David Josephs: “Like it or not, AI will make more decisions for you”

Try not to get too lost in what is directly in front of you. Keep in mind that we are in the most dynamic sector of the global economy. Every day there are hundreds of millions of moments of truth when a consumer is paying someone for goods or services. If we can do something […]

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Try not to get too lost in what is directly in front of you. Keep in mind that we are in the most dynamic sector of the global economy. Every day there are hundreds of millions of moments of truth when a consumer is paying someone for goods or services. If we can do something to improve each of those moments, even in a small way, we can have a positive impact that adds up to an awful lot.

As part of our series about the future of retail, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Josephs.

David is a pioneer in the open loop prepaid space, having previously led prepaid business at J.P. Morgan Chase for close to 10 years. He also held leadership positions within Chase Card Services and First Data. For the last five years prior to joining daVinci, David was at Visa where he served as head of Debit and Prepaid in North America, led Product Delivery for Merchants and Acquirers in Europe and also led Visa’s emerging push payments business (Visa Direct) in Europe.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started in the public sector as a legislative assistant to a Member of Congress and a U.S. Senator and migrated over to the business side of healthcare. That ultimately led me to treasury services at Bank One in Chicago. JPMorgan Chase bought Bank One, and it was there that I focused on different types of card payments and processing, which eventually led to my experiences at Visa.

I’ve worked in various cities in the US as well as overseas. Every job responsibility, client served, technology I’ve been exposed to, all that I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made have prepared me for my role at daVinci Payments.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Right after Hurricane Katrina I was sent down to Texas to help support one of the sites where refugees from Louisiana were sheltering. We were tasked with distributing prepaid cards with disaster relief assistance that would enable people to get out of the convention center where the refugees were placed, enabling them to access temporary housing and food assistance. There were thousands of people there, regular folks whose lives were completely shattered by the storm and its aftermath. They had to flee their homes with no possessions, no money and just the clothes on their backs.

We noticed that a lot of the kids were playing with surgical gloves the staff had transformed into balloons. When we asked the FEMA staff why there were so many glove balloons floating around, they responded that they were the only toys the kids had. A few hours later one of my teammates appeared with hundreds of little stuffed animals, games, and coloring books. She had mobilized a team to drive all over Dallas, explaining the situation to retailers. The stores all donated the toys for the kids.

I have never forgotten what it was like when she brought in those toys. The children were delighted, it put huge smiles on their faces and helped reduce some of the burden of their pretty challenging circumstances.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

I was working on a new kind of payment product that did not exist. We designed it quickly and were in the process of building it over the course of only a few months. Having started in January, we were targeting to launch in early July. It was in April, very late at night when the head of product operations looked up from what he was doing and bluntly said, “You know, we aren’t set up to bill for any of this,” and then he went right back to what he was doing without missing a beat. We were creating a payment product that would generate new revenue streams, but we were so focused on the product up to that point that we had not planned for how we would actually receive the service fees.

Aside from his hilarious dry delivery, it really brought home to me the importance of defining the big picture and how crucial it is for everyone involved to have a voice and share their opinions. By the way, we did figure out how to bill for the product before it was launched.

Are you working on any new exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

We’ve recently completed the “Future Of Payments” market research study that had a surprising finding:

When you ask people how they want to be paid, they are already thinking about how they want to spend.

This shift in behavior reveals that people want to receive payments that can be used through a variety of form factors like contactless, mobile wallets and pay apps. We are using those insights to create new ways to pay virtually that can be spent more easily and securely through this giant transition to online mobile-first payments.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Try not to get too lost in what is directly in front of you. Keep in mind that we are in the most dynamic sector of the global economy. Every day there are hundreds of millions of moments of truth when a consumer is paying someone for goods or services. If we can do something to improve each of those moments, even in a small way, we can have a positive impact that adds up to an awful lot.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Honestly, there are too many to mention. At every step there have been people who have provided guidance, support, and sometimes just a good kick when I needed it.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Broadly defined, financial technology empowers and betters the lives of virtually everyone — providing needed assistance in urgent crises, delivering wages faster, helping people buy and sell to make a living.

The industry I am fortunate enough to work in is constantly innovating — driving easier access to funds, making payments more secure, creating new form factors for sending and receiving payments. When you think about how many people use electronic payments every day, even small, incremental advancements in security, speed or reach can impact and improve hundreds of millions of lives.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main question of our interview. Can you share 5 examples of how retail companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to shop?

Five-year predictions are always somewhat risky, but here goes;

1) Virtual shopping will become more lifelike, fun and gamified — trying on clothes, test driving a car, buying items for an apartment or a house — consumers will “experience” much more without having to go to the store.

2) As a counterpoint to #1, in-person retail will become much more special. What once was a shopping trip will become more personal and customized for the time and setting. This will be particularly true on our main streets and key retail districts.

3) Like it or not, AI will make more decisions for you. It won’t just reorder the same products over and over, it will assist you in understanding your preferences, propensity to try, what you deem a good value and even order for optimal freshness, and usability.

4) Greater value will be delivered through even greater transparency that reports not just what other people think of a product or service, but how each product stacks up to your personal preferences for sourcing, community of origin and what differentiates it from other products.

5) Paying will be more effortless, contactless and secure. Card payments will remain fundamental, but the form factors are going to be very different. Enhanced biometric verification, voice, physical implants and even someday — way out in the future — maybe brainwave directed payments. Elon Musk, whom you’ve interviewed, has already invested to make many of these happen.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d institute a thirty second rule for conversation and thought, inverse to the five second rule for food. Instead of “it’s okay to eat if it’s less than five seconds” we could establish “just think about what you heard for 30 seconds before responding or reacting. Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes for half a minute, then respond.” Across a wide enough population, those little half minute blocks could build the foundation for an entire tower of understanding.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Linkedin –

https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-josephs-046418a/ and


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