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Yesterday after my blog post I went for a 2 hour walk along the mall – checking out the monuments and enjoying an impossibly gorgeous day for DC in February.

My favorite site to see has always been the long climb up the marble steps to sit at the feet of Mr. Abe Lincoln. So inspiring…. and a reminder. We erect memorials and monuments to the people who take chances and fail, fall down and get back up again, those that dare to piss people off. We don’t build statues for those politically correct good old boys that play it safe and seldom challenge the status quo.

Tonight is the Herb Wegner award dinner and….Thunderpunch.

More to come.

Sunday, Feb 27th, 9:06 am (EST)

feels like 7:06 am (MST)

I don’t think I’ve ever flown into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) before. I was on the right side of the plane so I got to see all of our Nation’s Capitol as we came in for an alarmingly close landing.

Have you ever noticed how phallic the Washington Monument is? From the air that’s all I could see but upon landing and remembering its position from the US Capitol Complex it could be a giant flip-o-the-bird to the rest of the world. I like that idea.

Last night I ventured into the lobby bar for I had hunger pangs from my long day on a plane (row 30 over the engine). I find that a vodka martini with two olives is the most efficient way to a) curb the hunger and b) catch up. Mission accomplished. Gradually the bar filled up and I was surrounded by my people….credit union professionals from all over the map.

I am proud to be representing the great state of New Mexico at my first GAC. And no, we didn’t need our passports to fly to DC. I’m still amazed how many people I talk to in my travels think NEW Mexico is some exotic portion of Old Mexico. If you turn to The Weather Channel you’ll notice we’re not even on the map. No, we’re behind the weatherman(woman’s) backside. As they forecast the Southwest region they usually highlight So.Cal and then Phoenix annnnd we’re over to West Texas.

New Mexico – the best kept secret in America. Shhhhhh…..

Anyway – I’m very excited to be here. My dance card is filling up with power breakfasts and receptions and meetings and Galas and of course I cannot miss the keynote address by Captain Sully Sullenberg and ………wait for it……..the return of Thunderpunch.

Should be a wild ride. Stay tuned……

I dont’ think I’ve ever gone three weeks without a blog post. After Steve Jobs broke the four minute mile and lapped us, my mind went into simmer mode.  I had some great comments from some very smart people on that last post. It gave me pause.

Tim McAlpine made this comment:

Who knew the sleeper of an iPod / iTunes combo created a decade ago would lead to iWorld – a magical place where you need not go outside (or carry cash or plastic).

People inside the financial world will dismiss this invention just like the extinct record stores and newspapers and the bookstores and the video stories and the…

And then Borders filed for bankruptcy (as expected). Another warning shot across the credit union bow – a shining example of disruptive technology destroying an entire industry.

Why did Borders Books, Music and Movies ignore the trifecta of disruptive technology that was the Kindle, iPod, and Netflix?

Because their target audience (current customers) were not early adopters of technology and would likely never shift over. There are plenty of people that still love to hold a book in their hand and buy CDs in their plastic case and put them on a shelf in their home. Barnes & Noble was allowed to survive and will hang on a bit longer because they also mimicked early in the game by opening an online store.

One could argue that most existing credit union members (age 48 on average) are not likely to use PayPal or move to an electronic wallet. Too late in the game to change. So we’re safe, right? For now.

But it begs the question: “What about future customers?” New customers are born every day. And this Generation named Y is the second largest in US history. When they reach the age of disposable income and independent transportation (16) are they gonna drive to Borders to buy the latest Lady Gaga CD? Hell no.  They are going to download it to their iPhone.  That’s what killed Borders.

Apple’s electronic wallet is not going to destroy the banking model over night – but the model will replace the traditional process of moving money for Generation Y and Z. They won’t have to switch – they will merely be provided with two options. Drive down to your parents credit union (at $4.00 a gallon in gas) and stand in line to deposit a check or sit in line at the drive-up ATM (wasting precious fossil fuel) OR upload money to their phone.

Our world has changed. The iPhone is really a disruptive innovation. Jobs improved our product and service in ways that the market does not expect, and is designed for a different set of customers. The next generation of customers.

The numbers are there to support our eventual Border-like-demise. The average age of a credit union member continues to inch up and for most risk-averse-regulator-devout-near-retirement leaders, the loan-to-share ratio continues to decline. Some of these venerable commanders have even declared that “It’s not going to be my problem, because I won’t be around in five years.”

There is no better form of validation of Jobs innovation than that statement, in my opinion.

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February 2011