"No thanks said the fly, I'll pass on that."
This poem sounds as a warning to us all in so many ways. In short, flattery breeds deception, then in the case of that particular fly, death.
The spider's web is an amazing piece of natural design. Barely visible, it occupies a huge surface area, and normally (though not always) the spider stays in the middle of it. It's 'sticky' so once an unsuspecting fly touches it, it's game over. It's design then allows the spider to take the shortest route to it's prey, and - bye bye fly.
I'm quite a fan of visual metaphors (is that right) and when I was walking back from a meeting today, very much visualised the WWW (web) as a spiders web. Which of course, is where it's name came from. Nothing amazing there.
However, until recently, the web simply connected people with organisations. Thus, knowledge flowed from the organisations to the people (typically one way) and if the organisation wanted to sell them something, it could.
However, with the rise of social networks (Facebook now numbers 1.3 billion members) people didn't necessarily have to connect with a central organisation to get something done (bought, sold, whatever).
Oh no, now they were able to interact "Peer to Peer" (or #P2P) and transact outside of the central 'Command & Control' structure, albeit via a 'transactional' or 'matching 'platform (still a spider) and of course, 'Human to Human' or #H2H as it's becoming known.
And this has amazingly liberating consequences for us all.
Taking the "Financial Services Sector" as an example. Historically, where money's concerned, you have a bank account, and through this account, interactions occur. The bank may or may not look after you (probably the latter, noting events of the past few years - current account charges, overdraft charges, misselling of insurance policies, charges on transaction fees) but you HAD to have one.
Now, things are changing in the favour of us, 'the flies' (although I'm not sure I'd like to be viewed as a fly!)
Firstly, we're experiencing a break-out of 'currency transfer' companies, using cloud-based software to simply bypass banks doing the same (and charging you £25 or more for the privilege - when I send money overseas from Firstdirect (one of the better banks, and mine of choice since 1988) I get charged £25, plus OTHER banking charges may apply! However, if you use Xendpay, Azimo, Transferwise or Moni, or (even) Gmail (yep, you can send spends by email) you can save a LOT of money.
Secondly, if you wanted to borrow or save money, you'd typically deposit your hard earned cash into a bank, and get paid - NOT A LOT. For sure, it's safe, but nowadays, many alternative finance (known as #AltFi) companies can offer interest rates from 5% to 15%! Check out Zopa, Funding Circle, Market Invoice, Assetz, Ratesetters with more launching almost every week!
Thirdly, if you want to invest your money in hope of a sizeable gain, in equity, you can use one of the growing number of crowdfunding platforms - Crowdcube for example, or a curated investment platform, like InvestingZone, Envestors or VentureFounders.
All of these platforms bypass the traditional "lend - borrow - must use a bank" "spider" and connect you with minimum cost and friction to the result you're after.
And, there's more. As digital financial technology (#fintech) and financial services (#finserv) companies grow, so the technology becomes available to 'challenger' banks (or, as we don't want to call them banks, let's call them #iMoney companies (bit clumsy, but serves the purpose). Look out for a new kid on the block, Ffrees - designed to minimise the cost of money management, whilst helping you save, and the long rumoured (and perhaps over-hyped) Atom Bank, launching soon (apparently).
If you look at things strategically, like I tend to do and work towards the end-game, then here's a theory. In 10 years, we have FaceBank (bank of facebook) which with the potential of (by then) 2Bn account holders, could command immense financial muscle. You'd use Facebook Messenger to transfer money, you'd use your ApplePay or Android equivalent to make payments. And, you'd keep your FIAT (what physical money's called) in a super-encrypted digital electronic wallet, not even necessarily with a bank.
The happening of something like the above will be realised by the widespread adoption of one of the rapidly growing (in credibility and usage) trustless authentication protocols (don't worry about the 'trustless bit - it doesn't really mean what it says) such as blockchain (better known for powering bitcoin and other #altcoins) but also ripple, ethereum, nubits and counterparty (although that uses some blockchain technology).
All of this digital non-human-involving tech will have an absolutely as yet to be estimated effect on the framework of our existing financial services industry. There'll be alternative stock exchanges too (as being examined by Overstock in the USA, called Medici).
What's common with all this stuff is the ability for it to deliver equipotency - equal potential - via the power of the connected web.
So, what happens to the spider. Well, webs need 'spiders' to build them, so there will always be a role for the monolithic mega-companies. But I guaranteed you, the companies of the future haven't even been incorporated yet.
So, don't get caught in the web the spider wants you to, explore the web that allows you to bypass the middle (where the spider normally hides) and connect asymmetrically.
You (and your finances) will be glad you did.