By Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC
For months now, The Green Sheet has been sharing stories of survival, courage and hope by highlighting payments professionals who are helping merchants keep their businesses alive during COVID-19. We've interviewed merchant level salespeople (MLSs), ISOs, acquirers and third-party service providers who have teamed with merchants to take their businesses online, implement curbside pick-up and delivery services, activate mobile apps, and add in-store contactless POS functionality.
Many of us have been working double shifts to help partners and customers adapt, compete and serve their communities. The new normal demands much of our time and resources, which can lead to separation anxiety, fatigue and frustration. We find solace in Zoom, contactless payments and video streaming services, technologies that help us stay connected, safe and entertained.
Like others in our industry, I've been using video to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. In addition to hosting my ongoing video podcast, I'm using video platforms to attend virtual events, watch parties, happy hours, book clubs and movie chats. And I'm finding these calls are becoming less structured and more improvisational. They also afford rare insights into the private bookshelves and living rooms of people who would otherwise have tuned in from conference rooms and office cafeterias.
Best of all, my recent adventures in video have connected me to people all over the world who are innovating in our space. One of them is my friend and colleague Tracy Lai, a fintech consultant. I look forward to our Friday afternoon chats when we catch up and discuss our industry and personal payments journeys. A few weeks ago, we were discussing media use cases and the pros and cons of each platform. Tracy acknowledged that she feels more comfortable speaking than writing, something I frequently hear from non-writing friends. I suggested taping a conversation and creating a transcript so she could see her words in print. Using the same set of questions that I use in a typical podcast interview, I asked Tracy about her consulting practice: how she differentiates from similar businesses and how fast she is growing. Her answers helped us reframe our casual chat into a business-focused discussion.
"Today's interview gave me a blueprint for exploring my core values and value proposition," Lai said. "It made me think about my own personal uniqueness and how I can leverage that uniqueness and career experience in a new industry sector."
Lai additionally noted that seeing these words on paper helped her think about new ways to leverage her background, knowledge and skills — perhaps to offer training or coaching or draw from her previous experience to help others assess their needs. "Helping fintechs survive and thrive during COVID-19 has been a constant focus," Lai said. "Maybe now I can find some new ways."
Dale S. Laszig, senior staff writer at The Green Sheet and managing director at DSL Direct LLC, is a payments industry journalist and content development specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @DSLdirect.
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