无疑更为重要。

真正的战争

依据所谓的“传统”与“创新”进行划界就等于忽略技术为两者结合带来的真正优势,完全未考虑到通过发展以及替代加以改进。

在基础层面上,P2P借贷得以成型的原因在于如今技术可使我们在借款方与放款方之间建立直接联系。

这并不意味着P2P借贷业将止步于此。

只采用一种方法售卖一种产品的成功企业极为罕见。关于这点,问问乐高就知道了。

精益求精

寻求更优解决方案有时意味着开发新的软件或找寻新的算法。

这可能需辅以人工智能等技术利用新的人类行为,此外或许还更倾向于新旧结合。

在许多情况下,P2P业可被视作是新旧结合,原因在于其发源于“传统”银行商业模式,却通过在途径改制了此基础前提。P2P借贷业并不是要舍弃那些更为熟悉而适宜的投资产品,而是同时提供新旧产品。就像乐高,基础产品可成为新产品线的补充。

采用金融基本理念意味着P2P企业可推出适用多种企业的各类产品,同时满足提升透明度与节约成本的驱动。

完全替代现有产品并不是前进的唯一途径。有哪个拥有乐高蝙蝠侠的人想要去换乐高绝地武士呢?

 

Fidget Spinners are out. Loom bands are out. Pokemon Go? So out. What's the latest craze sweeping the nation's playgrounds this term? Lego. And more precisely, Lego figurines.

These little Lego people have broken free to become one of the must-have tradeable toys this autumn. Lego is no longer just about the bricks, and the brand's relentless drive to expand its range has brought it back into the forefront time and time again.

Strange as it may seem, using the analogy of Lego may be the best way to demonstrate why we believe the peer-to-peer (P2P) industry also isn't - and can't be - a one trick pony. While some see the industry as a fad that is set to become redundant, there are many reasons why this isn't the case.

The pursuit of creating something better

A decade ago, the Lego brand was centred entirely on selling colourful bricks. And back then, it was on the verge of collapse.

But today, it owns a hugely successful film franchise; Lego TV shows are broadcast all over the world, and it boasts a huge army of online fans, young and old.

And, of course, the company still shifts boxes and boxes of Lego sets.

Lego even has its own crowdsourcing success story, following a campaign inviting anyone and everyone to become idea originators.

In short, Lego's success is largely due to its ability to embrace change and technology, and diversify the types of products it offers - rather than just create different versions of one product.

Embracing change to create something better is exactly how the P2P lending industry is shaking up the world of borrowing and investing.

P2P platforms are exploring a range of new and old ways, and their aim is to create something which is more equitable, satisfactory and useful for everyone.

From the start, when Zopa originated its first loan in 2005, the P2P lending industry sought to revolutionise the interaction between investors and borrowers by improving the speed and transparency of the lending process.

But this was never going to be a revolution that meant throwing away everything that was already working well.

Rather than getting rid of everything and starting from scratch, the success of true innovation lies in the ability to see what has come before. We should look at what has worked well, and use this to advance and improve.

Yet when this happens in our industry some see it as a sign of weakness. Industry critics and naysayers have picked on some platforms for straying into what is perhaps erroneously referred to as "traditional finance".

Finance is not a tradition

The financial industry is not a tradition. It is a commercial venture.

By creating ways for businesses to access finance, we are allowing them to evolve, remain competitive, and create more jobs.

At the same time, it broadens the types of investment opportunities available to retail investors. This is arguably even more vital today given the atrocious interest rates, the looming pensions crisis, and a generation of millennials who are unable to get on the property ladder.

The real battle

To draw battle lines based on what is deemed "traditional" and what is deemed "innovative" is to ignore the real advantages that technology brings to the mix. It completely disregards the potential to make improvements through development, not just replacement.

At a very basic level, P2P lending has been made possible because technology now enables us to create a direct relationship between the borrower and lender.

But that doesn't mean the industry will only ever do this.

Successful businesses that only sell one thing, in one way, are few and far between. Just ask Lego.

Do more of what works well

Finding better ways of working sometimes means developing new software or creating new algorithms.

It might mean making use of new human behaviours facilitated by technology, such as the use of artificial intelligence. At other times, it might be more about blending the old with the new.

In many ways, the entire P2P industry can be thought of in this light, because it stems from the "traditional" banking business model, but has adapted this basic premise by channelling everything online. And it's not about scrapping those investment products which are arguably more familiar, and therefore comfortable. Instead it's about offering these older-style products alongside the new. Like Lego, the classic products can complement the new product lines.

Using the basic concept of finance also means P2P companies can create a wider range of options that can work for a variety of businesses, while responding to the drive to increase transparency and lower costs.

Entirely replacing what has come before isn't the only way to move forward. Now, does anyone have a Lego Batman they want to trade for a Darth Vader?


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