The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 28, 2014 • Issue 14:04:02
Observations from the payments Ferris wheel
Just in time for the Electronic Transactions Association's April 2014 annual tradeshow, the world's tallest Ferris wheel opened for business in Las Vegas. Called the "High Roller," the Ferris wheel stands almost 51 stories high and offers a spectacular view at night of The Strip in all its splendor.
The Ferris wheel is a symbol of change. As the wheel goes round and round, the passengers are at the bottom of the wheel one minute and at the top of the wheel the next. It is perhaps a little scary to think that you don't have control over the motion of the wheel. You might want to stay on top of the wheel – and on top of the world – but that's not how it works. The wheel turns independently of your desires.
But what you can count on is that if you are on the bottom of the wheel, you will soon be on top.
Turn, turn, turn
In the payments industry, the Ferris wheel is turning pretty quickly. New payment methods are supplanting the old and fortunes for upstart companies are rising as the prospects for more entrenched players are falling. And it may be that no matter how hard some legacy companies try to adapt to the changing landscape, their glory days are past because the wheel turns on its own accord.
But the one thing payment pros can control is their attitude toward change. You can dread the prospect of it or embrace it as an opportunity. Being on the tradeshow floor of Transact 14, opportunity was everywhere, as seemingly a million-and-one solutions were at your fingertips. And the presenters were energized when pitching their products and services.
Sure, it's natural to be nervous about the future. But that didn't stop conventioneers from making contacts, cementing partnerships and having an all around good time. It is because the tradeshow and its participants are focused on the future, not the past. Life is stressful, but the payments industry is keen on moving forward and making things happen.
Having a wheel of a time
We only learn when we experience contrasts. We can't know what hot water feels like if we haven't experienced cold. Conversely, we can't know how good it feels to be on top of the world unless we first know what it feels like to be on the bottom.
Serial entrepreneurs in the payments industry seem to understand this. Why else would they create successful businesses that would afford them to live comfortably the rest of their lives, then sell those businesses to start other ventures that may never pan out?
It is because they realize the Ferris Wheel of Life continues to turn, if they want it to or not. Like them, you have a choice. You can complain about how you never make enough money or your merchants are making your life difficult. Or you can enjoy the ride.
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