Brett King produces the future in Qatar

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Here’s how to make an entrance at a conference.

Qatar conference 780
Brett King disrupts the old order at the Qatar conference


Don’t just walk on stage. Make a video, and preferably one that sends yourself up.

So while delegates at a Euromoney conference in Doha in December were expecting renowned futurist Brett King to launch straight into his vision for the next generation of banking, instead they saw him wielding a variety of musical instruments before making his way to the gym for some weight lifting and a rigorous rowing machine session, only stopping halfway through to remove his suit jacket.

The video – produced by Euromoney’s own Rebecca Chamberlain – got the attention of everyone at the Euromoney Qatar Conference on Banking 4.0, as King proceeded to explain what banks in Qatar, and everywhere else, need to do to avoid being left behind in a world of disruptors and challenger banks.

His introductory video was designed to showcase how hard banks need to work to meet these challengers, and perhaps what a multi-tasker a futurist needs to be. It went down a storm with the hundreds of delegates in attendance.

Fundamental change

King didn’t mince his words once he was on stage, either.

“As we look at new emerging technologies and AI, how is this further going to change the banking space?” King asked the audience. “To understand this, we have to look back at history at how innovations have disrupted industries. Henry Ford said if he’d asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse…

“If you want to be a bank that competes in the future, you have to compete against Jack Ma, you have to be technology savvy, you have to be technology first; if you are a traditional bank, it’s like competing with both hands behind your back. The biggest threat to banking is not other banks, it’s not even fintech, it’s the fact that the role banking has in our world is going to fundamentally change, and the model we built back in the 1400s that we have just iterated on is no longer going to be competitive.”

They didn’t do banking conferences in the 1400s either. Perhaps King has reinvented the wheel for speaker introductions in the 2020s.