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Fear & Loathing in 2024

We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. - Blaise Pascal

Tim Mahedy, Chief Economist of Access Macro, presented at this month’s Strategy and Business Model Center of Excellence.


Even with a pedigree that includes Chief of Staff to President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and economist for the IMF, Tim readily admits as an economist if you’re right 30% of the time you’re one of the best in the business.


One of Tim’s key themes is the amount of uncertainty facing the system and that we are entering an era of volality that is more reflective of the last 100 years than the last 10.

There are major structural drivers of this uncertainty from the changing geopolitical landscape to fundamental shifts in how we live, work and play. While the Fed is working to get inflation back to the 2% target, there is no going back to exactly the way things were. He calls this the new economic regime.


Uncertainty always creates doubt, and doubt creates fear. - Oscar Munoz

The temptation in the face of uncertainty is to freeze; don’t take action until the right course of action is clear. Unfortunately, this instinct, driven by fear, perpetuates a cycle that creates more uncertainty. With more uncertainty comes greater fear and a greater desire to wait it out.


Those who aren’t waiting are finding opportunities and avoiding the worst pitfalls. Waiting only makes the amount of effort to catch up or work out of a difficult situation that much worse.


Not sure where to start? I wrote this pre-pandemic and it turned out to be a good atlas: Sailing into the Storm.



The Next Era of Banking


The Alloy Labs Alliance’s 2024 Strategic Plan is focused on 4 pillars:


  1. Efficiency: greater efficacy with the same effort

  2. Customer Centricity: reinventing core functions of identity, payments and fraud

  3. Reimagine Banking: expand the scope of what it means to be a bank to gather deposits, grow non-interest income, and attract new customers

  4. Rearchitect: get the right people, processes, and culture in place to respond to the new economic regime

The theme for the Annual Member is the Next Era of Banking. Tim’s talk is the perfect backdrop to the discussion in Nashville.


Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. - W. Clement Stone

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