Byron Wein of Blackstone says he’s been writing an annual essay about his discussions with “The Wisest Man In Europe” for over a decade.  Intrigued by the latest essay, I went looking on the Blackstone website for others, and found these four.  Whether or not the man is real, he’s a great device for getting your head in the mode to synthesize macro events into something approximating a vector — less than strategy, but more than mere direction.  

Make of these what you will.

The Four:

The Smartest Man Sees Many Opportunities

The Smartest Man Thinks We Are Writing History

HOW I LEARNED ABOUT PAYMENTS, BANKING AND SETTLEMENT — part 1Payments is a nuanced and complicated business.  There are a lot of different ways to pay for something, and a lot of components to understand in order to get a working knowledge of how the money and the information related to it flows.  In addition to taking advantage of the fact that I work in a company that does various kinds of payments (hence, privileged access to some wicked-smart payments people), here are some of the sources from which I groked the existing flows. The BooksPayment Systems and other Financial Transactions — this is actually a law school text that for my money is the best high-level exploration of how payments systems function.  Dry as a bone but enjoyable if you’re a fin-nerd.Payment Systems in the US — this is a book produced by Glenbrook, one of the smarter payments consultant companies.  It’s a decent substitute for the Payments Bootcamps that the good folks at Glenbrook hold every once in a while.  If you have the money and time, sign up for the bootcamps.  They’re worth every penny.The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson — a journey through the history of financial innovation.  This is the first thing I read that made me feel I was actually starting to put the pieces together.  Just as valuable are the videos Dr. Ferguson did for PBS.  They’re six (6) full hours, but I enjoyed them enough to buy them on DVD.  I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve watched them multiple times.The Academic PapersSystemic Risk and Liquidity in Payment Systems — the math & graphs can get a little tedious for the layman, but this is a pretty good resource to learn a little something about the high-value payments systems that banks use to move money.Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk (PDF) — this document gets amended annually from what I can tell and reflects the thinking of the Federal Reserve about how risk should be managed in payment and settlement systems. Only a die-hard fin-nerd would read every edition, but it’s worth the time to understand how this rather important institution reflects on the nature of payments.Liquidity Effects of the Events of September 11, 2011 (PDF) — this paper gets cited in a number of others as a kind of “Granddaddy of all Payments Papers.” It starts from the little known fact that payments in the US were severely impaired by 9-11, and goes on to talk about what was done about it.The Trade Docs2012 ACH Rules — ACH is a US-based, electronic network for financial transactions and is generally used for processing large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches.  It’s mostly used by banks, SMB and corporations.  If you use P2P payments through your online bank, chances are they are using ACH to move the money.  Sadly, the only way to learn about how ACH really works is to work at a company that can get the rule book, or beg someone who works at such a company to get you a copy.

HOW I LEARNED ABOUT PAYMENTS, BANKING AND SETTLEMENTpart 1

Payments is a nuanced and complicated business.  There are a lot of different ways to pay for something, and a lot of components to understand in order to get a working knowledge of how the money and the information related to it flows.  In addition to taking advantage of the fact that I work in a company that does various kinds of payments (hence, privileged access to some wicked-smart payments people), here are some of the sources from which I groked the existing flows.

The Books
Payment Systems and other Financial Transactions — this is actually a law school text that for my money is the best high-level exploration of how payments systems function.  Dry as a bone but enjoyable if you’re a fin-nerd.

Payment Systems in the US — this is a book produced by Glenbrook, one of the smarter payments consultant companies.  It’s a decent substitute for the Payments Bootcamps that the good folks at Glenbrook hold every once in a while.  If you have the money and time, sign up for the bootcamps.  They’re worth every penny.

The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson — a journey through the history of financial innovation.  This is the first thing I read that made me feel I was actually starting to put the pieces together.  Just as valuable are the videos Dr. Ferguson did for PBS.  They’re six (6) full hours, but I enjoyed them enough to buy them on DVD.  I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve watched them multiple times.

The Academic Papers
Systemic Risk and Liquidity in Payment Systems — the math & graphs can get a little tedious for the layman, but this is a pretty good resource to learn a little something about the high-value payments systems that banks use to move money.

Federal Reserve Policy on Payment System Risk
(PDF) — this document gets amended annually from what I can tell and reflects the thinking of the Federal Reserve about how risk should be managed in payment and settlement systems. Only a die-hard fin-nerd would read every edition, but it’s worth the time to understand how this rather important institution reflects on the nature of payments.

Liquidity Effects of the Events of September 11, 2011
(PDF) — this paper gets cited in a number of others as a kind of “Granddaddy of all Payments Papers.” It starts from the little known fact that payments in the US were severely impaired by 9-11, and goes on to talk about what was done about it.

The Trade Docs
2012 ACH Rules — ACH is a US-based, electronic network for financial transactions and is generally used for processing large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches.  It’s mostly used by banks, SMB and corporations.  If you use P2P payments through your online bank, chances are they are using ACH to move the money.  Sadly, the only way to learn about how ACH really works is to work at a company that can get the rule book, or beg someone who works at such a company to get you a copy.

madfulicious:

I’ve been asked to sum up the “flow” of my SXSW talk, “Creating A Mobile Wallet Worth Having,” into a handful of bullets for those people who want to be able to share the logic, without having to explain Michael Jackson or any of the other stories…

I’ve attempted to do so below.  This is what was intended, but if you took something else away from the talk and slides, hit me back with some feedback, and let’s discuss!

  1. Finance and Happiness are intimately related
  2. A mobile wallet introduces a personal, networked, sensor-laden computational capability into this relationship
  3. Humanity is disadvantaged when interacting with finance, because the mind is disadvantaged
  4. We must build software differently: create raw capability to advantage humanity in finance, with mechanisms that impact our unconscious resources (agent logic)
  5. Mathematical models of finance and behavior are the cornerstone to a system that can provide some of this new raw capability
  6. A mobile wallet that leverages agent logic and financial modeling could become an active participant in helping to secure positive financial outcomes
  7. Such a wallet would enable consumers and software to experiment with possible financial outcomes and create alternatives – “counterfactual testing
  8. If these alternatives and outcomes could be shared securely, in a shared financial object, users could learn from one another, increasing the likelihood of financial happiness
photo from David Siegel

i get asked all the time to provide lists of media sources to help friends and colleagues get up to speed on the various worlds my brain inhabits: books, movies, music, clips, scripts, pics, and e-pics.

i also get asked for links to my films, screenplays and slide decks, so people can diagnose for themselves what’s wrong with me.

rather than continue to send custom emails to solve this problem, i thought it best to begin a tumblr for lists like this — a meta “pillow book” of lists and links for friends and new colleagues to learn from, and tease me about.

sadly, not all of the sources i’ve found over the years are readily available to the general public.  those that i can find commercial references to will have links.

i’m not paid for providing these links (although maybe i should look into that).

enjoy.

p.s. — for those who wonder, the title of the blog translates to “my muse is so fickle” (according to google)

photo from Greenaway’sThe Pillow Book