Here, There, Nowhere in Particular — Gig Economy, D(R)BT, Avengers Endgame

5 min readApr 28, 2019


It has been a challenging last few weeks and hence, HTNW took a backseat to work, travel and spending some quality time with my 11-year old. I took the opportunity of having a reasonably free day this weekend to put this post out. Here’s to the return of the prodigal son….

Impact of the Gig Economy

This week we take a look at the gig economy. The generally accepted scope of the gig economy covers workers engaged in short-term contracts, freelance work or one-time gigs (as a supplementary income or even their main source of income). These include platforms like Uber, Upwork, and TaskRabbit or more traditional channels. Often, the scope will include both independent contractors and participants in the share economy to earn income (ex, AirBnB).

The estimates of the size of the gig economy have varied between 10% (Bureau of Labor Stats, 2018) to a 56% for a focus group (McKinsey Report, 2016). Given that one of the biggest influences of stock market trends is the monthly job market data — one has to wonder how accurate is the job data. Does it factor adequately for this really large section and is it actually possible to create a consistent model for arund the Gig economy.

Ergo — how much of the traditional macro economic models are relevant? Is the bond market reacting to incomplete/incorrect information?

Personalization and Loyalty Programs

Staying on the subject of gig economy — while the jury is out in terms of size of the impact on the overall economy, it cannot be denied that the gig economy is re-shaping our workforce and attitude towards work, savings and consumption patterns. Does your organization have an effective personalized marketing strategy for the brave, new world of the “Giggers”?

Here’s a great example of an innovative loyalty program — Zion’s Bank program actively targets Gen Z bankers with their Pays for A’s loyalty program, rewarding students aged 12–18 for good grades.

Two aspects stand out from this program — one is the personalization of the goals based on a specific segment. The other aspect is re-defining the relationship from a tactical, financial relationship to that of a long term trusted friend, who encourages and celebrates your success throughout your life. Just a further take on the concept of Data as a Currency I had discussed in my earlier posts.

Another great example is from the retail world — Tom’s Loyalty program which focuses on self-worth and the positive impact of the customer’s relationship with the brand on society.

On a related note (and yes it’s a shameless plug), we at Publicis Sapient are excited about the recent acquisition of Epsilon. Epsilon’s Agility Loyalty® was recently named as a Leader in the April 2019 report “The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms, Q2 2019” by Forrester Research.

Epsilon advances the ability to leverage first party data and AI to create more effective marketing and personalized experiences at scale.

Regulatory Landscape

A key and often overlooked aspect of innovation will be the ability of banks, intermediaries and regulators to work in unison to continue to improve the customer experience while maintaining checks and balances. So is there a correlation between financial innovation and regulatory penalties?

Source: BCG Report

Regulators assessed $27 bn. in penalties on European and North American banks in 2018, an increase of $5 bn. from the year before. Since 2009, banks have been charged $372 bn. in penalties and likely to go up to $400 bn. in the next year. And hence, the importance of extending the concept of “Digital Business Transformation” into “Digitally Resilient Business Transformation”.

The next few years will see an increased focus on compliance and regulatory reporting. With increasing calls for transparency, and corresponding scaled up regulatory needs and tools available to regulators for data analysis*, banks need to focus on investing in timely upgrades of regulatory infrastructure.

During the last few weeks, I have had some great conversations on the future state of regulatory reporting with practitioners from leading banks in New York. Watch this space for observations and recommendations on the regulatory reporting ecosystem in the years to come…

*A significant yet unnoticed outside the data engineering community was the announcements that Data Bricks Delta technology is now open source. This could be a potential game changer for using Big Data to create value for internal teams and external customers.

World’s Next Oligopoly

Our modern day world of blogs often offers interesting predictions. Here’s one from Apr’17 — predicting the demise of Google. While the prediction may not have panned out, it cannot be denied that Amazon’s one-stop shop model has made a huge dent on the search engine giant.

And talking of the Big A (no, it’s ain’t a fruit no more) — interesting read on Amazon’s lower than expected growth.

While on the topic of green (tongue in cheek), have you checked out the Seattle Spheres created by Amazon? Essentially a rain forest right next to the office to help step out of the urban jungle!!

Blast from the Past

April 27, 1981 — Xerox introduces the Xerox 8010 Star Information System, the first commercial system utilizing a computer mouse, among other now commonplace technologies.

RIP : Xerox Apr’06 — Jan’18

RIP : The Computer Mouse Apr 27, 1981 — ??

App of the Week

In this section, we have usually reviewed some great apps like Olio (food sharing). This week we focus on an ugly facet of the world’s most popular apps — Whatsapp. Free to download, this app has become the unofficial communication protocol in countries like India.

During the ongoing elections in India, Whatsapp has become a powerful weapon which is being used extensively to spread false news. With over 300 mn. people using WhatsApp, this has became the new digital battleground for political parties.

…For a Fistful of Dollars (Or a Bit More)

This week’s goal would be to create a separate “gated” city for folks who have watched the Avengers Endgame and are out there putting spoilers all over the place. Don’t be that guy!

NYC Hidden Gem

If you can handle spice — try a great Sri Lankan restaurant (

Warning — Spice levels here will make Indian food taste bland.