The Grapes of Math
Recent Internet/UK GDP figures are a bit of a yawn for your average blogger, says Ben Sturgess, but they’re a potentially vital early wake up call for the finance sector… oh and Mr Miyagi…
So, at 8.3% of GDP, the web now contributes more towards the UK’s economy than it does to any of the others in the G20 does it? And I’m supposed to find something vaguely engaging and interesting to say about that am I? Reeeally?! Cuh!! Editors! Can’t live with ‘em, too late to shop ‘em to the Leveson Enquiry.
In fact I’m sorely tempted to ask my four favourite questions when faced with such ‘news’– Yeah? And? So? What?
Hang on a minute though. There could be a chance to salvage something here after all.
Because, come to think of it, there actually is one major UK industry – even THE major UK industry – for which this ‘issue’ could prove pivotal. Namely the financial services sector – which is certain to be impacted massively should the web now evolve into its biggest and most important strategic sales and comms channel. And in light of these figures, it at last surely must.
Moreover, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how much could be at stake.
On one hand, for instance, we’re talking about the UK’s biggest industry working in harness with its biggest marketplace. Happy days. On the other though, it also means the most tightly regulated business in the UK aligning itself with the least. Regulation? Compliance? Governance? It really could be carnage.
Then there are things like the thin line between tax avoidance and evasion currently being walked by many a web-centric ‘UK’ business. With the government upping the ante in its bid to eradicate offshore ring fencing and other such protectionism, that tightrope is only going to get longer and thinner.
Also of potentially enormous influence here – with everyone getting in such a lather over the investment opportunities in social networking – will be the new tech bubble now rumoured to be building around such technologies.
Most worrying off all though – and what has to be the priority in the context of the above – is the financial community’s continuing collective attitude and approach to the web, which in many cases still amounts to little more than dabbling.
Sure you can bank online. Buy insurance. Pay for stuff via your mobile. But, you know what? That’s kind of it right now. Same offering, different clothes.
If you ask me it’s a lot like the, er, Karate Kid (Wax on Wax Off anyone? Bear with).
“Either you Karate do yes… or you Karate do no”, intones Mr Miyagi while counselling young Laruso on the perils of ‘dabbling’.
“But you Karate do ‘so so’? get squish – just like grape. Unnerstan Daniel san?”
Where the web is concerned the finance industry has to realise that it has little option but to ‘Karate do yes’. Not if it doesn’t want to get squished like a grape.
In other words it’s about time it got in training for the big fight.