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#HSonAir Podcast: Preview of the LIMRA/LOMA Social Business Conference for Financial Services

erikqualman.blogIn Episode 84, Carolyn Clement (@singingcarolyn) and Norah Denley (@ndenley) preview the upcoming LIMRA/LOMA Social Business Conference for Financial Services, and join me in a special interview with Technology and Social Media Expert, author, and speaker Erik Qualman (@equalman).  As a pioneer on the use of social media for business, Erik shares insights from his presentation entitled  “Disruptive Innovation,” and the evolving changes our industry has experienced in its adoption of social and digital technology.
There is still time to register for the Social Business Conference (#LLSBC) in Boston on August 17-19th and it is not to be missed.  This year Hearsay Social On the Air will record an all new episode in front of a LIVE audience as well as participate in the annual presentation of the Silverbowl Awards. On Friday, our CEO and co-founder Clara Shih (@clarashih) kick off the final day with a presentation on the Omnichannel Advisor and Client.  We hope you will join us in Boston for this always popular event.
Be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


How Firms Will Reach Next-Gen Investors

shutterstock_156997538The way consumers interact with service providers—whether retail, health care or banking—has profoundly changed from just five years ago. Even in heavily regulated industries like financial services, digital disrupters have drastically altered the status quo, forcing companies to rethink traditional business models in light of new digital entrants and shifting client expectations. From robo advisors to new regulations, millennials to baby boomers, new developments are making clear that the ways of the past are no longer the keys to success in the future—or even today.
The urgent necessity of firms and their employees to adapt to the changing expectations of today’s always-connected consumer was a key theme at Hearsay Social’s recent Innovation Summit in San Francisco, which focused on the transformative changes taking place within the financial services and insurance sector, as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
To stay relevant and succeed in the face of such profound changes, here are five things to keep in mind:

1. Financial technology is an evolution, not a revolution.

The phenomenon that is happening in financial services is an evolution, rather than a revolution, according to Naureen Hassan, the chief digital officer at Morgan Stanley, in her opening remarks on the future of wealth management. Amazon and Google have set the bar for what consumers now expect and demand. These new consumer expectations do not mean that traditional wealth management firms have to completely change course, but they need to evolve.
Consumer trends that started in retail are now clearly affecting regulated industries like financial services. For example, mobile now accounts for 21 percent of all transactions at Starbucks. Allowing customers to order via mobile before picking up their drink moves people through lines more quickly, but still allows for personalized customer experiences. Consumers expect to have access to certain information and activities through their phones, but that doesn’t mean that human interaction is going away. Leading financial firms are exploring similar practices and next-gen tools, and may look to retail leaders like Starbucks for ways to enhance customer experiences.

2. Skate where the puck is going.

This should come as no surprise, but following the money is always a good strategy. There is a lot of buzz in the industry about robo advisors and digital-direct financial products, but those channels only capture a small portion of invested assets. The 10 leading financial advisor channel firms still tout more than $13 trillion assets under management, compared to $250 billion for robo advisors. Focusing on capturing the generational transfer of wealth is a much bigger opportunity. As Chip Roame of Tiburon Strategic Advisors points out, baby boomers, who still hold the majority of America’s wealth, will liquidate some portion of the $59.4 trillion in retirement plans, personal assets and small businesses they currently control. A significant portion of this money will go to the current millennial generation, and getting in touch with them now is essential.

3. Know your next generation of clients.

Financial planners and advisors looking to reach this next group of investors need to know that millennials have already taken the mantle as the largest portion of the American population, and just last year became the biggest part of the American workforce. This is quickly creating a lot of new client opportunities, but firms will need a refined understanding of how to meet the unique needs of this growing demographic, as my co-founder and CEO of Hearsay Social Clara Shih has shared.
Moreover, what financial professionals may not know is that despite their digital dispositions, most millennials still crave face-to-face interaction with an advisor, just like their parents before them. However, millennials also expect those advisors to be digitally savvy. Having a strong online presence and communicating through a variety of digital channels is imperative. Digital technology is not just a disrupter, but also an enabler, opening doors for advisors to have the same human interactions with a younger generation.

4. Digital technology is not turn-key.

Simply opening new digital channels of communication for customers is not enough. You have to put in the effort to actually engage with customers where they want to interact. Kenneth Lin, founder and CEO at Credit Karma, demonstrated how his company conducts all customer interactions online, with no cold calls and no physical touchpoints. While this may not be the right approach for other financial services professionals, it certainly shows that communication will often originate online.
Today, customers expect to find and hear from you exactly when, where and how they prefer: on social media and mobile devices. Millennials are even more likely to share their experiences on social media. As a result, firms that fail to provide desired communication channels for their advisors to reach their clients—like text messaging—puts firms and advisors at risk of being left behind. Amitabh Jhawar, COO of Braintree, said his company uses social media data to inform risk modeling.

5. Financial services are being unbundled.

The primary driver of disruption in financial services is deconstruction of the one-size-fits-all product, according to Jon Sakoda, general partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. This unbundling allows new entrants to disrupt large incumbent firms by offering specialized, niche services at scale. To compete, traditional financial organizations must offer faster, more efficient services while playing to their “human” strengths. High tech but also high touch is how to win in today’s marketplace.
The undoubted winner in the digital evolution of financial services is the consumer, who will have a wider array of options at cheaper prices. If there are any losers, it will be those who fail to put forth the effort to arm themselves with digital technology to meet the needs of the always connected consumer.
This article originally appeared in 
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Photo Recap: Highlights from Hearsay Innovation Summit 2016

Hearsay Innovation Summit (#hearsaysummit) may be over, but the inspiration and conversations that took place in San Francisco live on. From the networking to inspiring presentations, this year’s event delivered on its many promises. See below for a photo recap of some of Hearsay Innovation Summit’s most memorable moments.

1. An inviting entrance and a behind-the-scene look…


Hearsay-IS2016-00042. Guest arrive at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco.


3. Early in the morning, attendees were treated to a tasty breakfast buffet and smoothie bar.

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4. Lots of networking and mingling took place at Thursday’s event, which included just under two hundred attendees.


5. An inviting and warm welcome by Hearsay Social co-founder and COO Steve Garrity.

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6. After the welcome and opening remarks, the audience was treated to a stellar lineup of presenters which represented both traditional brokerage and fintech ‘disruptors’, including a presentation on the omnichannel customer journey by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih.


7. After the break, we heard from Hearsay Social’s VP of Product Mark Gilbert and Barry Nelson as they shared Hearsay Social’s product roadmap and vision, followed by a fireside chat with Braintree’s Amit Jhawar and an engaging, fact-driven presentation by Chip Roame of Tiburon Advisors.


8. Guests mingled and engaged in inspiring conversation during lunch.


9. After lunch, a panel consisting of representatives from leading fintech companies and a large brokerage firm took center stage.


10. Goldieblox CEO Debbi Sterling moved the audience with her story of how she turned a concept to empower girls to explore STEM fields into a booming toy company.

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11. Jon Sakoda, general partner at NEA, presented the closing remarks and shared a dynamic presentation on Silicon Valley Perspectives.


12. A captive audience and an insightful Q&A.


13. And finally, a group photo of Hearsay Social senior leaders and industry C-suite executives, customers and partners.

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14.  The day concluded with a book signing of The Social Business Imperative by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (on sale now) in which everyone received a complimentary copy.

That’s a wrap!
On behalf of our founders, senior leaders, and employees of Hearsay Social, we want to send a heartfelt “thanks” to everyone who came out to make this the best Summit yet! We’re already looking forward to next year!

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#HSonAir Podcast: A Review of the Hearsay Innovation Summit 2016

SummitVisual-03In Episode 80, Victor and Alissa are joined by Sarah Pederson (@sarahcpedersen)  of the Customer Success team and Dan Tucker (@1danieltucker) of the Product team to review and discuss the highlights and themes from this year’s Innovation Summit (#HearsaySummit) in our hometown of San Francisco.  
Be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to  We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


#HSonAir Podcast- Customer Spotlight Series: Amy Malloy of RPM Mortgage

Hearsay studio picIn Episode 76, Amy Malloy (@amybmalloy) Social Media Marketing Specialist at RPM Mortgage, joins us to share how they are empowering their loan officers to leverage social media to connect with clients and prospects. In our discussion, Amy shares how RPM Mortgage addresses digital transformation, content strategy, and how changing regulations and customer expectations drive the need for new technology.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih: The Vertical Cloud and Regulations Will Have a Profound Impact on Business in 2016

shutterstock_293401085In 2015, the exponential changes taking place within the technology industry was a recurring theme in the business world. Change was no longer just ubiquitous; it was accelerating. Today, this message has become even clearer as technological advancements continue at a rapid pace and are revolutionizing every aspect of our daily lives.
I wrote how this is fundamentally changing the consumer experience in a recent article published by Fast Company entitled “The Rise of Millennials, Crowdsourcing, And Automation.” But what about the enterprise? Here are two massive trends that business leaders need to watch in 2016:

The vertical cloud comes of age

For some years now, many cloud vendors have sold their products to multiple industries – an approach that has worked exceptionally well for companies like Workday and Salesforce. In 2016 and beyond, thanks to key technology developments across the public and private arena including low cost web hosting services and no-cost open-source programming languages, we will see the vertical cloud come of age, particularly in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services – industries that have largely been neglected by Silicon Valley due to the unique complexities involved. According to Frost & Sullivan, the opportunity in healthcare cloud will grow from $903 million in 2013 to $3.5 billion in 2020, while TechNavio predicts cloud financial services will grow 25% per year through 2018.
With the privilege of focus, vertical cloud solutions will be game-changing with obvious benefits. It offers more tailored offerings to address specific needs and solve unique industry challenges; it offers rapid ease of deployment, eliminating the need for lengthy implementations to customize and “verticalize” a “one-size-fits-all” product; and it allows those vendors to develop true industry expertise and deeper customer relationships such that customer feedback can rapidly evolve into newer and better solutions over time.
Ultimately, this enables those vertical cloud solutions to grow faster and establish dominant market share than traditional software vendors. Gartner estimates that the 2015 vertical spend of $113 billion will grow at 7 percent per year, something that Salesforce took note of last year (following Infor’s lead at their Dreamforce event) by doubling down on their vertical-focused strategy.

Regulators will aggressively play ‘catch-up’ to keep up with the impending regulatory tsunami

In 2016, there will be a growing number of regulators and regulations from the SEC, FINRA, DoL, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators, and others. The rapid and revolutionary shifts enabled by technology in recent years have caught regulators off-guard in everything from hospitality and transportation to healthcare and cybersecurity. But in 2016, I expect regulators across industries and countries to aggressively play catch-up and apply new levels of pressure on many disruptive companies.
We’re seeing this start now, with regulators across the globe poking holes in Uber’s business model. Right here in San Francisco, Prop F, aimed at regulating AirBnB’s impact on the tight housing market, failed to pass but still garnered 45 percent of the popular vote.
Not surprisingly, this game of regulatory catch-up is even more pronounced in highly regulated industries such as financial services. For example, the Department of Labor has proposed new rules requiring financial advisors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest with funds they recommend, while leaders at the SEC consider if and how to regulate robo-advisor firms, perhaps holding them to a fiduciary standard for offering (automated) advice.
Hearsay Social, for one, is helping firms and advisors navigate the impending tailwinds by keeping them abreast of these changes and offering solutions to remain successful.
As regulators continue to keep up with these massive changes, 2016 will be a year where businesses across industries will need to prepare for the shifting regulatory landscape while still delivering value to their customers. To overcome the overhead costs and time required to manage to regulatory guidelines and policies, companies will need to find ways to drive efficiency and growth by leveraging technology that enables their workforce to be more productive and compliant.
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#HSonAir Podcast: Employee Spotlight Series- Chris Dickens (Product Management)

IMG_9666In Episode 68 we continue our Employee Spotlight Series with an interview of Chris Dickens, (@_ChrisDickens) Technical Product Manager at Hearsay Social in our Seattle office. In our interview, Chris shares his early influences in technology, insight on the work he does today, and his thoughts on the future of the industry.  We also explore his love for problem solving and the need to take risks in order to grow and improve.
I invite you to be part of the conversation with me  @victorgaxiola on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to   I also invite you to “like” our podcast  page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.
WE ARE HIRING? If you are interested in finding out what exciting positions are available, please visit our careers page on our website.

#HSonAir Podcast- Employee Spotlight Series: Yahui Jin and Roger Hu (Product/Engineering)

Roger Hu and Yahui Jin
Roger Hu and Yahui Jin

The Hearsay Social story may have begun with Clara and Steve, however realizing the vision meant hiring others who shared the same passion, drive and commitment to create something special.  In episode 59 we interview Yahui Jin, Mobile Tech Lead and Roger Hu, Director of Engineering, to share their stories of the early days at Hearsay Social.

Together we discuss how Hearsay Social has evolved over the years, the joy that comes with making a difference, and how we’ve managed to maintain the unique culture that continues to attract new talent today. It was my honor to profile these longtime employees for their continued contributions and passion and for lending their talents to the growth and success of our team.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to  
Remember to “like” our  page on Facebook and continue to follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk

#HSonAir Podcast: Introducing the Social Business Maturity Model

Social BUsiness Maturity CurveTo promote the recent launch of our Social Business Maturity Model, Sarah Pedersen (@sarahcpedersen), Director of Customer Success – West / Asia at Hearsay Social, joins us to share how the model was created, how it works, and the key factors for success that we identified after evaluating the maturity of over 100 leading financial services and insurance firms.
In addition, for attendees of the LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services (#LLSMC), we have a bonus interview with Jen Dimaculangan (@whatjeneats) of our Customer Success Team and one of our resident “foodies,”  to share her favorite places for great food, drinks, desserts and fun in San Francisco.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to  
Remember to “like” our NEW page on Facebook and continue to follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk


#HSonAir Podcast: Robo-Apocalypse: Is My Computer Trying to Kill Me?

CA618A34-DB74-4713-82AD-1B68AF290A64In our most ambitious podcast ever, episode 53 digs deep into our psyche and the mysteries surrounding the pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and big data.  Steve Garrity (@stgarrity), Ben Henry (@bjhenry), and Julia Winder (@juliawinder) join Eli and I in an after hours discussion on the pros and cons of tech advancement for humanity.  We hope you’ll enjoy this thought provoking journey that hopes to answer the question…is your computer trying to kill you?
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to
Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk