The Digital Frontline – A Retreat to Reading Books

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an event around resilience, in the world of consumer duty and cyber threats, in Manchester. All very interesting, and I walked away with the feeling that what we think we know is merely just a fraction of what is really going on.

It was an, albeit a concerning, eye-opener to the need to be prepared and being operationally (and indeed cyber) resilient to potential risks.

The event, built upon a prior session in London, more focused on the public sector, which highlighted digital threats posed by state actors and criminal entities (the size of a large G7 economy these days).

Most of the time, we are just not aware of what is going on… yet in the background, there are relentless attempts at extortion, brand damage, and other malicious intents. It seems to be getting worse, and indeed highlighted the week before, upon visiting the British Library, finding that they had had a ransomware attack too).

Dyb-Dob – Be Prepared

All of this did make me think on the way home about preparedness. Why is it we are all too ready to spend money on growth and new exciting tech?… Yet preparedness or protective measures for future threats, some even yet to be determined, not so much.

When losses remain unseen, investment in defences often feels unnecessary. Yet, without the investment, if something occurs, can have of much greater impact and stress for all involved. It is one of our human cognitive biases or blind spots… loss aversion, I think?

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It is also true in the world of Accounts Receivable, Collections, and Recoveries.

How many leaders of these functions have struggled to explain the need for gathering data from upstream processes (updated contact details, potential vulnerabilities, financial difficulties), or educating customers, providing support when times are good… rather than having to gather this information once the customer is already having challenges and under stress?

… and as for technology investment, this is why many still struggle with spreadsheets, multiple systems, and manual processes, whilst the onboarding process is seamless and slick.

There’s often a discernible imbalance in investment, favouring growth over preventive and supportive strategies.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. To some extent with the Consumer Duty, in financial services at least, the FCA has come to the rescue, requiring resilience and good customer outcomes across the entire customer journey… as a compliance requirement, it should help.

Social Ideas

Getting out and about meeting new people I am still finding really refreshing. Not just for the ideas sparked from any event content, but also for the informal discussion too.

At the event, in London, the lunchtime discussion turned to the media reports if the day around social media consumption of news, and how this is changing the media landscape, especially amongst the ‘youth’ of today.

Apart from thinking I am sure I heard the same concerns and dangers highlighted by my parents in the 1980s about television, I also realised that most of my news is already from X/Twitter, curated video clips from TikTok/Instagram, leading to watching long-form content on YouTube. (I am definitely not in the ‘younger’ demographic btw!)

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Little of my media consumption is traditional media (Live TV or newspapers). You can see the challenges they are under, especially for niche content (science/tech discussions and food videos in my case).

Room for Reading

This splurge of new media formats has, undoubtedly impacted my reading behaviour too.

I have never been an avid reader but trained myself to do so really to access ideas in non-fiction or business books in particular. With the advent of short-form videos, however, this has become increasingly frustrating.

I mean, why read 250 pages to express ideas that could be explained in 6 pages of PowerPoint, in a talk online? It is just so much more efficient.

Yet, a recent sci-fi thriller on Netflix this weekend gave me another view. That is just how great fiction is at exploring hypothetical scenarios and questions. The film was thought-provoking, as good ideas are, and with some good storytelling had me thinking about it all weekend.

This together with the lunchtime discussion has me reevaluating reading fiction again… Maybe a resolution to revisit a good book or two… now I just need to find a bit of time, and get into the habit!

Have a good week everyone.

(thanks to the Fournet team for the event invites)


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