It amazes me, really, that how many people are conflicting themselves in term of logic in their arguments. Or I should say, everyone, including myself, are constantly in a state of contradicting of ourselves when it comes to explain an opinion or in a discussion to win a debate. How so?
So the big news of China's financial world is that Baidu is opening up some kind of online version of a traditional bank, and everybody thinks it is going to rock the money industry because now it has officially married the crown jewel of this era — computer technology. Of course, the marriage carries an army of buzz word ornaments — AI, big data... the scenario is that by collecting consumer data and data crunching, agent shall be able to improve efficiency dramatically in deciding whether one should get a loan approval or not, which, if realized as what they say, is certainly a huge advantage over the status quo — Chinese state-owned banks are notorious in treating their customers badly by being low efficient and arrogant. From my own experience, both as an employee and as a customer, the understanding of what data is and what one can do with it is just not there. Yes they collect a huge amount of private data, but at the mean time these data are dis-organized, arbitrarily designed and decided — guilty as charged, I was one of those who actually designed application form that our loan customer has to fill out for dollar amount up to millions (!!), while I had literally zero experimental proof of any of those data points could be effective, or even correlate in one way or another!? Even worse, the VP of the bank had strong opinion of his own so the form also incorporated many of his wishes while his only defense is that it has been used in banking industry for years or that he had good experience with it — all subjective, all what I say against yours, and I win because I'm the boss, kind of deal → so that's how the wheels went. I'm super-surprised how well these banks are doing according to their official paper, while its internal is such a mess. Oh well.
Back to the topic. Universally everybody thought Baidu stepping into the financial world is a big news, even as yet another example that these tech companies — Alibaba, Tencent, are transforming themselves into something closer to money. Why? Because the core of the argument is that by looking at the same type of entity in the US market, who has about 10% of all financial transaction volume, China has only 0.2% currently → therefore, we are looking at 50x growth just to catch up.
But wait!!! This is what bothers me now.
You can't have both True
First of all, where is the voice of familiar Chinese charateristics now!? Don't people always think that their market is so unique (from the rest of world) that it expects, deserves, a special treatment, a Chinese version!? How come all of sudden what US market is now a benchmark? This isn't an isolated case. Taking any marketing PPT when the first couple pages talks about an industry, a business model, there is always the logic that whatever the 先进国家 has (or had), it represents a self-proven projection of what the topic (and PPT author's view) will have. Don't you see!? This is completly contradicting to what they will inevitably derive just a few pages later, now the old cliché that "oh btw, China is different that you just don't understand it as well as I do, and there is a new, modified, custom-made version, just for China, and look how smart I am, how business savvy I am, and how接地气 I am". Give me a fxxx break!!! This is completly BS, and the frustration I have is that s/he doesn't realize how BS s/he is being! What I'm hearing are two assumptions as the basis of their logic:
- I have an apple, and you have an orange.
- Because orange grows 10 lb/piece, my apple will grow to 10 lb/piece, too.
Excuse me!? You can have one of these two points, but not both.
You can't make projection withiout distinction
Secondly, if the business (model) are indeed the same in core — online or not is just a form, the core of banking, the logic of banking — I'm talking about transactional logics and details, do your due dilligence — they should still be viewed in at least two segments — a fixed-value segment and a variable-value segment.
Fixed-value segment: covers attributes and transactions that are universally true and can be confidently applied in parallel, for example, how interest rate is calculated, how accounting books are made, how tax is done... really, people, please stop being creative in this segment, read the rules written by authority and educate yourself to be a domain expert on these. These are blank & white, and should be understood like
2*2=4— everybody works on the same syntax and rule.
Variable-value segment: covers these local opinions and customs that are society driven, psychology driven, and human-need driven. So the homework here is to gain an insight of these factors, and without me even says, these topics are hard!! I wouldn't even dare to claim there is science behind them. There are studies and professors, but really, human business is just messy. It's difficult to profile a person, let alone to predict a behavior. There are patterns when samples are large, but individual is a wildcard.
So what I'm trying to derive from this? is that only the fixed values are transportable and can be used in a projection. The variable segment requires a delibrate analysis with a clearly defined point of view (yes, you are required to take a stand so all the analysis has a foundation. Otherwise, it's meaningless.) and framework so to support your opinion, and like any subjevtive POV it's very much up for debate and challenge (but at least it is clear to all that it is a subjective POV, not an objective fact, and that is a core difference). But omitting it as if it is a universal knowledge without a need of explanation is just a coward action showing that you don't understand it either, and that defeats the whole logic of the my apple will grow to 10 lb/piece just because their apple grows to that big, too. No!! If your division of fixed vs. variable is 20%-80%, I would only accept that there is 20% of a chance your apple will grow to their size, certainly not 100%. Period. You see, this is how logic should be, be logical, and be consistent.
Too many times now, in too many occasions, and by too many dressed-up experts and talk shows, the two contradicting views are being presented and mingled to support a single argument, which fundamentally is saying:
"Look, I flip a coin and both faces are up!"
This line is indeed impressive (as its speaker is hoping to sound). As a matter of fact, it must be impressive, it has to be impressive, because this is absolutely magical! It is absolutely magical because, it can not logically happen. That's all.
— by Feng Xia