Underbanked Link Dump

Rolling black outs today in LA so I’m gonna take sometime for a link dump from the The Underbanked Financial Services Forum. The underbanked market represent close to 20% of all households in the United States. For many, especially in the Bay Area, it is an almost invisible part of the economy. Here in LA, with check cashing & pay day loan “financial centers” prominent in almost every city in every other strip mall, the potential and the opportunities in this market is actually quite obvious. Furthermore, many in the underbanked market participate only in the cash economy. With the internet’s heavy reliance on digital payments (such as credit cards), many in the underbanked segment are precluded from participating fully in the web economy (much less web 2.0!).

For the majority financial services providers (banks) and retailers (gorcery, general merchandizer etc) creating products and services for this market is actually a top 5 strategic initiative. With the growth slowing due to law of large numbers, they are looking at this market as the next major driver of revenue growth.

Below is presentations from the conference that was left up for the public to pour through.

Conference Presentations

Some of the more interesting ones...

Walmart Important just because its Walmart.

Experian Credit bureaus are really the arbiters of consumer finance.

Fair Isaac Even more extensive intro to the credit industry.

Google Against Semantic Web?

I’m certainly not in the level of Norvig or TBL to be participating in this discussion intelligently.

But I think the point Norvig is trying to make is that the semantic web will eventually appear, but not the way TBL envisioned it. There will be a lot of “fuzziness” to the way webmasters adhere to the RDF (whatever standards/standard that will emerge).

In the end, there will always be a need for an intelligent normalization layer that “attempts” to find pattern, context, and meaning out of all the loseness of the data that is on the web. A simple parser will not be able to “absorb” or read the semantic web (or atleast the entire semantic web). The Google search engine is probably in the best position out of all the EXISTING technologies out there to be that layer, it kind of is for humans. The unfortunate ramification (that TBL would be sad to admit) is that SOMEONE will own the semantic web, not as a standards body or content owner, but as the normalization/extraction layer. If Google is able to garner monopolitic growth without a naturally monopolitic product or business model (search engine), it is not without a huge leap of faith that in the future a player (maybe google) will be able to exact a toll for being the de facto router/translator of data on the web... this is a scary thought ... the end of the open web? (and these guys are freaked out about net neutrality?)