Spreadsheets and gut feeling

also: SVB collapsing, Wise redesign and Send your boss to hell

Spreadsheets and gut feeling

Last week I visited Ålesund and the lovely people at Vest Studio to talk about what happens in the Fintech space and about product development in finance. One of my talking points was on the difficult balance between gut feeling and spreadsheets:

In Fintech, you are never far away from a spreadsheet. Being able to track outcomes and consequences conveniently can be beneficial, but taking action can be stifled if the spreadsheet is not reliable or favorable. You’ll never create a great product if you don’t follow your gut feeling occasionally. We need to find a balance between rational thinking and creative thinking. Creative thinking can provide a different perspective than the spreadsheet and might be able to see opportunities or solutions that have otherwise been overlooked.

Jacob Mørch from the innovation studio Braver wrote an excellent post on precisely this topic:

Here's a simple 3-step model for those who want to guarantee that innovations and good ideas die a slow and painful death in their organization:

1. Start by analyzing the opportunity half to death. Business model, market size, potential brand risk, and technical due diligence - analyze everything. Create a nice report.

2. Crunch the numbers. Be 100% certain it will be profitable long before you even know what "it" is. Never explore a potential business opportunity without having two lines under the answer in Excel cell Y44 that are shining like gold and green forests.

3. Anchor it. The "F-word" that has killed more good ideas and business opportunities must be anchored. ALL the right people (and some extras) must be "on board" and give their thumbs up. Only then can you move on to analyzing a little more.

Follow the rest of the model until the good idea is dead and buried in a drawer, and the innovative enthusiast who came up with the idea has learned to shut up and follow their job description.

Jacob Mørch

Spreadsheets will always have their place, but the opportunity cost of not giving space to creative ideas can be massive.

SVB collapsing

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), known as the go-to bank for startups in the US, collapsed last weekend after buying $80 billion in Mortgage Backed Securities to put their money to work. When interest rates were low, the 1.5% yield SVB had locked up seemed attractive. But, as rates rose, the $80 billion investment became less desirable, and people started to notice.

The snowball started rolling even faster when Byrne Hobart called out Silicon Valley Banks' risk in his newsletter read by most VCs. Then everyone started to pay close attention to SVB, and after a massive earning miss, Peter Thiel, USV, and Coatue sent out mass emails to portfolio companies to pull out funds, and the ball kept rolling.

To me, the most remarkable part of this whole experience has been the speed at which it happened. It went from a small group of insiders sending emails to their portfolio companies to $45B in outflows in less than a day. The speed of the crash is something I didn’t know was possible for an institution that was regulated and of this size.

Evan Armstrong on SVB’s Explosion

The long-term effects of this are yet to be determined. However, European banks are subject to more stringent regulations than those in the United States. A recent example: Lunar could not purchase Instabank because they would be left with insufficient capital after the acquisition and were thus blocked by the Norwegian Financial Authority.

Wise redesign

Wise (former Transferwise) just got a new look:

I encourage everyone to check out https://wise.design, where they have documented their design system. Imagine if .design became a standard for showing design systems for brands. 🤔

Send your boss to hell

Basecamp offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: Send your boss to Hell - Hell on the Cayman Islands, that is (not Hell in Trønderlag)! They will give one winner a five-night getaway trip for two to the Cayman Islands, allowing you to tell your boss to "Go to Hell" - literally.

Designer of the week

I was recently designer of the week at UX-Norway. If you wonder what a typical week looks like for me and how my journey has been to where I am now, give it a read: