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The Elephant in the bedroom

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I still haven’t managed to get rid of the elephant in the room. In fact, it’s worse now, as he’s moved into the bedroom in the evenings. It makes it really hard to sleep. Yes, I need to sleep on the bed too, but find it hard to sleep as I spend all night hoping he doesn’t roll over. Tonight, was one of those nights. He was tossing and turning, and kept pushing me out of the bed onto the floor.

“What’s up, bud?” I asked.

“I can’t sleep”, he said.

“Why not?” I asked, as that was pretty obvious.

“Worrying”, he said.

ME: “About what?”

ELEPHANT: “The future.”

ME: “But the future’s over there”, I said pointing. We had caught the bird, and put him in a cage that very day.

ELEPHANT: “That’s what worries me.”

ME: “Why?”

ELEPHANT: “You can’t cage the future.”

ME: “But last time you told me we were silly to set it free.”


ME: “And the future looks better now, doesn’t it?”

ELEPHANT: “Why? Because it’s in a cage?”

ME: “No, because America has a new leader.”

ELEPHANT: “That helps.”

ME: “And they’ve found a vaccine for the virus.”

ELEPHANT: “A cure?”

ME: “No, but a vaccine means we can get back to some sense of new normality.”

ELEPHANT: “That’s good.”

ME: “So why are you worried.”

ELEPHANT: “Because I’m the economy and I’m fragile.”

ME: “But you must know something about where things are going.”

ELEPHANT: “I have no idea. I’m the economy, not an economist.”

ME: “Well, why not ask the bird?”

ELEPHANT: “The bird does not speak.”

At this, the bird started tapping on his cage.

ME: “He’s talking to us.”

ELEPHANT: “I don’t hear him.”

ME: “It’s morse code.”

ELEPHANT: “Where would he learn that?”

ME: “I dunno. Woodpecking school?”

ELEPHANT: “So, what’s he saying.”

Dit-dah-dit-dit dit dah   dah-dah dit   dah-dah-dah dit-dit-dah dah   dah-dah-dah dit-dit-dah-dit   dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit-dit dit-dit-dit   dah-dit-dah-dit dit-dah dah-dah-dit dit

ME: “Let me out of this cage?”

ELEPHANT: “You mustn’t do that. Not without a tracker anyway.”

ME: “I know that. I’ve put one on him already, just in case.”

ELEPHANT: “So, ask him what’s the future?”

ME: “You could ask him.”

ELEPHANT: “I can’t. I’m just a voice in your head.”

ME: “Oh!” I turned to the bird. “What’s going to happen in the future.” He started tapping away.

ELEPHANT: “What’s he saying?”

ME: “I’m not sure. It’s morse code.”

ELEPHANT: “Use this chart.”

I listened to the bird tapping.

Dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit   dit-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dah dah dit-dit-dah dit-dah-dit dit  dit-dit dit-dit-dit   dah-dah-dah dit-dah-dit dit-dah dah-dit dah-dah-dit dit

ME: “I think he’s saying ‘the future is orange’.”

ELEPHANT: “Jeez. Those sponsors get everywhere.”

Dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit dit-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dah dah dit-dit-dah dit-dah-dit dit dit-dit dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit dah-dit-dit-dit dit-dah-dit dit-dit dah-dah-dit dit-dit-dit-dit dah dit-dit dah-dah-dit dah-dah-dah dah dah dit-dah dit-dah-dah dit dit-dah dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit-dit dit-dah dah-dit-dit dit dit-dit-dit

ME: “Now he’s saying ‘the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.”

ELEPHANT: “This is not helpful.”

ME: “I think I’ll set the bird free.”

Dah dit-dit-dit-dit dit dit-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dah dah dit-dit-dah dit-dah-dit dit dit-dit dit-dit-dit dah-dit-dit dit-dit dah-dah-dit dit-dit dah dit-dah dit-dah-dit-dit

ELEPHANT: “What was that?”

ME: as I’m opening the cage,he said ‘The future is digital’.”


ME: “Why?” I asked, just as the bird was fluttering towards the open door of the cage.

ELEPHANT: “I need to know what he means by that.”

ME: I closed the door of the cage again. “I can ask him”.

ELEPHANT: “Please.”

ME: “Excuse me bird, but you know the future. What do you mean by the future is digital?”

The bird just sat on his perch.

ME: “Excuse me bird, my friend here is not really an elephant. He just looks like one. He’s the elephant in the bedroom that represents the economy. He has asked if you can explain what you mean by the future is digital?”

The bird just sat on his perch.

ELEPHANT: “I’ll ask him” and, with that, the elephant stood up from the bed and walked to the cage. Unfortunately, as he did so, he sneezed and his sneeze sent the cage, with the bird inside, out of the window.

I ran to the window and looked down. The cage was on the ground smashed, and no bird to be seen.

ME: “Elephant! You let the future go.”

ELEPHANT: “You’re going to have to find it and catch it again!”

ME: “But we were just getting somewhere. The future is digital, bright, orange, with shades.”

ELEPHANT: “I’m tired” he said and, with that, went back to bed.

I thought about it for a long time that night, and realised the bird had told us a truism. The future is bright, it may even be bright orange, and it is digital, that is obvious. But what he had really been saying is that people, companies, organisations, governments, economies and more must all be fully digitalised to survive long-term.

I know this, so why didn’t the elephant?

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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