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I ran over the dog

I didn’t think I should share this, but I will. I ran over the dog.

Like many other people during the pandemic, we were finally going to be stuck at home long enough to get a puppy. So, we got one. It made me realise that I’m a cat person.

The dog was a pain. It peed and poohed everywhere, ate everything, chewed all of the windows and doors, destroyed all of our children’s toys, messed up my office and more. My five-year old boys thought the dog’s name was bloody, after I kept saying that bloody dog. Whoops.

Nevertheless, we persevered. I was determined not to get rid of the dog because it would set a bad example to the children. A dog is for life, not just for pandemics.

The puppy grew up a bit, learned the basic rules and regulations – sit, stay, come, stop – and realised there are things that the owner wants it to do and things that they don’t want it to do. That was good and eventually I trusted the dog on walks off the lead and started to quite like it.

However, the one thing that the dog did not understand is that our car could hurt it. As a result, every day, we would leave the house and the dog would chase the car. So, we always made sure that, when using the car, the dog was either in the house or on the leash. Until that day.

That day was the day that I drove out of the house and, just as I did, heard a yelp and looked in the rear-view mirror to see the puppy flopping onto the floor. I’d run over the dog.

He looked in a serious way and it was a Sunday, so I drove as fast as I could to the nearest vet … who was closed. But they kindly answered the door and pointed me to a vet who was open. The vet took an X-Ray of the dog’s leg and said it was clearly broken but they didn’t have a surgeon, so they directed me to another vet who could do surgery. Unfortunately, the surgeon was not there on a Sunday, so the dog had to wait till Monday. He got his leg fixed with a metal splint and came home soon after, for weeks and weeks of rest and recuperation.

Why am I sharing this on my blog?

Because the dog reminded me of a start-up.

A start-up has no idea. They have to learn the rules and regulations. Having said that, they’re very sweet and fun and run around madly, causing trouble. The car is driven by the incumbent who smile at the pup. The start-up pup determinedly bites and chews at the incumbents’ bum, and the incumbent tries to keep it on a leash or in its stall when it gets annoying but, every now and then, the pup breaks free.

Some pups break free and run and run and run; some get run over.

And I know it’s maybe a bad metaphor, but when I ran over my dog it made me feel, on reflection, that it is like stomping on a start-up. I’m the incumbent who should nurture and mentor, and yet I almost killed the pup. I’m glad I didn’t, as the pup is a new and extra dimension to our house that we don’t want to lose. So now I spend hours, days, weeks and months, feeding and nurturing the pup. Isn’t that what responsible owners should do? Isn’t that what responsible markets and companies should do?

And sure, it may be a big investment – not just of time and money, but of heart and soul – but banks and incumbents should really be investing, nurturing, mentoring and supporting the new litters of start-up pups, not shutting them down or running them over.

Just a thought and a build on my thinking from yesterday’s blog. Equally, I didn’t refer to the pup as a human in this blog entry, but I do talk a lot about Fin being the parent and Tech the child. You choose whichever one you prefer.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, 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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