Episode Fifty-Two: Democratizing The Economy Through Data

Why Data Driven Decision Making Needs To Become More Intuitive

I believe data driven decision making is on the upswing. But it needs to get much more intuitive and I think COVID will accelerate this.

Dimitrios Dosis, President of Mastercard Advisors, shares how his team are working to democratize the economy through better data practices. He talks about the need to make data analysis much simpler and accessible and why it’s important to put the consumer in charge. Dimitrios also explains how Mastercard have been supporting businesses, including banks and retailers, with COVID-19 recovery.

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(Please note that this podcast was recorded remotely.)


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The Power of Data Podcast

Episode 52: Democratizing The Economy Through Data

Guest: Dimitrios Dosis, President, Mastercard Advisors
Interviewer: Sam Tidswell-Norrish, International CMO, Dun & Bradstreet

Sam 00:00
Hi there, welcome back. I'm joined today by Dimitrios Dosis who's President of Mastercard Advisors, and is also a member of the Management Committee. Welcome Dimi.

Dimitrios 00:09
Thank you, Sam, how you doing?

Sam 00:10
I'm well, thank you, sun is shining in London, and you're in Germany, if I remember correctly,

Dimitrios 00:14
I am indeed sitting in Frankfurt in my home office.

Sam 00:17
Excellent, well I'm also in the comfort of my own home. Although it does feel a little bit like Groundhog Day these days. I've been looking forward to this for a number of reasons. Firstly, I've known Mastercard for a long time and I've had the pleasure of doing business with this great firm. But also, because Mastercard has had a truly extraordinary growth trajectory and I believe he joined Mastercard in 2005. Since then, over the last 15 years, it's grown really from, I think about a $5 billion market cap, when it floated, to a magnitude more than that. I's been an amazing journey and right at the core of it has been Mastercard’s understanding of both innovation and data. And so with that, I'm going to hand over to you, perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your background, and also tell our listeners a little bit about Mastercard Advisors, and really what it does for the business and for its clients.

Dimitrios 01:07
Sure, Sam, and again, very happy to be with you today and thank you for inviting me over. As you said, I joined Mastercard back in 2005, almost 15 years. And as you can hardly tell from my accent, and the place where I'm living, I do have some German heritage, just in case you're wondering. I do currently serve as the President of Mastercard Advisors. Before that, I served in a number of other market facing roles across Mastercard, Europe, Asia, Pacific and the Middle East region. I think as you said, it might be useful for listeners just to give them a very quick overview of Advisors and master cap services in general. Advisors is the data analytics powerhouse of Mastercard, it serves as the professional services arm, think about it as the front end of our services, the consultants, the subject matter experts on the ground. And this is paired with the power of data, the power of insights and our analytics platform. So this is what advisors is about. The primary objective of our service offering is very simply put to help our customers better acquire, engage and retain clients. So what we do in advisors Sam, I think can be best explained by looking at the value, we drive for our customers, right, so end to end. Think about it as a continuum, starting from discovery, right, the insights, and you mentioned it at the beginning, coming from the real time transaction data and analytics, we have the honor to have with Mastercard, and this is all based on aggregated and anonymized data, very important. And then on this insight, we're adding recommendations, okay, this is driven by our consultants and deep payment experts, and then we are testing those recommendations. This is all platform based, and I hope we'll have a chance to talk about this a little more afterwards. These are all continuous experiments, not one offs. I don't believe in one of experimentations, and this is really to drive the right return of the recommendations. And then we are acting on those tests that recommendation. So we're helping our customers effectively hands on execute on it. And finally, it's all about optimizing those actions, also with our loyalty services, but also with our cyber and security. So this is in a nutshell, what we are doing in my role, I'm responsible to bring this end to end value to market, so I look after all of our Mastercard data analytics products and insights platforms, and TMS supported by a very good, dedicated, experienced team of consultants and experts and we are actually present in over 50 offices in the world today.

Sam 03:28
Well Dimi, thank you, that makes it very clear. And there's so many parallels to what you guys do in your space with your clients with what Dun and Bradstreet seeks to do with our clients and people in our ecosystem, which is probably why we partnered. But before we go down that route, you mentioned that Mastercard Advisors is the data analytics powerhouse for Mastercard, and that much has been truly obvious to me through the pandemic, okay. The elephant in any room these days as COVID-19 and it's really changing consumer behaviors. One of the things I've enjoyed reading most through this slightly odd period has been the recovery insights report that Mastercard produces, which examines recent digital shifts resulting from the pandemic. And actually I was reading this morning in preparation for our conversation, some of the statistics that Mastercard is right at the core of a fascinating one really jumped out to me, in the full month of May, US ecommerce spending grew 93% year on year, which is just an enormous shift in how we've historically done business and lived our lives ultimately. Can you maybe just talk a little bit about this report and tell us some of the key things that you found out?

Dimitrios 04:37
I'm really glad Sam you saw these reports. And yes, they are actually part of an initiative we kicked off very early independently, I would say around February, March of this year, to inform businesses and governments on the economic response so that was the reason why we did this. Now, Mastercard, Recovery Insights, I would describe it as an industry standard out in the way and speed it was created. And it's again, really about supporting customers and partners coming strong out of those times. And it was designed to really help them identify and develop tools and research that the governments and companies need right now. In addition to the one and the digital piece, we have also addressed impacts on travel spending, this is the latest piece we just released a few weeks back. For travel, we did an analysis of anonymized and aggregated sales activities to the Mastercard network, and this includes, by the way, in person, and online transactions. So it showed for example, and this was quite interesting, Sam, it showed that Italy, Russia and France have been leading in terms of recovery of travel and entertainment spending across all the G 20 countries in Q3. So despite being a focus of the pandemic, earlier this year, Italy, you know, significant restaurant culture and extensive domestic tourism, they have, really had them bounce back much faster than others. And we've also seen improvement lately in gas spending, restaurant spending, and bike rental, for example, in terms of rebound, we are seeing that this is happening much more Sam in terms of local travel and local spending. In Q2, for example of this year, we saw that auto rental share and total transportations – it’s a nice figure - nearly doubled from 9% in 2019, to 17%. And this is really because consumers are now prioritizing more local means of transportation. And they're also showing that people are opting in to stay small. So one interesting fact for you to have is that the global recovery of small independent hotels is really outpaced the one of large hotels by 50%. Now, these are very useful insights, and as you also said, in terms of ecommerce, yes, we saw in the month of May and 93%. year on year, that's a lot right. And just to put it into perspective, for instance, during April and May, more money was spent online in the US than over the last believe it or not, same 12 cyber Monday's combined, so that's huge.

Sam 06:57
Wow, I love these insights, they paint such a clear picture. And actually, it was Recovery Insights, the last report I got that prompted me to reach out to you again, we'd spoken before and then I just had to have this conversation on the Power of Data Podcast. And it's things like that, tourism being a big driver of recovery, bike and car rentals through the roof, small hotel recoveries outpacing large by 50%. These are really useful insights for your customers as well. So how is your relationship with customers evolved during this time and what are you doing differently to better serve them?

Dimitrios 07:30
We've always worked with customers with pressing questions, right? But if you ask me what has changed, I think with a pandemic, they need to get it right and to get it right now. This has really changed. It's also the time urgency. And for me, if I take a step back, I think it's really about actionable insights Sam, it's not about making them, making our customers, or people more intelligent, we need to have actionable insights. And just for your information, we derive our insights here at Mastercard from roughly 87 billion transactions globally. It's all anonymized and aggregated. And we believe in privacy by design by the way, we never know what Dimi or Sam buys, okay, so it's all aggregated and anonymized. However, the truth is, and this is now becoming more obvious, during the pandemic, that the best insight is not just about data, it's really about analytics, technology and platforms. This is what will drive true value. And with our insights Sam in this time, we help really with hands on decisions, for example, how to optimize the operation during this time, when to open the store, when is it safe to open and how to keep the business secure, for example, minimizing queuing in stores due to aerosol exposure, these are some very important data points we can help our customers with. If you want I can give you one very current example we have, which comes actually from China. I mean, China, you know, was very early in the pandemic and Chinese quick service restaurant was very much impacted by this outbreak. And even though the stores remain open says drop significantly. So they were asking us can you guys help and with a client, we noticed some very early changes in customer behavior, for example, purchase shifting away from early breakfast to mid-morning, as people you know, they started working more from home. Demand for late night snacks was growing, and the basket increased with purchases, because the whole family wanted in was not only individually. So based on this, we designed and launched and actually tested promotion. So this is really how we are trying to help specifically the companies with our insights during the pandemic, Sam.

Sam 09:30
That's fascinating. It really is. And when you think about 87 billion transactions worth of data, it's really a vast amount. At D&B, we love all things data, unsurprisingly, especially alternative data, and unique data and Mastercard has tons of it. But when you're talking about aggregated and anonymized, you're looking ultimately for the trends and you're not zooming in on the detail but you're looking at, I guess more macro shifts. Can you talk a bit about what that looks like and how you can use it in some certain scenarios?

Dimitrios 09:59
Sure, and coming back to your point of the 87 billion transactions, it's important that at Mastercard, we really believe that true data leadership starts at home. And that's why last year, we launched our data responsibility imperative, which is our public commitment to ethical and responsible data practices. Let me just say what it is. So it is simple, but the very important beliefs Sam we have here. When it comes to your personal information, okay. We believe that you the consumer, you own it, you control it, you should benefit from the use of it, and we protect it. It's as simple as this, you own it, you control it, you benefit, we protect it. That's the only way to deal, let's say, in a responsible way, with this number of transactions, we are seeing. We’re using this data very transparently in a way it really promotes also benefit for the consumer. So businesses, for example, and that was your question in terms of what you can do with it, large and small they rely on an easy to understand insight, how they can improve their businesses, right? What's my busiest day? Should I open at nine or 10? Or how were sales last week? These are simple but critical questions. But it's not only businesses, right? I mean, think about local governments, local governments can learn a lot for example, from parking meters, right, and bus tickets, analyzing, for example, spending data on smart city services is just one way to help them improve the cities of tomorrow. Now on that topic, I think it's also important to call out when we process a purchase transaction, right? We purposely very purposely collect only very limited information, card number, a merchant name, location, and the date and the model of the transaction. And importantly, we do not generally collect any card holders name or address or directly identifiable information, it's very important because even without those things, you can do a lot of good things and still be extremely responsible.

Sam 11:44
How useful is Mastercard data in looking at real-time situations? Whether it be, I don't know, a hurricane on the east coast of the US, or it be something slightly more sinister in a city, perhaps can you use real-time payment information to show real-time trends?

Dimitrios 12:02
So let me give you an example. Okay, so it's a few weeks back, when we launched a solution, which we called Shop Openings. We saw that consumers were really struggling to understand “is my shop around the corner, is the shop on the other side of the city where I need to go open during the pandemic or not”. So we developed a logic with our aggregated and anonymized data to help the customers quickly find out if the shop is open or not. So this is if you want a very great use case, where you have the proximity to the consumer, while using aggregated and anonymize data in a very purposeful way to help them this was a great example.

Sam 12:39
I love it. It's just awesome to hear about these new examples that are spawned out through the pandemic, where a company even as big as Mastercard can be that granular in the way that it helps its clients and customers and ultimately, consumers. So talking about COVID-19, as your company worldview change, do you see any differences in the way that you're working with big firms versus small firms versus governments?

Dimitrios 13:01
Even prior to COVID? I must admit, we never had a kind of cookie cutter way to working with organizations, but I actually think that COVID has magnified some of those differences. I think we need to focus much more on some specific needs and part of that actually, has been our Recovery Insights Initiative. So today, just to give you a little bit more granularity on that one, Sam, today Recovery Insights we have included over 100 engagements around the world. So part of this initiative is to make also Mastercard insights freedom tools available at no cost to governments and selected businesses. So we can really help them timely with a snapshot of the economic performance. And this is something which is also picked up during the pandemic. We're working more and more with central banks, federal governments and the individual states to provide them information through our Economic Institute. And the Economic Institute is actually something we put in place at the end of last year, actually in time for the pandemic. It's a dedicated team of economists and data scientists, and they drive thought leadership by analyzing the economic landscape more from the lens of the consumer. Obviously, they rely on the power of data and insights are some of the reports you see out there to really help identify the trends that matter are also empowered by the Economic Institute.

Sam 14:20
It's amazing to hear you talk about some of those initiatives where you can help provide governments with free services and insights to do the job that they need to do for ultimately the economy. At D&B, we did something kind of similar. We created a bundle a package for SMEs/small businesses called Business Essentials where we offered them our D&B Credit solution combined with our D&B Hoovers solution, ultimately, helping them recover from the pandemic better. And that was our way of helping some of the smaller businesses that needed help the most. What other initiatives of Mastercard advisors done through the pandemic that have supported the ecosystem?

Dimitrios 14:55
We have worked with a number of businesses with our Recovery Insights, you must know a big retail in Europe name's Hema, and this is a major retail chain. So what they needed is to understand the most efficient way how they can serve people across more stores during this time. So the conventional wisdom would have pointed them to fewer larger stores. Now, for us, it was together with them to find out if this gut feeling was true or not. So we used our test and learn experimentation platform, which is effectively built to help businesses figure out what works and even more importantly, what doesn't before they are rolling out changes broadly. So this was a great use case. And interestingly, Sam, contrary to the expectation, the insights here show that smaller stores, not the larger ones were doing well. And that led them to keep those stores open. And when we did a deep dive into the results, it actually revealed that sales were shifting to smaller stores, which are located in more residential areas, as people chose during these days, obviously, to stay home and shop more locally. And there was a ton of insight there. Also that in addition to opening stores earlier, it would give the elderly people more time to shop safely, while when they closed also earlier, it also allowed the staff to restock. So all those changes, okay, allow them at the end to serve the customer better. This is just a good example, a live example, to demonstrate that there's more than pure recovering that there's really tangible results we can drive to customers today.

Sam 16:21
You're so right, the shift in trends has been exponential. And we've seen a number of those, I mean, the shift to e commerce is just one example. One of the big trends you're seeing on the horizon moving forwards, and some of these trends are going to stick around and some are not going to stick around. They're gonna be temporary. So what are your observations on those?

Dimitrios 16:40
That's a great question. The first trend, and that should be no surprise to you is that I believe in data driven decision making is on the upswing, right. But what I believe is that needs to get much more intuitive. And I think COVID will accelerate this. Let me elaborate on this. So a couple of years ago, we sponsored a study with a Harvard Business Review that showed that only 18%, of business leaders across industries are getting sufficient return on their investments in analytics only 18%. That's quite terrible, isn't it. And what they said is that one of the biggest issues that they call out is that you need a PhD in statistics to use those tools available out there. So what we need here Sam is I think, to move away from those complex analytics, even running analytics, for the sake of it, I believe, is fundamentally wrong. We need to make a data analysis, recommendations, testing execution so management of it really as simple as asking Alexa a question, right? We need and this is what I believe will come very soon, the Alexa of company analytics, a very simple AI tool that serves as your personal assistant, that's the way to go. And I actually think that the pandemic sim will expedite this trend, we're going to see much more down the road.

Sam 17:51
You're spot on, and a lot of this aligns to our narrative at D&B, I've been referring to this as kind of a digital singularity, where everything has been forced into digitalization through this inflection point, and we're seeing exponential increase or upswing in data decision making and requirements. But you're right, it can't be complicated. And at Dun & Bradstreet, almost half of its business is focused on growth acceleration solutions for businesses. And the key personas that we're selling to in those areas are chief commercial officers, chief marketing officers, and people that don't have a statistical background. So you have to make it simple to understand, you have to make those insights highly actionable. If you're not speaking the right language as a firm, you're never going to be able to help the people you're serving. I think you're absolutely spot on with that and I love the Alexa of company analytics, that's a great tagline.

Dimitrios 18:45
If you want I can give you also a second trend, which I think is also linked to some of the things we discussed earlier, which is the pandemic has triggered I think Sam, significant behavioral change with consumers which are here to stay I think the one is the rapidly expanding preference for contactless. I see more and more that the act of running out to the store for x or in this case, toilet paper in Germany, as it happens, has changed significantly, dramatically during this time. So especially a checkout people look to reduce their physical interactions and over the past few months, we have seen at Mastercard a huge increase in contactless payments. For example, February March, Mastercard transactions globally showed that contactless transactions grew twice as fast globally and three times as fast in the US as non-contactless, okay, so this was a lot. In Q1, we saw over 40% growth in contactless globally. That's a lot and I personally believe Sam that has to do a lot with health concerns, kind of you know, my health is my wealth, the less that touch the better.

Sam 19:45
It's really interesting you say that I was about to bring that up as a trend. I spoke to a friend Natalie Ceeny who did an investigation on behalf of Mastercard into the cashless society and reading the reports of late, there’s is an informal economy that relies on cash of course, and there's also an elderly community that rely on cash, really from habit. But clearly, cash is not King anymore. That much we know, what's your perspective on where cash goes?

Dimitrios 20:11
At the end of the day, it's about making options available to people, right? Some people still want to pay with cash, some want to pay with card, some want to pay a using an array of like ach, etc. I think my position on this is we should give people options, how they feel safe and good about transacting with others. So this is I think, what we'll see going forward, and they'll be different options, which will be made available. And again, it should be I think, the people, the consumers responsibility, how they would like to transact, we just need to make sure we give them options.

Sam 20:44
And it would seem that if we're tracking the transaction data through the Mastercard system, does that mean that cash transactions are a gap in what we're able to track?

Dimitrios 20:55
Well, we do have a product, which we call the Mastercard spending path. And this actually understands and captures the overall spend in retail, by also using other good publicly available information. So you get a very good view of how the retail space is performing. And this is, I think, something where you can get a very good depiction of how the economy is doing.

Sam 21:16
Awesome, that's really interesting, thank you. So moving on, how will the power of data insights change in the coming year do you think? I mean, who knows what the coming year will hold, but are companies and consumers viewing the exchange of data differently than in the past after this inflection point?

Dimitrios 21:34
I'm so glad you're asking this question Sam, because I'm actually very passionate about this topic. Okay.

Sam 21:40

Dimitrios 21:41
So, you know, I think the importance of data responsibility is now going to be much more important than ever. So we all know individuals that are using one click on demand lives. I mean, particularly now, where we work playing shop online, this will pick up this means that we will have an even greater dependence on data change, as simple as that. Just a few weeks back, and this might be an interesting read for you and your listeners, we published another study with the Harvard Business Review that looks at the value companies in the individuals place on data. And there's no question that individual’s data is valuable? It's valuable to the people who share it. And it's valuable to the businesses who collect it. What was striking, however, Sam is that there is a gap between how businesses and consumers view the value of data exchanged. 60% of executives agree that consumers think the value they are getting in exchange for sharing their data is worthwhile, for example, getting a free access to a social media platform, but it's only 44% of consumers who actually feel the change is worthwhile. 60 against 44. So there's a dramatic mismatch in perception here. An additional 33% said they don't want organizations to share their information, whereas only 10% of businesses saw this as a concern. So you see out there Sam, there is a misconception. Here's what I believe, okay, I think that there is an emerging trend out there with consumers getting compensated for the use of their data. Basically, and this goes back to what we discussed earlier, if I own and control my personal data, and someone wants to use it, I need to get something in return. And this can be a prize, or it can be a more innovative and better product, so there's no more free lunch here. Okay. So just to give you an example here, it's about consumer research industry, this is a great example. This is roughly a $50 billion industry globally, it's very analog today. And through technology at the palm of your hand, people are now able to bring all your personal data sources together, so you're able to consent to the use of your personal data for specific research purpose and get something back. And guess what at $25 per search, you participate, that's the price some people can get today. It's all automated, and you'll see those cases happening in some countries. And I'm telling you now, why I'm so passionate about this, and I'm so passionate, because we need to think as an industry one step ahead. I believe that we will see a completely new consumer interaction model emerge out of this and will be really enabled by putting the consumer in the center of data. So instead of having the consumer reacting to offers and tag the campaigns, he or she will be much more in control. For example, Sam, I want a new car, okay, you go out there and say, I'm Sam, I want to have a new car. You're asking my digital assistant, for example, Siri to look for the best offer, I am then authorizing as the one who needs to come the use of my personal data for example, preferences the car I drove to be used for this specific purpose only so I don't need to deal with it myself. A reverse auction gets initiated. Think about it send like a mini RFP. Interested suppliers can pitch in using my profile. My digital assistant then determines the best offer at the best price, I accept or not, so I'm still in full control. And this is the reason why I think this is a great example, the broader consequences by putting the consumer in the center of those data practices. And with the emergent technology, he's in control, it's not somebody else doing it. And why do we spend billions of dollars in targeting and personalization, when this money could be spent much more to a direct benefit to a consumer, a better price or a better product. So effectively, we are putting the consumer here in charge through better data practices, and I like to call it we are democratizing the economy, we're making it the economy of the people, Sam.

Sam 25:31
There's a lot of food for thought in there. And a lot of what you've just said really aligns to some of the things that I've been thinking about and actually talking with a number of our colleagues and senior leaders, Dun and Bradstreet. But their consumer interaction model emerging is a fascinating concept, I think the same actually is in some respects happening with businesses. But to stick with the consumer example you gave, there's this perfect storm of merging of digitization across the board, of open banking, and then of the Internet of Things. And what it ultimately means I think, is when your fridge talks to your supermarket, it talks to your car, talks to your front door lock, for example, there's an awful lot of data produced there that will be captured, that was zero human interaction. Machine to machine payments, machine to machine interactions and that's when I think the world gets very, very interesting. But I had a light touch version of that I was speaking with Dame Jane Anne Gadhia recently, she's the founder of Virgin Money, and then started an organization called Snoop. And Snoop is ultimately a personal financial management tool, where I connect all my bank accounts. And when I did it, it started looking for patterns and it told me something immediately that I hadn't realized. I've been spending a monthly fee on a dongle line rental, but I'd forgotten about that in six or seven years. And it was wasted money, it was a small enough amount for me not to really notice, but it was in there. And so immediately, I called up the company and I cancelled that subscription and I saved myself money. There are organizations starting to do that in the business financial management space. And this is, I think, where that interaction model totally changes, where people become truly empowered by data, and by the new infrastructure that we're building around us. So I share your passion, that's amazing to hear.

Dimitrios 27:16
And sorry to take a little bit more equity there, but I'm so passionate about this, and again, the reason I'm passionate is I think it will get more back to the consumer. But also, I think it can really put a pause to this painful discussion if we need a more inclusive capitalism. I mean, this thing started last year being also discussed in Davos, I think that capitalism is inclusive as such, right? It doesn't need any additions of capitalism that builds on what we just talked about those strong data practices is as inclusive as it can get full stop. And that's why I think getting this one right is going to be very important.

Sam 27:48
I completely agree with you. Thank you for sharing that, that was awesome. So let's talk about Mastercard and looking forward. What's next for Mastercard in the area of data and services? Can you give us a little glimpse into future product development efforts?

Dimitrios 28:01
Yeah, let me share a few areas where I think you'll see more down the road. The first one is, obviously 5G, this is a key innovation area for us. Data rates will be up 10 times faster than 4G, 1000 times more bandwidth. But from a data perspective, linking back to our previous chat, it really means bigger data, more predictive analytics, and also faster action. But it also means and that's why it's so good to give this example, after we just talked about the other use case, is it means data in the hands of individuals - literally in the hands, right? Because they will have it in their end devices. And I believe we'll be moving away from those central data stores to more data and devices. And they'll be all connected, smart and through 5G. So this is one area, Sam that I will call out where we have a lot of passion around as Mastercard. Then the second area is very much linked to also the data responsibility. I mean, it's around cyber and digital identity with the consumer in the center of the data, managing that data universe in the palm of the hand, so we need to think about infrastructure, right? Trusted infrastructure and secure data and change it. So really empowering the individual to safeguard this privacy, we need to establish things like a digital identity for an individual, which can really be used across the ecosystem. This is where we as Mastercard have a particular focus on so these are the two big areas of innovation and allow me also to call out that we are doubling down same on our commitments on data for good. We talked about what we're doing with our insights with governments, etc. But we also for example, we host data phones, and we partner closely with nonprofits to solve their problems. We've been running this since 2013, I think, and very recently we hosted a virtual event with the nonprofit's in Chicago to support low income neighborhoods there. So these insights are really there to promote inclusive growth in this area. So these are a few things you'll see more and more happening down the road.

Sam 29:56
Amazing, and you talked about infrastructure and 5G and completely I agree, it's going to change the world that we live in, and really will be the catalyst for the next paradigm and develop markets. But that's only in developed markets. In terms of some of the less economically developed markets and we think about maybe the African continent, there's huge amounts of opportunities there that we're not yet able to capitalize on. What's Mastercard Advisors perspective on regions of that nature?

Dimitrios 30:22
In regions like the African continent, I think we will be surprised. And I think we'll be surprised by leap frogging technology. I mean, the African continent was one of the first where we had mobile device banking significantly ahead of others, because they simply didn't have a banking infrastructure. So I think that 5G is actually a huge opportunity for the continent to leapfrog with technologies and get things done, and the speed that they can change. So I think we'll see some surprises there Sam.

Sam 30:49
Watch this space, and I tend to agree with you. We're coming to the end of the podcast and I have to say, sadly, we're coming to the end of the broadcast, because I feel like I could talk to you for an awfully long time from arena and an even greater amount. I always like to end on something slightly softer and less data analytics driven. But you've had a wonderful career, and you've been at Mastercard through some of the most extraordinary growth milestones, but I'm sure that you would attribute a lot of that to some of the people you've spent time with, and perhaps even before Mastercard. So who's some of those mentors been for you? And is there a specific piece of wisdom or a life lesson that you've learned throughout your career?

Dimitrios 31:27
That's an interesting question, Sam and yes, I did have a number of people around me with me that have greatly influenced my thinking, my actions. Two come to mind right away why you’re asking this question. The first is my father, he was actually a self-made entrepreneur, not a corporate guy, like you and me. So he freaking made it all himself. So risk taking and bias toward action is really something I learned from him. And it has actually been useful to cut across some of the corporate behaviors that we all see, right? I mean, all those unpleasant internal alignment meetings and analysis of an analysis, paralysis, and all things that many listeners must have experienced. So my advice to people out there is get something done first, take action, even if you're not aligned with each and every one and not have done the last analysis of data. So I mean, don't be stupid about it. be thoughtful, get people involved, but make sure you take action. So this is if you want the one advice and piece of wisdom, which I got on my career myself. And the second person which really has greatly influenced me, particularly during the last few years, is actually our current CEO Ajay Banga. So what Mr. Banga has nurtured Sam is this idea of decency. Decency of behavior as part of our corporate culture, decency also in the way we treat each other, knowing that your colleague, your boss, your company, has your back, has you covered that something happens. And this is not only about doing the right thing, not only about being a good human being for sure, it is right. But decency, Sam, I think drives the social fabric in the company. It frees up energy, energy that you would otherwise spend thinking of what would happen if energy spent worrying about consequences, energy spent or fear. So it takes away some of the inertia in a company? I think it frees up energy. But at the same time, as a leader, you know, that you've done something right, you've done the right thing. So you have treated people the right way with decency. And that's actually a good feeling, Sam.

Sam 33:27
I couldn't think of a better way to end this podcast. And having heard Ajay speak in the past here that decency quota, DQ, I think he referred to it as, it kind of parallels with what Jack Ma said, Jack Ma talked about LQ, love quota. You know, how much do you love those around you. And it comes back to that age-old mantra that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And I really believe that does and increasingly so in the world we live in today where we are not able to spend as much time with the people we normally would interact with on a professional basis. So I think decency will become increasingly important. Dimi, thank you so much for your time. I've been looking forward to this ever since we very first spoke a while back and it really hasn't disappointed at all. It's been fascinating. Thank you so much for your time.

Dimitrios 34:14
I have to thank you, I really enjoyed it, Sam. Thank you very much.