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Brilliant or Buffoon?


One thing I have found as a differentiator in my career thus far is looking for inspiration in unexpected places. Figuring out the trends or schools of thought in one arena may potentially translate to my own.

The bank that employs me, Eagle Bank, will be officially purchased by another local outfit, Enterprise Bank, at the end of the month. In the course of the months of due diligence, I've begun to have some idea of where I will fall in the new organization and have begun correspondence with one of the people who might be my new boss. We have hit it off well and I believe we think a lot alike while also being different from one another. We've had several far-reaching conversations, which I take as a good sign to her openness and curiosity regarding new ideas.

In preparation for a meeting this week, I've been gathering a few thoughts to bring with me in case they would prove relevant. But while assembled this small stack, an article I've gone back and forth on including is a New Yorker piece called, "The Year in Fashion: Down with the Elites!" The reasons to include it are the fact the article mirrors much of what we have seen in politics locally, nationally and internationally.

It says fashion, like many things, has a history of being dominated by men, being elitist and brand-centric rather than lifestyle centric. What it also asks is, are we in love with the brand or with the designer heading up the brand? If it is the latter, the author points out this is nearly impossible to do, "What one cannot follow—it’s too confusing—is the ceaseless turnover of designers at venerable houses, which are more unstable than Stalin’s Politburo." While we may still trust the brand but the person heading up its creation has likely changed regularly.

In light of rapidly changing designers, the piece touches on something else resonating strongly with me. "I’m not nostalgic (well, perhaps a little) about the demise of fashion’s Old Guard and its proprieties, but social media have given the verb “to follow” a new meaning. One no longer follows fashion; one follows Kendall [Jenner] and her B.F.F.s. If Google’s trending metrics are to be believed, the top ten designers of 2016 include two Jenners, Kanye, Beyoncé, Zendaya, and Ivanka [Trump], who ranked ninth, just below the great Sonia Rykiel, who died in August."

While I'm not confident I've seen the aforementioned Kendall Jenner before, I've seen her name frequently in the google trending column. But putting her aside, the influence cast by bloggers on my life is without question. The emails I tend to prioritize are from bloggers and lifestyle forums: Huckberry, Shane Parrish, James Clear, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Art of Manliness, The Minimalists, etc. I often count on people like this I trust to point me in the right direction rather than sort through brands of clothing, books, etc.

What was this post about again?..... Oh that's right! Banking!

The potentially translatable nature of this article I'm trying to reign in is fashion houses are no longer the sole source for people learning what's new and deciding what to wear. Its less about the brand and more about external influencers. Should the same thing be said for and thought of regarding banking? While the future of the bank must stand on great products, employees and culture, will people trust us to convey that or will they instead look to others to help tell them with that (e.g. Points Guy, Mr. Money Moustache, friends and family, etc.)?

All of the above is to ask, can I kick off a thought pattern at a meeting with, "So I've been thinking a lot about Givenchy a lot recently....."

Go Forth Boldly


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