Banks Sizzle, CFPB Fizzles And Snapchat Turns An Old Dud Into Holiday Retail’s New Stud


Before we get into the the sizzles and fizzles of the week — a shout-out to the nation’s pollsters.

The losing side is always surprised the morning after an election, of course — but when both the winner and the loser manage look shocked at the end, it might be time to consider calibrating those models a bit, because nothing’s worse than a public fizzle.

Better luck next time guys.

That out of the way — let’s look at what really got the job done this week — and what didn’t so much.


banks-sizzle-cfpb-fizzles-and-snapchat-turns-an-old-dud-into-holiday-retails-new-studBank stocks: You know something’s afoot when even Wells Fargo shares are climbing. The fact remains that financial firms got a boost from the massive post-Trump election rally and mainly because the president-elect has said in the past that Dodd-Frank, a perceived bane for many a bank, will be under scrutiny and rolled back. That may help reduce restrictions on what banks can and can’t do to make money, and profits, and get re-rated higher in the stock market.

Cybersecurity firms: Coming into the election, fears over voting machines and other hacking attempts buoyed shares in companies such as FireEye and Fortinet. But beyond that event, and the threats that did not materialize, there certainly has been refocused attention on the risks of technology, data and its use. Oh, and by the way, many of these firms managed to beat expectations for the September quarter, sending shares up. Sizzle for cybersecurity, which is no passing fad.

Retail (good holiday cheer?): Macy’s and Kohl’s may have seen same-store sales and profits down, but things are picking up into the all-important holiday season. With election uncertainty over, could it be that the pocketbooks will open into the end of the year?


banks-sizzle-cfpb-fizzles-and-snapchat-turns-an-old-dud-into-holiday-retails-new-stud-2Conventional wisdom: Let’s just say it. We all got it wrong. You likely are part of that “all,” and the Trump-as-president headlines will take their place alongside the Brexit headlines that happened not so long ago. The black swan sometimes swims right for us, and we never see it coming. Fizzle for groupthink and conventional wisdom.

CFPB: A Republican Congress may seek to shake up the administrative structure of the agency, with current head Cordray out and a new, multi-member commission in. And there’s some precedent here, as an appeals court ruled just last month that the single-director structure is unconstitutional. Maybe the CFPB won’t be reduced to rubble, but there will definitely be hammers and chisels at work once the new power structure takes its seat in Washington.

Dodd-Frank: A Republican Congress in place by Jan. 2017 will likely be looking for ways to scale back time and money on business regulation. Dodd-Frank is known to be in the crosshairs of the Trump gang, and the transition team just went public with the intent to “dismantle” the legislation that has been in place for years (and helped, among other things, create fellow fizzler CFPB).

Sizzle Of The Week: Snapchat Spectacles

The Google Glass was supposed to be the biggest shopping hi-tech stocking stuffer in the world when shoppers hit the stores last year at about this time — at least, if one had believed the forecasts of January 2015. But some forecasts don’t pan out. Google Glass was expensive — $1,500 — and while some were quick to the plate to describe it as cool, an equal or greater number came up with a different c-word for it — creepy.

Google Glass — despite some limited sale opportunities — never quite made it into prime time as Google pulled the plug on it a half-year before the holiday season it was supposed to dominate.

And while that iteration fizzled out, it seems Snapchat’s update, the Snap Spectacles (or Snap Specs, or Snap Shades or Snaptacles — the internet is still deciding what the product will actually be called by consumers) have come to the market — in a most original way.

Vending Machines

The vending machines — which most commentators have noted look an awful lot like minions from the Despicable Me franchise — is called the Snapbot, and for shoppers who can find it and have the $127 to spend, they can buy their own pair of sunglasses with an embedded video camera designed for use exclusively with Snapchat.

Yesterday was day 1 for the Snap Specs — and it was a big day — with lines hundreds of people deep to get the Snapbot to give them their own pair.

So where did Snap Specs succeed where Google Glass failed?

The Price Point IS Low — And The Process To Get Them A Fun Challenge

Snap Shades will not break the bank — but they aren’t super easy to come by. So far there is but one SnapBot out there cheerfully dispensing the product from his smiling mouth, traveling to serve the whole nation in select areas. It parks somewhere for a few days at a time, drawing a crowd of those motivated enough to track its movement to Snapchat app, hunt it down and then line up for an hour or two to get a pair all their own.

Once the glasses are in hand, users have only to sync the specs to their phones — and begin streaming to reality in real time to Snapchat.



Day One was in Venice Beach, but as of tomorrow, SnapBot will be off. Like Mary Poppins off — it will be off to the next city and into the hands of the eager, enthused and dedicated.

SnapBot, as rolled out, is well-placed to get into the hands of the right people — Snapchat can make sure that it can recruit the right early adopter base it wants: young, heavy users in hip locations. And it’s made getting one’s hands on one something of an achievement.

Consumers Find It Way Cooler Than Creepy

There is something to be said for a cuter mascot — and it seems that everyone is united in their affection for the bright yellow smiling Snap Specs vendor.

And it seems that adorableness is taking a lot of the sting out of the privacy concerns that quickly started plaguing the Google Glass. Some customers noted that there was perhaps a creepiness factor possible — most were focused on the “toylike” nature of the device.

“Spectacles are designed as a toy and made for fun, and that’s the way a lot of good tech starts out. Time will tell how much they stick, but the way Snap seems to be handling this rollout feels good. They aren’t taking themselves too seriously and that makes people more comfortable with the product and their vision as a camera company,” one L.A. -based cameraman told TechCrunch.

And with customers lining up, the wave of think pieces is already rolling out about whether or not we’ll see Facebook Frames coming soon, or if Google Glass will yet ride again.

We think it is possibly a bit early to speculate about either — especially one day into a product launch. But if Snapchat manages to make the hottest item on sale this holiday season a pair of sunglass one can only buy out of an anthropomorphic vending machine? Well, the fact that that even looks like it might happen entitels them to the Sizzle of the Week.



B2B APIs aren’t just for large enterprises anymore — middle-market firms and SMBs now realize their potential for enabling low-cost access to real-time payments and account data. But those capabilities are only the tip of the API iceberg, says HSBC global head of liquidity and cash management Diane Reyes. In this month’s B2B API Tracker, Reyes explains how the next wave of banking APIs could fight payments fraud and proactively alert middle-market treasurers to investment opportunities.

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