Stories related to "Technology". http://www.chicagobooth.edu/magazine/spring-2016/rss


Fintech at the Crossroads

When it comes to innovation, the finance industry usually moves along like the proverbial tortoise: slow and steady. But sophisticated computer algorithms have come along and strapped booster rockets to that plodding reptile, rocketing the industry into the twenty-first century at blinding speed. Recent studies of alternative finance around the world underscore the rapid growth. The Asia-Pacific online alternative finance market, including peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, grew 323 percent in 2015 to $102.8 billion, led by a fourfold increase in China to $101.7 billion, according to the study, “Harnessing Potential: The 2015 Asia-Pacific Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report.” Another study, “Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report,” noted that the European alternative finance market grew 144 percent in 2014 to €2,957 million.<br/>


Out of the Box

Full-Time student Julia McInnis was mingling with a crowd of partygoers at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival when she found herself a stone’s throw away from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. It would have been daunting enough to introduce herself to Hastings alone, but he was flanked by Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, and the comedian Chelsea Handler, the latest star to join the streaming service’s fast-growing constellation of talent. It was a triumvirate of industry heavy hitters that can make small talk at Sundance an act of daring. “It took me a good 15 minutes to work up the courage to go over there,” McInnis said. Fortunately for McInnis, she didn’t have to pester Hastings with a standard elevator pitch. The documentary she helped produce over the past four years, Unlocking the Cage, had already been snatched up in a distribution deal with HBO. She wanted to speak with Hastings as a curious student of the entertainment industry, and she spied an opportunity just as Handler headed for the bar. “I said to him, ‘Hi, my name is Julia McInnis, and I’m an MBA student at Chicago Booth. We just did a case study on Netflix in my accounting class. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your numbers.’” Hastings laughed, McInnis recalled, and said, “‘Yeah, you probably saw we’ve had some ups and downs over the years.’”


Building Trust with Blockchain

For the fintech industry—for all financial institutions—trust in transactions is essential. To increase trust in online transactions, software technology known as blockchain creates a higher level of accounting transparency than in standard transactions, where all parties aren’t privy to the accounting ledger. There are many forms of blockchain, but they generally operate the same way, by creating digital signatures of each transaction and sharing them among a network of computers. Each computer can use the signatures to continuously verify who owes what to whom. <br/>


The View From the Bay Area

Is the Golden Gate Bridge looking a little maroon lately? Perhaps. More than 2,600 Chicago Booth alumni now live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though the tech scene dominates, large numbers of alumni also work in consulting, marketing, and investment banking—bringing a data-driven sensibility to the start-up hotspot. Alumni who attended Polsky Center’s West Coast Demo Day at Google headquarters (see “Something Ventured,” page 26) shared how they’re bringing The Chicago Approach to the city by the bay.


A Workday With Michael Farb and Avi Stopper

Avi Stopper, ’06, and Michael Farb, ’09, cofounded CaptainU to create an easier way for high school athletes and college coaches to connect and build meaningful relationships. The CaptainU suite of products allows the athletes to promote themselves to recruiters, and the coaches to control the recruiting process from start to finish and improve their teams. The company’s roughly 60 employees span two offices, with CEO Stopper based in Denver and COO Farb settled in San Francisco. In the last eight years, CaptainU has helped more than 1 million students connect to more than 10,000 college coaches and over 2,000 tournament directors.<br/>


Treasuring the Earth

Few in the world understand risk better than Henry M. Paulson, Jr. As the 74th secretary of the treasury for the United States during the final years of the Bush administration, Paulson was there when the credit bubble burst. He saw the United States enter the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. And as the chief financial executive for the government during that time, he knew the risk of political dithering—the potential consequences that awaited every American had the US government allowed the financial system to collapse.