Mastercard tech boss: Netflix is an example of innovation done right
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Mastercard tech boss: Netflix is an example of innovation done right

Streaming video on demand (SVOD) platform Netflix has more than its fair share of fans – the latest of which seems to be cashless transaction provider Mastercard’s president of operations and technology, Ed McLaughlin. In a recent address at the Technology Business Management Summit in London, he told listeners that they should endevour to emulate Netflix’s approach when it comes to innovation, and said that Mastercard views the streaming video provider as a technology role model.

Mastercard’s share price is up by 33% so far this year

graph 1906 mastercard

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

In relation to Netflix, he said: “It's hard to imagine they started their business mailing CDs, but they never thought that was their business. They were delivering content and to move that much content to where the consumer wanted to consume it made that the best way to do it.”

"As the environment changed they were able to get into streaming, as they got into streaming they knew their customers better and were getting into creating content. So if you think of their journey, from DVDs to Stranger Things, we think that's really the journey that all of us are going to emulate. You stop thinking about your physical delivery channels, you stop thinking about the way you delivered it and you start thinking more profoundly about who you are."

Applying these lessons to his own company, McLaughlin said that the movement beyond physical cards, and towards “contextual commerce” (which allows users to “transact wherever they want to”) was a good example.

"So we said every device is a commerce device and our job is contextual commerce, so how do we get it right wether you are in your smart car, using a mobile phone or your game system, your smart speaker your IoT? Suddenly the realisation that if we are freed from the tyranny of the physical world we could unleash the power of our network in a way we never could."

He added that the next movement in this journey involved “moving to device-based commerce,” which would allow for “full, digital enablement of what we have to issue virtual numbers and it is called tokenization.”

The result is that Mastercard’s customer accounts move beyond their physical cards and become accessible via a number of “tokens” – digitized, these accounts can live in iPhones, connected cars, watches, or wherever the user chooses to put them. But when does the company plan to phase out physical cards altogether? According to McLaughlin: "The real answer is when the last person wants one, our job is to serve consumers in this new environment."


Dominion holds both Mastercard and Netflix in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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