Took Reid to go see Jay Dvivedi, the Chief Information Officer of Shinsei Bank yesterday. Reid is one of the coolest entrepreneurs that I know and as the former COO of Paypal, also one of the few people I know who gets off talking about payment systems with me. Jay is the smartest CIO I know and is ALWAY extremely inspiring when I see him. When I first met him he was talking about how he was going to revolutionize Shinsei Bank (the Long Term Credit Bank after it was acquired by Ripplewood.) Three years later, he has done everything he promised to do and has built maybe the most technically advanced bank in the world and the only major bank in Japan that is full IP and open systems. We got a tour of his the facility and it was amazing. EVERYTHING was IP: video, phones, everything. He uses public Internet to connect a worldwide network of vendors and nodes in a seamless network that TOTALLY works. Shinsei Bank is living proof of the end-to-end principle. He is now beginning to consult for other companies selling what he has developed at Shinsei Bank. Jay's boss, Mr. Yashiro who used to run Citibank in Japan where Jay used to work is also an amazing model CEO. During our sessions at the Association of Corporate Executives committee on IT Governance that I co-chair, I talked about Yashiro-san and Jay and their relationship quite a bit as a model. If only Japanese CEO's knew as much about the importance of IT as Yashiro-san and if only there were CIO's like Jay, we could be doing so much better in Japan. In addition to GDP, we would have profits. ;-) Three years ago, when Jun and I toured the banks and met the bank heads, Yashiro-san was the only person who bragged about home much money IT was saving him, instead of how much money he was spending on IT...

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Citibank Japan impressed me with those realtime graph thingies that had (have?) running in the lobbies, that were Java thin clients apparently. Seemed a perfect use of the tech.

I left Japan in 2000, but when I was there Citibank seemed ahead of the curve, like with the account reps having PC's on their desks (even if they were just running a "dumb terminal" app to the mainframes).

The financial sector is certainly one area where tech is going to make some massive strides this century. How will Japanese operate in a cashless society, where the brick of 10-man notes you hand over to the fudoyasan becomes a tap on the Clie?

=td=

Shinsei is definitely one of the few shining stars in Japan and it's obviously due to the leadership and vision there.

I wonder what the Japanese bank execs think about Shinsei; Failing domestic bank bought out by gaijin investors & rebuilt with new processes, technologies, systems, vision; revolutionized into a profitable and competitive bank.

Do the incumbent domestic bankers not comprehend this? Will Cerberus buy Aozora Bank and give it the same treatment? How long will the Japanese central bank prop up these domestic banks that keep on lending to failing companies?

What's worse: delaying real reform by propping up broken businesses or seeing how deep the problems in Japanese business really are? How long must this recession last?

[Quote from Troy]
How will Japanese operate in a cashless society, where the brick of 10-man notes you hand over to the fudoyasan becomes a tap on the Clie?
[end-Quote]

Along the same lines of the electronic payment via a Clie spins a very interesting topic, as just last night, we (I say we, as one of the colleagues included DJ-Koich, who posted a note yesterday regarding Joi's DJ'ing) had this conversation regarding carrying cash (Japan) vs. an "e-wallet" (Europe) with a few business compadres from Belgium. The benefits were the obvious ones, less-risk carrying a pack of 10K JPY when out on the town, less weight due to less coins, ease of cash-on-hand when the "conbini" is a good walk away, etc.

A few good points brought up from the Japanese side of why this would be "fuben" included the cultural implications that would need to be quelled in the sales spiel for either an ATM/debit (e-wallet) smart card, or for the new mobile phones expected to be released at the end of this year that will incorporate a smart-card technology with purchasing power.

One of these implications mentioned included time to authenticate/transact via an "e-wallet" (just calling that because it is easy and was already mentioned) vs. the time to pay by cash. Remember we are in a society where we do care what other people think behind us in the super market... Another reason for this not taking off or embraced here is if we take the m-wallet (mobile wallet if you will) theory, why would one want to trust a telecom company, such as (e.g.) Worldcom to act as an intermediary with our money? Does not give one a warm and fuzzy feeling. Yet another reason given was that the Japanese are so used to the speed of calculating the amount to be paid that paying by something other than cash is just not fast enough.

I am for the idea of some kind of "e-wallet", or "m-wallet" for the market here in Japan. But the question is how to get the people to embrace this new technology. Part of this answer is via the cell phones, as everybody and anybody has a cell phone. People feel comfortable with cell phones, sans the talk about radiation and the Docomo radiation tattoo you get after talking > 10 mintues. :)

I will stop here, have to jump in the train sys now.

- Greg

Greg:
>hy would one want to trust a telecom company, such as (e.g.) Worldcom to act as an intermediary with our money?

Note that ATMs already use an infrastructure provided by telecom operators to communicate with the bank's computers.
For wireless devices, methinks the question is principally whether we can trust the smart card manufacturer, as well as the specific silicon implementation.
I wouldn't lose any sleep over m-wallet and e-wallet security. The public/private key pairs and signing mechanisms embedded in the more advanced smart card designs are pretty tamper-proof. Encryption also ensures that network integrity is less of an issue when considering payment transaction security.

The kind of stuff one should keep in mind when considering the trustworthiness/reliability of a particular silicon implementation...

Possible compromise of smartcard Java VM security model -- or most any "trusted OS and HW" security model, for that matter -- by physical tampering of the smartcard's chip.

Check the fragment "Yashiro-san was the only person who bragged about home much money IT was saving him, instead of how much money he was spending on IT..."

Should the "home" be "how" ?

Does Jay do any speaking at conferences? How does he rate?

I wonder what the Japanese financial institution execs think about Shinsei; Failing domestic lender purchased out by gaijin investors & rebuilt with new processes, technologies, techniques, vision; revolutionized into a rewarding and competitive lender.

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