Payments On Fire

Glenbrook Payments Education

Episode 185 – Fanning the Flames: Glenbrook Education Program

Glenbrook has provided payments education for over 15 years. In that time, over 35,000 payments professionals have attended Glenbrook workshops, including the popular Payments Boot Camp®. The Payments Boot Camp® provides a thorough overview of the global payments industry – an industry that is constantly changing. As you can imagine, the material for our workshops changes with it. 

Glenbrook’s Russ Jones joins Yvette Bohanan to discuss the refreshed Payments Boot Camp® agenda as well as the newly designed Advanced Payments workshop. Listen in for a behind-the-scenes look at how Glenbrook’s education content is curated and why certain topics may not be included at all. 

If you are interested in attending a Glenbrook workshop, below are upcoming opportunities to learn and network with your peers: 

Payments Boot Camp® – December 6 & 7, 2022 – Cupertino, CA

Advanced Payments – December 8, 2022 – Cupertino, CA

Payments Boot Camp® – February 7-9, 2023 –  Virtual 

 

 

Yvette Bohanan:

Welcome to Payments on Fire, a podcast from Glenbrook Partners about the payments industry, how it works, and trends in its evolution. I’m Yvette Bohanan, a partner at Glenbrook and co-host of Payments on Fire. And joining me today is our very own Russ Jones, another partner and colleague of mine. And Russ, welcome to Payments on Fire: Fanning the Flames. We’re going to do a special Fanning the Flames edition with you.

Russ Jones:

Thank you Yvette. And I think this is the very first time I’ve done a Fanning the Flames episode.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, well here we are. But you have been on in the past with George Peabody.

Russ Jones:

Yeah, I have.

Yvette Bohanan:

And you’ve talked a little bit about things, and then we were just on talking about delegated payments with you.

Russ Jones:

Yeah, we were talking about delegated push payments, we were talking about tokenization. Very, very much trending topics in the industry.

Yvette Bohanan:

Very much trending topics. So much so that what we’re talking about today is how we’re revamping the education program a little bit for our boot camps or public workshops.

Russ Jones:

One of the things that people who listen to Payments on Fire probably are aware of are our education programs and our payments boot camps and our payment systems in the US, and all the things we do in payments industry education. And we have been doing this for 15 plus years. And one of the things that’s super interesting about it is the curation of what we talk about and how it changes over time. I mean, that’s a reflection of how the payments industry changes over time. Topics that are curious at one point –

Yvette Bohanan:

Mundane and pedestrian.

Russ Jones:

– become red hot, become well understood and then become topics you don’t even need to talk about any longer because everyone in the industry understands what’s behind it, how it works, what the implications are and what have you. So that’s one of the best parts about what we do, I think, is actually getting a chance to keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry and adjust the agenda and adjust the material to reflect what’s going on in the crazy world of payments.

Yvette Bohanan:

You’ve been leading up the education program for Glenbrook for a number of years now. How many?

Russ Jones:

For eight years. I’ve been a participant in it for probably 18 and I’ve been directly leading it for the last eight. So I have a pretty good sense of how the storyline has changed.

Yvette Bohanan:

Well, you’ve gone through a few iterations. I think what we want to just kind of give our listeners some insight into here for the next few minutes is why we’re changing things. Give me a for instance of something that was super hot eight years ago that we were all over and it’s not even in the workshop anymore.

Russ Jones:

So a great example of that would’ve been the card system, which is one of the six core systems we talked about. In the card system in 2012, we were even talking a lot about chip cards and we’d be talking about the cryptography inside the chip and the cryptogram and it was new, it was well understood in Europe and in other markets around the world, but it was a bit of a novelty in the US. And over time it’s shifted from what it is and how it works to … it shifts over to what the benefits are and the implications and then it shifts over to, it’s not even part of the story any longer. I mean, I don’t think there’s one, When I think about the 12 hours we spend talking about the global payments industry, I don’t think we have one reference to chip cards. They’re so well understood. They’re just part of the landscape these days.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, that’s true. And that curation allows you to pull out the stuff that’s become pedestrian, if you will, and put it in stuff you have to start explaining to people.

Russ Jones:

Yeah, I sort of think of it as the topics dial up in importance and then dial down in importance as people become more familiar with them and they’re better understood if you will. But we do that across everything we talk about. I was just giving you a technology example where we do the same thing when we look at the payment domains and the different use cases, how they change what’s trending, what’s topical there. We’ve even recently in the revamp we did this fall, we’ve sort of changed our approach to how we think about stakeholders in the payments industry. So that was something that was a direct reflection of how the industry make up of who the players are changes. So the two examples; one example is the role of the payment service provider. 10 years ago when we thought about stakeholders, payment service providers were sort of something you need to know about but almost don’t dwell on it,

Yvette Bohanan:

Right. There’s a few out there that help with X, Y, or Z. Either country specific.

Russ Jones:

Yeah, it was very much country specific and special specialization, if you will. And then five years the power dynamics in the industry between the stakeholders started to change. And the PSP has risen in importance and is a lot more critical inside the ecosystem. So they’re oftentimes pigeonholed is, oh, payment service providers like Square, Stripe or something like that. And yeah, those are good examples, but if that’s your only definition, you’re not really seeing the forest when it comes to payment service providers because the world is full of payment service providers who work in ACH like systems around the world is full of payment service providers that help businesses disperse payments as much as take in payments. So they’ve really risen in importance and the rules around payment service providers have just gotten hyper crisp over the last five years as you well know.

Yvette Bohanan:

And now they’re getting into subcategories. I was just introduced today in fact with a new company that’s launching, they’re stealthy right now. They’re launching in Q1, we’ll probably have them on a future podcast. And they’re going into the sub segmentation of payment service providers doing embedded commerce support in a particular manner for XYZ as a service.

Russ Jones:

On Wednesdays.

Yvette Bohanan:

On Wednesday at two o’clock.

Russ Jones:

In Japanese yen.

Yvette Bohanan:

Exactly. So it’s really interesting.

Russ Jones:

It’s amazing that this company with that definition probably thinks they’ve found an underserved market.

Yvette Bohanan:

They’re doing something completely novel, and in a sense, in a really interesting sense it’s their approach that’s novel because in their case they’re helping … Part of the stakeholder value chain is who are you helping? What are you accountable for? What is your role? Who’s your customer? And what liability do you have? And we do cover that material consistently as the stakeholders change in advance and fragment and merge, all of that stuff changes. So really understanding the fundamentals and then how they overlay into the current environment, how the regulators are thinking about them, what the economics are, how the economics are shifting. It’s pretty fascinating and it’s what’s kept me-

Russ Jones:

The advice we oftentimes give in the workshops are don’t get caught up on what name’s on the box. Focus on what they do, what risk exposures do they have or where they sit in the chain of liability, what responsibilities they have into who and for why.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, absolutely. So we road tested this material a couple months ago in New York. We’re about to do an in person, and that was in person.

Russ Jones:

Since the pandemic started, that was our first in person workshop in New York. We had really refreshed a lot of the material over the summer to get a lot more crisp to dial things up, dial things down, put the emphasis where it needs to be in today’s market. And it was gratifying because the session was sold out and we had a waiting list. So we’re going to be doing the next payments boot camp. It’s also going to be in person. It’s December 6th and 7th in Cupertino, California, which is-

It’s a very well known pin on the map and should be a lot of technology companies there because technology companies are, in today’s world, a big part of the payments industry. It’s not so much banks as it is technology companies.

Yvette Bohanan:

Well, every company’s going to be a payments company, right?

Russ Jones:

That’s what I heard.

Yvette Bohanan:

That’s what I heard too. And then because it’s in person, we can do a day three. And the day three is all new. And that’s kind of what I wanted to talk with you about because the curation of the topics, it’s called Advanced…

Russ Jones:

Advanced Payments.

Yvette Bohanan:

Advanced Payments. Nothing else. Just-

Russ Jones:

We’ve gone out on a limb here.

Yvette Bohanan:

And so that’s the third day, that’s December 8th. And that’s kind of the 201 level if the first two days are 101.

Russ Jones:

Yeah. Yeah. It takes, as its starting point, sort of the assumption that workshop participants understand the fundamentals of the payments industry. And in fact, there’ll be people in the workshop judging from those registering already for the Advanced Payments workshop, there’ll be people who have taken previous payment boot camps with Glenbrook, some individuals who were just coming out of the two day payments boot camp and going straight into Advanced Payments. And then other people who simply have a lot of experience in the industry and want to get an outside perspective on what’s trending and what’s current in the marketplace.

Yvette Bohanan:

So what did you curate up for that? What are the topics in Advanced Payments?

Russ Jones:

Well, we have four big topics. One is digital payments. And digital payments is something that is of its time.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah. We are fully immersed in the-

Russ Jones:

Yeah. We’re fully immersed in the world of digital payments. But it’s NFC, it’s QR codes, it’s ENV code tokenization. It’s the rise of wallets. As a serious alternative to other payment methods, it’s the rise of super apps. So we’re going to talk about that in the world of digital payments. And then payment systems are getting faster all over the world. We have this real time fast payments phenomena and we lay the groundwork for that in the payments boot camp, but we’re going to take the opportunity to really go into some of the overlay services and the request to pay and look at implementations of fast payments around the world and see what lessons can be learned. In particular, we’re going to look at the PIX system in Brazil, which as you well know, is a runaway success. So the second big theme is fast payments.

Yvette Bohanan:

That’s pretty timely, right? Because we’re about to see FedNow come out next year here in the United States,

Russ Jones:

Launch FedNow next year allegedly.

Yvette Bohanan:

Well, I think they’re going to do it. They modified Reg J, right? We just talking about, you don’t do that lightly. You don’t go in and monkey with a reg lightly if its not really going to happen.

Russ Jones:

As long as you got the hood up, you might as well monkey with it.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, that’s right. Change the spark plugs too. And so we’ve had Zelle, we’ve had RTP, they’re getting traction and they got issues, but they got their benefits and things have been going … Now we’re adding in FedNow and I think that starts to break open the use cases in the domains where we’re going to see fast payments kind of coming to the fore in the next few years in the United States. And we’re a little behind. We’re a little behind in this space. So this is a good topic to dig into right now.

Russ Jones:

And it’s one that is right at the forefront of how the payments industry is changing. We’re also going to look at the world of digital currency. As you well know, I don’t think a week goes by that I’m not reading about another central bank launching a market trial on central bank digital currency.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, that’s definitely heating up. And then there’s all sorts of stuff going on with stable coins. And then you have the whole crypto thing and disambiguating it. I think that’s a great example of where the material has gone from explaining, almost being enamored with what is a blockchain and what is a-

Russ Jones:

Yeah, yeah.

Yvette Bohanan:

Pointers encrypted and to actually-

Russ Jones:

I’ll tell you something funny. You’re exactly right. And the arc of the story on digital currency is, we were talking about it when it was called cryptocurrency, and the emphasis was on the crypto, not on the currency.

Yvette Bohanan:

Exactly.

Russ Jones:

And I remember the first workshop we did on blockchain based payments, I think this would’ve been in 2012, and the opening assumption was, you really can’t understand what’s going on in this space unless you understand public key cryptography.

Yvette Bohanan:

And everyone went, “God, help us all.”

Russ Jones:

No, no. The problem was everyone said, “You’re exactly right.”

Yvette Bohanan:

Oh, no.

Russ Jones:

It’s sort of from the early days of online payments on the internet, the whole focus was on the little lock that showed that the SSL channel’s encrypted. That’s how you validate the authenticity of the certificate. And if you can’t do that, you have no business shopping online.

Yvette Bohanan:

That’s right. That’s right.

Russ Jones:

I think $4 trillion worth of spending a year later we figured it out.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, exactly.

Russ Jones:

So the final part, the final topic of the four topics, we’re going to look at what’s happening in payment systems around the world, the so-called global payment landscape. And in particular, you know what, there’s been massive sea change in global payments in the last 10 years largely because of the rise of blockchain based payments have led all the incumbents to light a fire under them. We’ll be talking about SWIFT gpi, and we’ll be looking at the Fintech alternatives into the global payment space, and then looking at how fast payment systems are starting to interconnect around the world. And if you were to say there’s a common refrain across all of this, it would be … and I know how much you love common refrains, it would be, do we really need this if we have that? I think that applies to almost everything we’re talking about in the advanced payments workshop.

Yvette Bohanan:

And it’s a recurring question that we’ve received from participants all the time who ask, “Why do I need six of these? Six systemically important payment systems? Do we need stable coins and CBDCs? Do we need fast payment systems and digital currency systems?” It’s a question that it’s not just a perennial theme.

Russ Jones:

Right.

Yvette Bohanan:

It’s a variation on a theme that keeps coming up.

Russ Jones:

And the thing I do take some comfort in and some pride in in these workshops is it’s not about the how or the what. It’s always about the why.

Yvette Bohanan:

It’s the context.

Russ Jones:

Yeah. It’s the context and why. Why is this happening? How is it likely to evolve? That’s the part that’s a lot of fun.

Yvette Bohanan:

Absolutely. Well, we hope that this shed a little bit of light on how the sausage is made. Is that the right phrad In terms of how we do things with the material in our education program and how we kind of go with the flow, but we try to make sure we get out in front of things and explain that context so that when they really hit hard, especially on these advanced topics in the industry, that you can have your bearings and know how to think about and unpack the topics. So Russ, looking forward to December.

Russ Jones:

Yeah, I am as well. And I will see you there to have both of us co-leading this session.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah, it’ll be fun. It’ll be a lot of fun. All right. So thanks everyone for listening, and we look forward to bringing you some new material with some new very exciting players in the industry in the coming podcast. So stay tuned, and until next time, do good work. Take care.

 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments