How to make Money 20/20 (even) better

Back from four days in Copenhagen, my verdict on the conference is: outstanding networking, average exhibition but poor content. I had hoped to return with a notepad filled with case studies, new product launches and sundry useful facts with which to surprise and delight my colleagues. No such luck. The curated part of Money 20/20 disappointed.

Let’s start with what was great about the event – everybody was there. Everybody. 3.500 people from over 1.000 businesses involved in Fintech and payments from across Europe and beyond. And exhibitors seemed pretty happy, or at least those that had booked a stand on the main thoroughfare. It was tumbleweed in the boondogs where the Fintech start-ups were banished.

Nonetheless, it’s a tribute to the brand and the organisers hard work that the launch event was so successful.

Here are few things to work on

  1. Because everybody was there so it was almost impossible to find people and, when you did, there was nowhere to sit and limited refreshment options outside of meal times.
  2. The conference app needs a lot of work. The search facility was too basic and there was no way to give in-session feedback or ask questions.
  3. Rudimental. Seriously?? We’re here to network, often with people who don’t speak great English. We don’t need drum and bass blasting us into the corners.
  4. Don’t push us out into the cold on the third evening. For €3000 I could have had an all inclusive in the Caribbean so it’s not too much to expect some food and drink every night. Maybe there was no money left after Rudimental.
  5. Reduce the number of sessions using the panel format. I know it’s easier to get people to agree to get up on stage if they can sit down and shoot the breeze rather than do some work in advance to construct a serious argument but it was frequently deadly dull at Money 20/20. In the wrong hands, panels can allow speakers to bat business buzzwords back and forth rather than tell the audience some things they don’t know. Four out of five tracks were back-to-back panels. That’s too many.
  6. Theme the product launch track. It was great that so many businesses got 10 minutes to pitch but the chances of finding two in a row that were relevant was low.
  7. Find some better moderators. I’ve paid good money and travelled a long way. I want some difficult questions asked. The moderators need to be expert in the subject at hand (some were not) and willing to stand up for the audience.
  8. Let the audience participate. There are number of effective techniques to get everyone engaged the organisers need to use some of them. Otherwise, speaker go off-topic and the delegates begin to snooze (or start playing with their phones).
  9. Invite some retailers. We spent four days discussing an ecosystem but the sharks at the top of the food chain weren’t there. I don’t want to hear what a banker things omni-channel is about, I want to hear Nordstrom or House of Fraser.
  10. Invite some software vendors. These guys are driving the bus so where were they? Not invited or not interested? If the latter, the payment industry may be in more trouble than we’d realised.
  11. Cut the prices. Or at least offer flexible options so people can come for part of the event or share a ticket with a colleague.
  12. Kill day four. Enough already.