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Michael Chung: Why I Joined Bond

Michael Chung: Why I Joined Bond

My journey to Bond weaves through a law firm founded in San Francisco in the late 1800s, a few well-established tech companies, a technology startup and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

I've always found myself drawn to a diversity of experiences and ideas, as well as an assortment of problems to solve. The experience I've gained working in both public and private sectors has prepared me for an incredible challenge and opportunity — to work at the intersection of finance and tech-powered innovation as Bond's Senior Commercial Counsel. 

When I sat down to write this post, an old David Foster Wallace joke popped up in my mind and reminded me of a principle that's helped shape my career. During his commencement address to Kenyon College graduates back in 2005, Foster Wallace tees up this joke describing two young fish swimming along and encountering an older fish swimming the other way. The older fish says, "Morning boys. How's the water?" The two younger fish look at each other for a second, perplexed, before one replies, "What the hell is water?" 

Wallace is quick to temper the sugary sweetness of a college commencement parable with the real lesson behind the joke saying,"The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about."

That same principle applies in finance precisely because your vantage point defines how you see the financial system at large. I think of Bond as a kind of Rosetta Stone for finance. It allows banks, brands, and businesses who are uniquely equipped with a high-definition picture of what financial products their customers need to deliver on those needs.

In the past, banks and brands were forced to whittle down their definition of what financial innovation is and what it could mean to their customers. Those definitions had to fit in the narrow gaps that legacy APIs and inflexible software financial institutions allowed. Using Bond, those same banks and brands don't have to sacrifice their vision. They can bring their ideas to life on an API-powered platform built for the modern world of finance.

Industries that can support an array of ideas are better for it. In finance, less than stellar software tools have filtered out ideas that could change the entire industry, or just simply delight a small set of customers. Despite their difference in scope, both types of ideas are equally valuable because they present a new vantage point which could be the seed for a new company, or customer offering. 

When I was working for SAP and Liveperson, I saw how a massive software ecosystem can connect companies to their clients all around the world. At Optimizely, I saw how startups move to scale their customer base and ship products quickly. At the Fed, I moved from serving a private company's mandate to serving a public mandate, performing a service for U.S. citizens by ensuring the quality of that proverbial financial water we all swim in.

Bond has its sights set on that same type of universal mission — to change the way we think of fintech, to make it more inclusive and to make fintech tools accessible to all as opposed to just a small pocket of the industry. 

With both the perspective and experience I've gained in my career, I'm more excited than ever to put that vision to work at Bond.

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