At each year’s FIA Boca conference, a certain topic, issue or person becomes “the thing everyone talks about.” It may be an impending rule, a disruptive new technology, or an outlandish comment made at the exchange leader panel. Two years ago it was then-CFTC chairman Gary Gensler displaying his dance moves after planting a rumor he would be up for another stint as head of the regulator. In 2007 it was the envelopes slid under the hotel room doors of Charlie Carey and Bernie Dan announcing ICE’s competing bid for the CBOT.
This year it was last Wednesday’s luncheon keynote by creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson. Robinson, whose lecture, “How Schools Kill Creativity” is the most popular TED Talk of all time, offered up 20 minutes of the most thought-provoking, intelligent and laugh-out-loud funny commentary ever on display at a Boca conference.
From Wednesday on, at every meeting or social engagement I attended, the name Sir Ken Robinson was dropped at some point, as everyone seemed to hear a personally gift-wrapped message. A CEO of a fintech startup voiced concerns to me after listening to Sir Ken that the U.S., which used to be the creative center of the universe, is losing its edge. A trade advocacy representative pointed to Sir Ken as proof that overly-prescriptive regulation is destroying innovation. Several people pondered aloud how much more successful they or their children would have been had their creativity been allowed to flourish.
It was, in fact, a bit of creative thinking that brought Sir Ken Robinson to the Boca conference. The keynote slot was sponsored by our friends at TD Ameritrade and we hear that the architect of the out-of-the-box pick was Donnie Roberts, managing director at the firm’s Thinkorswim platform. Roberts, it should be told, is a firm believer in the TED-style presentation format, having acted as one of the presenters at last summer’s MarketsWiki Education Summer Intern Series.
Speaking of MarketsWiki Education, Sir Ken was pleased to hear about the initiative and enthusiasm we are bringing to our annual series for the next generation of market professionals and market participants – so much so that he gave John Lothian News a shout-out during his speech. That could be about the best endorsement we have yet received.
A final note – thank you to newly-appointed Trading Technologies Chief Marketing Officer Brian Mehta for posting the above photo to his Twitter feed, thereby allowing us to “borrow” it. That is creative collaboration in action. Sir Ken would be proud.