Berlin 02/15 Mini Conference

Wrapped up a really successful mini payment conference at the Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Straße 39-40, Berlin sponsored by Adyen and Secure Trading.  It takes a large amount of planning to pull in an event such as this, so firstly want to thank my colleagues Anika Wechsung from Adyen and Mark Gerban from Secure trading for all the work to make this a success.

Initial feedback I have received suggests that everyone attending had a positive experience & something new to learn at the event.  My personal takeaways & notes for the day are as follows:-

Started the day with a talk on Interchange Optimisation by Christos Georgousis from  Blacklane.   Indeed, interchange optimization is rocket science. Christos covered all nuances around the major models. It is mind boggling how something like Interchange which one expects to be completely  transparent has so many non trivial optimizations.  My main takeaway is that default bundled interchange strategy is  highly non optimized.   Lots of opportunity to tweak if you care about improving bottom line costs.

Your sincerely spoke about ‘Tokenization – a deep dive’.   The perspective I attempted to convey is that  Tokenization is a rather simple security primitive. Like all security primitives the devil is in the implementation.  Also, there are some subtle edge cases on the subject which one needs to be aware of and engineer.  Initial feedback I received was very positive.  Will respond to any questions / comments that I receive.

Mark Gerban grilled the panel ( Babak Farahani – InnoGames,  Christos Georgousis – Blacklane Matthieu Chapelle – Wargaming )  in his What’s Next in Payments & Security?   On a lighter note of course, I took umbrage with the dismissal of Bitcoin as a useful currency and the panel’s negative views on the greatest invention of our lifetime.   I think some of the less than positive news can be addressed objectively and as a self styled block chain missionary, I took it upon myself to attempt to correct the facts.  Anyways, Mark had some incisive questions around biometric authentication for which there were no crystal clear answers ( obviously due to the nature of the subject & this is no reflection on the panel ) . Also discussed in great depth was machine learning & big data.

Jürgen Schübel and Paul Whitmore from Mastercard delivered a compelling talk on E-commerce Acceptance Trends. Market trends.  Firstly, it is very gratifying for a Brand like MC to speak at our event & that too have speakers with the vast depth of knowledge & experience like Jürgen and Paul deliver this subject.  Granted that a subject like acceptance trends can feel rather open ended, that notwithstanding Jürgen & Paul dissected the subject with panache.  

To wrap up the day Alexander Matthey spoke on ‘using payment data’.  The talk was replete with specific examples on the metapoints.   I think we should appreciate that although there are just about a handful of primitives supported, the cartesian product of the various ways of passing in authorization data into an api makes the combos gargantuan.  One gripe which I shared with Alex was that I think tweaking data when a service does not abide with a documented api contract is that it is in fact a workaround to flagging the service provider to ‘show cause’ for the api violation and fix the *bug*.  However, I understand that we do not live in a perfect world & payments technology is not an exact science, so I appreciate Alex addressing that professionally.  Anyways, Alex has vast experience with analysing data to improve data and hats off to him for sharing his insights.

We continued to ‘talk shop’ at the dinner hosted by Secure Trading @  Weinstephaner,  Neue Promenade. .   Great venue to continue the open ended conversations on ecommerce payments over great food & beer at a Bavarian-style tavern with heavy wooden tables.  

Thanks to all presenters for agreeing to share their collaterals.  Please see links below for the artifacts.

We will plan a similar payments event, perhaps in Q2. Please stay tuned and feel free to send any suggestions for improvements for such events.

Over & out for now.





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