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Fireside chat with Julian Wilson, CPO at Ecospend

Who is Julian Wilson?

A LondonLand loving and living father [to 6 children] who has spent over 35 years working mostly as a ‘Product Guy’ at places like Apple, AT&T, Barclays, and his own startups [before Ecospend]: yet despite all that has remained true to the flat vowel [he originates from Yorkshire].

Tell us more about your role in Ecospend?

To help define what we do next, to make sure that our products and services have a long shelf life and are differentiated from our competitors.

What is the most difficult part of your job?  But the most rewarding one?

Building what people need now, rather than what I think they [ought to] want and not being able to build multiple versions of the future all at once.

I think the most rewarding one is working with great engineers and speaking to and learning from our customers.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Understand that the word PIVOT is not a synonym for defeat or wrong or compromise or indecision.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

To quietly introduce those technologies which will accelerate what the Open Banking laws have enabled: specifically to pioneer the use of verifiable credentials in payment and financial data services in the UK and beyond.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? 

In many respects, the implications of the UK response to the ‘pandemic’ [if that’s what it is] have accelerated people’s understanding of how to conduct business online and their adoption of ways to pay without cash or cards. These trends are unlikely to be reversed and are supportive of our business model. In this respect, we are incredibly fortunate compared to the suffering of so many in other industries.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

Last year China deployed the Digital YUAN a CBDC [Central Bank Issued Digital Currency], the US FED is working with MIT on digital $, and here in the UK the Bank of England has engaged industry to help inform its strategy for Digital Sterling. These ‘permissioned ledgers’ have a different operating model to ‘bitcoin’ [e.g.] but still offer many efficiencies for Banks and Financial institutions, in maintaining systems of record and the management of permissions on an open network [the Internet]. Adding this [CBDC] ingredient to Open Banking may enable the UK to leapfrog China’s first mover advantage with the digital Yuan.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • John Cooper Clarke’s third book ‘I wanna be Yours’ – for his wonderful wordsmithery.
  • Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ – [I’m a slow reader].

Plus I am binging on Blinkist’s Philosophy section to improve my conversation with my eldest daughter a philosophy graduate currently doing her master’s at Goldsmiths. 

  • ‘I think I’m an Existentialist…therefore I am’.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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