In Summary
  • When new technologies emerge that increase convenience for your customers, the last thing you want to do is resist.

  • Many, many senior executives, working for many, many large, rich, dominant organisations are also engaged in a “war with the 21st century.”

  • Rather than understanding, tracking and embracing the tech that might transform the lives of their customers, they are involved in outright resistance.

I saw a tweet the other day by Robert Colvile that made me laugh out loud:

“Dear London taxi drivers, if you want to win your war with the 21st century, maybe stop using the phrase ‘Oh, you’re paying by card, are you?” as though you’re being presented with mysterious spices from the East.’”

After the laughter came the reflection.

It’s so true, isn’t it? If you’re a taxi driver sitting smack in the middle of one of the world’s great cities and you’re reluctant to accept cards for payment, what is to become of you? Credit and debit cards have been around since I was a youngster. They have come into widespread use all over the world over the past two decades. Mobile card readers are everywhere. Why would you resist them?

Sure, when someone pays by card you, the seller of the service, have to pay a small percentage commission to the card-provider. This is a small deterrent, but you should be able to make it up in greater volumes if you accept easier payments. Or perhaps you worry about the taxman knowing exactly what you’re earning when your receipts are electronic?

Whatever the reasons for your reluctance, you have to get over them.

If you worry about plastic cards, what will you do about electronic payments that are made by the waving of a smartphone – or a watch? What will you say when a customer asks to pay you by sending you a message on an app?


Going further, what will you do when your fuel-guzzling traditional taxi faces suddenly cheaper electric vehicles? What will you do when you, the driver, become redundant, replaced by cameras, sensors and algorithms?

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