Let’s discuss: The allegory of the cave

Okay so if you read that title and thought đź’­ WTF? **Let’s help you out real quick!

The allegory of the cave is a philosophical idea explored in one of Plato’s works titled: The Republic. The allegory aims to depict the impact that education/ knowledge can have on one’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. It does this by painting a picture of a group of human beings tied together inside a cave. In this cave the people see shadows and at first many of them see these shadows on the walls of the cave as independent entities. As time goes on some of the individuals realize that these shadows are actually connected to them.

The point that Plato was trying to make here was one of appearance vs reality. The way you view the world (or a situation) might not always be correct. Sometime you might be misinformed, be influenced by an unconscious bias or simply ignorant to possibility. But once you equip yourself with knowledge and understanding, your perspective will change and come from a place that is better informed.

I really love this philosophical concept because it forces you to think about all of the possibilities in a situation and not just how something makes you feel. In business, this allegory is very helpful especially when working in a team where you have to contribute to 1 project but there are conflicting ideas/ views in the room. It helps to be able to remove your emotions from a decision and actually look at something objectively by asking questions and understanding why people say the things they say or suggest. By doing this, you teach your mind to be fluid and neutral while learning how other people think compared to how you think and how to stitch some/ all schools of thinking to attain a desired and successful outcome.

And that’s it! Now you can use this topic in your next DMC (Deep Meaningful Conversation) with your fellow millennial friends or your colleague and get their perspective of the allegory of the cave that you can hopefully share with me!

**Disclaimer: I am by no means a Philosopher nor did I study philosophy. These are just my Musings and interpretations on society and literature that grab my attention 🙂

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Quote #2

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.

Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they’ll say it was obvious all along. You have two choices in your life; you can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be . . .

-Alan Ashley-Pitt

Top 8 things millennials expect from banks in the future

Image Source: Businesstech.co.za
Image Source: Businesstech.co.za

So as promised, this is basically the second part from the post published last week around millennial Musings on banking, click here for a quick refresh on what went down last week.

This week though, the focus is on the thoughts of those millennials who consciously mused about banks of the future and what their present expectations were of the future state of banking.

As a very proud member of the financial institutions community, like any other committed individual, I really want to see traditional banks evolving and fulfilling their purpose in a way that makes their customers happy because customers are the heart of their business and a part of me also believes that this can be achieved by big corporates if given enough focus and deliberate action.

In order to ensure that everything from the feedback received is captured, the points will be themed, grouped and listed.

  • Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see. Basically, this famous quote by world renowned boxer Muhammad Ali sums up the primary and greatest reason why traditional banks are in danger and how they can overcome this danger. I’m not a boxing guru but I definitely this this analogy will help portray the message. Good boxers are like Fintechs, they have the finesse, speed and stamina to win the battle, but the big 4 giants have something these Fintechs don’t which is technique, experience and endurance. Now when we couple these 6 traits, that makes for a great boxer/ a great bank. So what do millennials want? The safety and stability of the old (minus the red tape and bureaucracy) but the agility and finesse of the new.
  • The future is now. This is a concept the older generations like referring to as “instant gratification”. It is a concept laden with negative connotations that relate to regret from poorly thought out decisions but this doesn’t have to be viewed that way. Let’s take the process of getting a credit card for example (even a cheque card). The reasons for why customers have to sit through hours of paperwork and credit checks only to be told in the end that their card will be hand delivered to them at the earliest of their convenience just will not fly in the future. When a customer, a millennial customer is approaching a service provider for something, they usually want end to end fulfillment there and then or else what is the actual point? Yes we could say that people must plan better for their life events so they aren’t disappointed by the wait, but what if, you as a service provider could make the future happen now for your customers by tweaking a few processes, researching the demand for credit so that branches are adequately stocked up for the demand as and when it comes? What if you were so proactive that a week before Black Friday you’re signing up customers for in-store credit cards so that they have been delivered to be used on the day? Being more proactive about knowing the customer in this case is directly attributable to sales. Customer is happy, income statements are happy, it’s a win- win you see?
  • Robotics!!!! millennials have expressed that they trust and prefer to engage and interact with technology to solve their needs than a human being. It’s much cheaper as they use data as opposed to airtime where they’re redirected to a call centre that makes them wait for 20 minutes before telling them “sorry Ma’am I don’t have the mandate to assist you with that request.” The cool thing about robotics is that it reduces headcount costs (but it does cause unemployment if not introduced and socialized correctly) on the upside thought, employees are freed up to do more meaningful and complex tasks that require actual thinking because the self service capability is actually of service, end to end.
  • Which leads me to my next point, adequately equipped/skilled online assistance… if we are to go digital, we must do so excellently. Because millennials have no desire to go to the branch, the branch must therefore be designed into a space that they want to engage in, which in this case is online. The ability to offer advice and assistance online will make all the difference from a customer service perspective.
  • However if the branch must exist, it must do so unobtrusively, in a way that allows for co- creation and advancing the economy. This way the bank achieves two things: it plays a role in fulfilling consumer aspirations and it also contributes in giving back to the community- which is very big with millennials. Purpose driven action/work.
  • Farewell NIR (Non- Interest Revenue), RIP ATMS. Millennials (and digital developments) will essentially kill this line item as business moves to and creates digital alternatives to access and transfer funds as opposed to sourcing it from a traditional ATM.
  • Staying ahead of cybercrime. With the new and fantastic era of digital banking, millennials are also cautious of cybercrime as this is one of the elements that come with the downside of digital. Their only plea with this is for banks to be proactive and engaged in the protection they offer of their assets. They want banks to be a safe and untouchable place.
  • IN-TER-GRA-TION. As mentioned in my previous post, financial institutions have a myriad of data and information on clients. More than enough to do really small but really meaningful, kickass stuff. Millennials really think it’s lame that engagements and the identification of current and future product needs are still so “banky ” and impersonal. Banks can do a whole lot more to prove they understand their clients and show up as life and business partners. Banks need to understand client lifestyles and aspirations and meet those with their data. There must be collaboration with external corporates and an ecosystem built to fulfill these needs and make it a seamless experience to attain what matters to them, irrespective of whether it’s bank-related or not.

Okay peeps so that’s the list! It was quite an eye opener for me and I learnt a few things from engaging with my amazing research sample group. I hope this perspective not only sheds some light but assists in some strategic implementations of how financial institutions cater for (not just millennials) but in actual fact, their future clientele.

If there are any other topics you’d like for me to explore and write about, please leave a comment.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read!

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Part 2)

It has been two weeks now since I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird; during a DMC that I engaged in with one of my friends today we found ourselves questioning whether set-books in high school were purposefully chosen in order of dis-functionality or was it based on how closely the novel represented real life? This conversation got me thinking that, although classics are relevant and important, how incredible it would be to promote African authors and their literature in our African schools. Filling our classrooms with lessons and stories that are both relatable and educational with a frame of reference that is closer to home. Just a thought…

Now to get into the final post of the full book review…

To Kill a Mockingbird is a story written and set in the 60’s in the Southern parts of America. The book is narrated by Scout Finch, a brave young girl (An Arya Stark of sorts if you like), incredibly funny and incredibly brave with a swing like Mayweather. Scout lives with her brother Jem (aka Jeremy) and Lawyer father Atticus. Their mother passed away when both children were young and the children take to Calpurnia (their house help) as a second mother who guides and grooms the children throughout the story, enforcing a strict yet loving influence over them.

Amongst other things, the story highlights and showcases how destructive ignorance can be; the dangers of small- mindedness, as well as the ramifications of stereotyping while reflecting how far the legal system has come. We are still not equal or free, but thank God we are not where we used to be. Aluta Continua!

Although fictional, there was something I found so captivating about how much Atticus kept to his values and his truth with so much conviction. There’s something so powerful about a person who can go beyond what he feels to do what is right at the end of the day, despite societal pressure and because of that I think anyone can learn a handful from To Kill a Mockingbird.

My mom says I say this after every book but honestly, this is the best book I have EVER read and most definitely my most favorite. I have always been confused by how fleeting the response was when one asked how people knew they had found “the one” and they simply responded by “you just know”. Although books aren’t people (they sure are more stable than some people I know) but I can possibly say, for once… I think I know what all these people mean. I have not yet read all the books in the world (and will certainly never accomplish this) but it doesn’t take me reading a whole lot of books to tell you that I have found “The One”. My favourite book of all time. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling just a little bit “laah-dee-dah” at that fact that it’s a classic.

My review is by no means something you can rely on as a scholar as I had never read this book during school (and thank God for that because I can now read it uninhibited by bias and the pressures to get full marks for a literature paper) so I’d probably miss all the irrelevant “important bits” teachers harp on. But from a personal/ self reflective perspective I can say I got more than what I bargained for. What an incredible week-long journey…. one that when I had reached the last page, audibly gasped in despair that I had finished too soon and simply was not prepared for the last page!
I really don’t think I’ve done the book justice in terms of sharing lessons learned or about expressing the amazingness of the late Harper Lee’s writing, but I am so grateful to have experienced both. But now that I think about it, sharing both of these would simply ruin the experience for the next reader and that’s not the point for me.

All I can say is, if you have not read this book yet, get your hands on it as soon as possible. You don’t need to be going through anything to be ready for it, it meets you where you are and ambushes you through 300 odd pages of one of the most enthralling fictional experiences you will ever encounter. You’ll become Southern AF from page one and you won’t want to put it down until you’re done. What a pleasure!

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Part 1)


Almost halfway into this incredible classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought, I just must document my thoughts in this informal book review.

Firstly, I must say high school set books usually come with so much richness in knowledge and wisdom that many of us take for granted in our teen years. Fortunately for me “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of those books that I did not have the privilege to dishonor growing up and as such, have gone back to this Classic at a much mature stage to appreciate it in totality, after gathering much wounds in adulthood to increase the appreciation haha!

From the minute I opened this book after purchasing it. There was something about it that silently whispered “let’s go back to the basics of humanity that are very much overlooked yet necessary”. Harper Lee (May her soul Rest In Peace) wrote a masterpiece. I have never read a book so deep and easy at the same time.

The perception I have of classics is that they are books written decades ago and hold a certain air of seriousness and morbidmess. Boy is this book funny! There are not many books that can get a serious message across and in the same sentence make you ball your eyes with laughter.

The innocence of Scout and Jem is one thing you will definitely fall in love with. Atticus and Calpurnia are the definition of a “Star Team” and Atticus’ conviction to his conscience is one thing I admire most as it teaches one that at the end of the day, despite how you believe people have wronged you and insulted you and taken you for granted, people are people who are just trying to live; and the more you let your peace reside in their presence the easier it is to help them heal.

So far, so flipping good 💯🔥.

Why is butter so expensive?

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It turns out it’s not just me being dramatic on my Facebook status but research states that the price of butter has indeed doubled over a very short space of time.

I remember buying a small brick of the yellow gold (250g) early this year for around R25 at Spar, this evening I went to stock up and found myself forking out 25% more for the same thing (in, the, same, year, HOW.). I get we are in junk status mode but there must be more to this price hike than that because over a few years I have noticed the price of butter increasing but it doesn’t quite hit you until you work and earn your own salary that you understand why your mother stopped making scones with butter and instead opted for “baking margarine”- not the same thing!

Being the millennial muser that I am, I decided to genuinely find out and do some research and investigate why my favourite staple has become so expensive so that in future I can  contribute more willingly and knowledgeably to the butter industry and instead of feeling like I am being ripped off, actually understand how my R32 makes a difference in an artisan’s life.

One of my favourite articles that I came across when I asked google “Why is butter so expensive?” was from the

and these are the 4 interesting things I learnt about this phenomenon:

  • Butter is not just expensive in South Africa, its a global trend! While we experience double digit percentage increases in a matter of months, the Europeans are facing a very serious and very possible “croissant apocalypse” *insert gasp here*
  • The industry cannot keep up with the high demand. According to NZ Herald an online news website that profiled Fonterra (the world’s largest dairy exporter), the industry has failed to keep up with the high global demand of butter and suppliers are now overexerting themselves and their resources to match the demand as stipulated in this excerpt:

“The unprecedented demand for milk fat is what dairy giant Fonterra is blaming for the global butter shortage. The fat from about 20 litres of raw milk makes up a single 500g block of butter. That’s nearly the total amount that can be milked from two cows in one day. 250 metric tonnes of butter is churned out of Fonterra’s Te Rapa factory daily. But it ‘s still not nearly enough to meet the huge worldwide demand.”

  • All your Banting buddies, are to blame… In more than two articles now I have seen it being referenced that there has been a sudden global surge (over a 3 to 5 year period) in the demand for high fat products as a result of eating trends and this has indirectly impacted the price of our beloved butter. Who would have guessed?!
  • Apart from changing consumer habits, Business Live added that the ongoing drought in the Western Cape is also attributable to the butter price hike as they are contributors of half (along with the Eastern Cape) of all the milk production for the country, and water is one of the most important inputs in dairy production.

So naturally this got me thinking…”so how is butter produced”, and for this answer, I went to YouTube; click here to watch the video.