One billion people with $10 in their pocket can call the shots if they want to…….

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As far back as 2003 the Department for Small Scale Industries in India was reviewing the merits of micro-funding. Designed to alleviate poverty and encourage financial mobility micro-funding has recently morphed into an altogether more potent force in the world economy. Why? Just look at the rise in the use of mobile technologies , the ability to handle money without the assistance of a bank and the growing confidence in digital methods to get things done.

Its not just India , Africa has a strong record in micro-funding and mobile payment systems…reality is that Africa was further ahead, in terms of this technology, than the UK was last year when a ‘pay by mobile phone’ system was introduced by Barclays and Orange ( the telecom provider). The UK system was limited to around $22 limit in your electronic wallet , enough for your much needed latte, bran muffin and copy of the newspaper. Now a year along and the system has gained strength and has matured into a useful tool in many situations BUT for the most part you need to have a smart-phone to use these systems.

In a story I found on Mashable , Zoe Fox outlines the success of ‘Zidisha’ which “is the world’s first direct peer-to-peer micro-lending platform, providing Internet users the chance to directly loan money to entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Sound familiar? You may be thinking of Kiva, a much larger on-line micro-lending platform that has channeled more than $300 million of on-line loans to the developing world. Kiva recently launched Kiva Zip, which eliminates the middleman by sending loans directly to mobile phones — just like Zidisha does.”

So significant is the impact of this system that one-third of Kenya’s GDP now goes through M-PESA transactions. ( M for mobile and PESA as in the Swahili for money)

There we go again , its like a broken record ….or is it a broken MP3…anyway, we cannot get away from mobile technology can we? Look at this picture I saw on Google+ as I was writing this piece, it really does have a familiar look to it doesn’t it?

In a quick search for such payment by phone systems I found ‘Pingit’ by Barclays, Onebit,Pouch and ‘‘ within two minutes. If I spent more time I would, of course find more and see subtleties and nuances across the range of services but whatever I find I will need a mobile phone to access them.

I think it would be fair for someone to assume that these styles of technology would have good participation in more developed economies because there is more money around and more people are ‘online’ yet the reverse seems to be the case as we speak today. As they saying goes…’necessity is the mother of invention’ when there is no secure infrastructure but there is a way around that insecurity…people will find a way to progress.

Now, lets look at some other interesting developments which will all have a bearing on and may be directly related to the rise of mobile technology in ‘less developed’ regions of the globe.

India is now the home of the majority of the worlds ‘spam’ e-mails….what ! No Nigeria? No multi-million dollar fund transfers needed due to the death of a fictitious diplomat at the hands of a corrupt government??

Many of the worlds companies have outsourced their telephone help desks to the Indian subcontinent, India is a hot bed of computer education at higher university level, India owns arguably the worlds most aspirational and iconic motor company, namely Jaguar Land Rover. So successful are they that production of the cars will now also take place in China in the near future, Walmart, IKEA and Apple are all looking to set up either on-line or physical business in India, China has recently signed taxation and trade agreements with Botswana, Ireland, the Netherlands and Indonesia; Russia and India have recently agreed to boost trade by $20 billion , China and Australia have agreed to develop a currency swap protocol designed to stabilize business routes and build confidence between the two countries trading entities; China is destined to overtake the USA as the largest economy by 2020 and India is already the 4th biggest, current growthestimates that by 2050 India will be at the top of the tree……..whoa horsey!!!!!!

What happened to the dirt road tracks , the poverty, the famine? Oh , it is still there just under the surface but what is also there is the reality that between India and China there are around 2.5 billion people all moving towards a seat at the table of commerce. When they sit down chances are they will have a smart-phone in their hand!

So what about the micro-funding and mobile stuff?

Well, as the base level of education and practice rises , so does the engagement… does not matter whether the education and practice skills are derived from traditional methods or not, what matters is that the skills are developed.

If I become a millionaire does it really matter if I built my wealth on the back of micro-funding and mobile phones or not? Once I have my million , I become a ‘player’ and can then start to effect the landscape of not only my business but also that of others……now think about that million dollars being spread around a group of people all bound together by a common principle and way of doing business. Now we have a group of ‘players’ and a group worth engaging with……at 3rd Planet Media we call a close-knit group like this , a COSI…..Community Of Special Interest… and we know from experience that they are both powerful, influential and a lot of fun to work with!

So where does the content marketing bit come in, well everywhere to be honest!

The creativity we see in places where progress is much harder to achieve should compel creators of content to take inspiration from their ability to utilize technology to achieve great things. We need to be brave and learn how to communicate with the people we seem not to have too much in common with, for it is in the work needed to build a bridge that we understand why we need the bridge.

Watch this video showing EVERY transportation route in the world…..not only did I find it ‘mesmerizing’ but I made two observations, firstly how incredible it s that humans have managed to develop such a sophisticated method of connection with each other by such cumbersome methods and secondly, remarking how telling it was to see which parts of the map are not well served….yes, ironically they are the areas which have ‘innovated by necessity’ and now show us the way with the technology we have developed…… really quite amazing.

Whatever you do and with whomever you engage please don’t give up until you have a meaningful conversation going…you just never know how much you can improve somebody’s life!

see you on the long and winding road…..Patrick

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