What Is Being a FinTech CEO like?by@podcast
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What Is Being a FinTech CEO like?

by PodcastSeptember 7th, 2021
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Tom Sosnoff, Co-CEO of tastytrade, and Sean Salas, CEO of Camino Financial, join Amy Tom this week to discuss FinTech startups. What was Wall Street like in the '80s? How has the finance industry evolved? Listen to find out. Vote for tastytrade for Startup Of The Year in Chicago: The HackerNoon Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other platforms.

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GUYS, it's me ofc - your pod host Amy.

Thanks so much to Tom and Sean for coming on the pod. HOLY it was such a fun episode. I'm so happy I got to ask Tom about what Wall Street was like back in the day. And man - talking to Sean about how he started Camino Financial for his mom - TEAR JERKER.

I also loved to discuss diversity in the finance/investing space. As an industry that's traditionally very white-male dominated, I found it interesting to hear the perspectives of both Sean and Tom. As Sean said, at the end of the day, the math is the same despite who it comes from. But, there are ways to make finance more inclusive for women and POC.


Big money, get paid. Tom Sosnoff, Co-CEO of tastytrade, and Sean Salas, CEO of Camino Financial, join Amy Tom this week to discuss FinTech startups. What is Wall Street REALLY like? How has the finance industry evolved? Listen to find out - DUN DUN DUNNNN 😵

Listen to The HackerNoon Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

On this episode of The HackerNoon Podcast:

  • What was Tom's very first job? (01:15) And Sean's? ✨ (02:10)
  • What was Wall Street like in the '80s? 👯‍♀️ (07:51)
  • Why did Sean start Camino? 👩‍👦‍👦 (10:10)
  • How has diversity changed in the finance industry over the years? 🌈 (15:58)
  • Tom talks about what he wishes he knew at the start of his career 🍳 (23:15)
  • How should we think about financial education for minorities? 🤔 (30:48)
  • What does the future of FinTech look like? 🤯 (35:03)

🫐 Vote for Camino Financial for Startup Of The Year in LA

Brex -

🍅 Vote for tastytrade for Startup Of The Year in Chicago:

Connect with Tom and Sean:

Learn more about HackerNoon and Startups of The Year:

For more information visit


[00:00:00] Amy: Right now, Natasha, who, if you don't know, is the managing editor of hacker noon is on a Italian vacation and it looks Lusha says how and she's really giving me. To under the Tuscan sun vibes and I am really appreciating it. And I'm hoping that means that traveling is opening up and I get to see the world again.

So very excited about that. Shout out to Natasha over in Italy, have some Vino. But anyways, this is the hacker noon podcast. And my name is Amy Tom. Today. I am joined by Tom , who is the CEO and co-founder of tasty trade. And also by Sean solace, who is the CEO of cameo financial. Welcome guys. Thank you very much for coming.

[00:00:50] Tom: Thanks for having us. 

[00:00:51] Sean: Thank you. 

[00:00:53] Amy: So guys, I would like to ask you a few questions about how you started your FinTech companies and why it's so important to empower people with financial knowledge. But we'll, before we get into that, I got to know right from the start. What was your very first job slash how did you make your first dollar?

[00:01:15] Tom: Oh, my, I was a kid 13 years old, the first legit job I caddied 13 years old. I did my first loop. I got paid $7 and twenty-five cents that's with tip for four and a half hours on the golf course. I did it for the next seven years. So I was a catty. 

[00:01:33] Amy: Wow. D is it because you love golf? 

[00:01:36] Tom: No it's because when you're 13, I think in the middle of a recession, that was the only job I could get.

So yeah. Oh 

[00:01:43] Amy: man. $7 for four 

[00:01:46] Tom: hours. That's back when minimum wage was a dollar 25, so who knows? 

[00:01:51] Amy: Oh, okay. Dang. And that was it a good job. 

[00:01:56] Tom: Yeah. Yeah. I loved it. I learned how to play golf and gamble at the same time. 

[00:02:01] Amy: Okay. Interesting. All right. And what about you? 

[00:02:05] Sean: I was a gardener. I used to be, or the official title, I guess if it was officials, because it really wasn't an official job was an assistant tree trimmers.

So we would hop on a truck at four 30 in the morning drive to Beverly Hills and I'd help a family friend cut trim trees. And we were basically in charge of my twin brother. You're basically charged with picking up the branches and hacking them away and we're 15 years old. So my first job was very motivating to say the least because here where I was.

No driving into Beverly Hills and seeing all these beautiful houses and, I was taking out with all the rest of us, Hey, eating, there's all these really good food trucks in the area around noon, they pop up and you go and you eat with every, everyone else that's doing landscaping or a leg work.

It was, oh yeah. It's awesome with this as an LA. Yeah. 

[00:03:03] Amy: Must've been so hard. 

[00:03:05] Sean: It was hot. And I guess if you look at it, it seemed like really hard, hard work, but I was 15 years old and the way we would get paid, it would vary byte by week. Sometimes we'd get paid in cash other weeks we'd get paid in the form of the guy that was hooking us up.

He was a young guy too, and he loved going paintballing over the weekend. So I was like, Hey, can you just cover it? Our, our, our weekend trip to go paintballing. 

[00:03:30] Amy: Okay, great. That's a very good job for a 15 year old. Yeah. Okay. And then let's move on to what happened after that. Tom, did you go to university?

[00:03:44] Tom: I did state university of New York and Albany. 

[00:03:47] Amy: And what did you 


[00:03:49] Tom: I studied political science. There wasn't, there was no such thing as business, even though I don't think I would have studied business or finance at the time, but we didn't even have those choices. So I was a political science major. I was pretty sure I was going to end up as some kind of a lobbyists slash lawyer slash I'm not really sure slash but again, I got out of school in the end of 1979, which is the which was a pretty bad recessionary period interest rates were like, 20, 20%.

You don't realize it as a kid, but interest rates were 20%. There was no jobs. And I got an interview on wall street and they offered me a job on the spot. I just took it. I've been in finance ever since. Wow. 

[00:04:29] Amy: Okay. 

[00:04:30] Tom: It was a, it was at a firm called Drexel Burnham, which is no longer in existence.

They blew up onto the whole MC Michael Milken thing, in the eighties. But back then, they were like the hot boutique firm on wall street, in the early eighties. And the job was in their training program and I. I never made it out because I got when I was there I got, I'd met somebody and he said, if you moved to Chicago we'll put up the money for you to trade.

And I just left, packed up my car and the next day and left. 

[00:04:55] Amy: Wow. Okay. And what interest, what interested you about finance at the 

[00:05:01] Tom: time? Think of it as finance at the time, remember there was not even a word, the word entrepreneurship didn't even exist back, 1981 or something. So it was really like what interests me about Chicago at the time was, the trading floors were like the last frontier of pure capitalism.

It was like, it was the wild west, and I thought it was super cool and I was 23 years old, so I didn't give a crap. I thought it was the coolest place ever. So I just came here. I've been here for 40 years. 

[00:05:25] Amy: Cool. All right. Sweet. And Sean, did you go to university after the tree?


[00:05:33] Sean: Yeah, I did. I went to UC Berkeley, so it was interesting. My childhood took place both in LA and then until I was 12 years old, I moved to Mexico and then I'd literally make my money during the summers trimming trees. And eventually I was. A summer counselor, which was one of the funnest jobs I've ever had by the way.

And then I'd go back to Mexico and like literally every dollar that I made over the course of that semester, and that was what I would spending money. And then eventually I did, I moved back to the us. I was lucky enough to get into UC Berkeley. Studied international political economy.

And that was good. That was cool. Yeah my, my background was also in political economy and not in business per se, but I got a job on wall street through internship program called sponsors for educational opportunities, SEO in shorts, and they put me they placed me on wall street relatively early in my life.

Between sophomore and junior year, I was able to get my first internship. So I actually got, I was able to cut my teeth fairly early and ended up getting a full-time offer at UBS investment bank, but also joined in a very interesting year. It was 2008. Survived that recession and ended up being transitioning into private equity and thereafter going to HR.

[00:07:00] Amy: Okay. What is wall street really 

[00:07:03] Tom: Tom? I was a 22 year old kid, 2020. It wasn't really like 

[00:07:08] Amy: that, actually. Wow. I have a lot of questions about what wall street really was like back then 

[00:07:15] Tom: when I was 23 and I were 22, whatever it was 22, 23. When they gave me, when I got my job drugs, I guess I was 23.

They said. You can live here for six weeks in the training program, in a hotel. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but I didn't realize what quote wall street really was until I got to the trading floors in Chicago. And then if you can just think of I don't know. It really was.

A, it really was nuts. For the, if to me wall street was what I, I had nothing to do with wall street in New York. I was wall street LaSalle street in Chicago was more wall street to me. So it was board of trade. It was the CME, it was the CBO. I was a CBO trader and it was, I was in a city with five or 10,000 young traders and it was like Wolf of wall street, just, it was almost out of the.

Like just, if you can, a lot of kids with a ridiculous amount of money doing crazy stupid things. And we made a lot, we spent a lot and. We learned a lot, a few of us survived. That's about all I can say. 

[00:08:18] Amy: Okay. What was the culture like in the environment, 

[00:08:23] Tom: it was it was a culture that wouldn't survive today, but it was it was like, Think about your worst.

Imagine your worst locker room culture with males, take your worst sports culture you could ever think of. It was double that. And so 

[00:08:37] Amy: it's exactly what I think it was. Okay, 

[00:08:40] Tom: cool. Cool. Three or 4,000 alpha males on a room, all big bodied, oh yeah. There's a few women, but they were tougher than the guys.

The ones that survived were tougher than the guys. 

[00:08:49] Amy: Yeah. You would need to be, they were stone cold killer. Yeah, damn. Okay. Wow. That sounds really exciting. Cool. All right. So I want to know then Sean, how you started or why? 

[00:09:06] Sean: Yeah, so we started really, it stems from our personal experiencing our mom immigrate from Mexico and opened over 30 restaurants here in Southern California to unfortunately see everything collapsed.

And so a big reason why. Kenny. And I ended up moving to Mexico when we were 12 years old is because my mom's her business folded. And that was a character building moment for all of us to say the least. I would thereafter quite frankly, enjoy the heck out of growing up in Mexico, but I always had that chip on my shoulder.

What if I'd ask myself questions of what if I were older and I would have been there with my mom so I could help her support her business. And that, that question of what if I think has really inspired me to be passionate about helping small businesses. Now, couple that with my experience working in finance, I think I saw a unique opportunity to leverage my finance background.

And use that to deploy capital into small businesses. Like the ones that my mom owned and that's really the seed that planted. Financial we were lucky enough to germinate that seed. We went to go get our MBAs while we, I say I speak in weeks because I have a twin brother we co-founded, and we've been doing this all together.

And we would thereafter. You see why we're at HBS. And I think that the next step outside of the passion piece was the investment thesis, right? And really we saw, the Latin next, the USAA and next market is the largest Latin X market in the world. It generates about $2.6 trillion in GDP.

That's larger than Brazil at 2.1, 2.2 trillion and twice the size of Mexico. And then of course, there's this segment within this market. That's very entrepreneurial and yet lacks a lot of access to capital. And you know what one thing we were doing while we were in PE is Kenny and I both were part of private equity funds that have an orientation towards investing in minority owned businesses.

But the reality is. We wouldn't invest in companies that made less than $7 million in EBITDA. Our profit per year, the average size of a Latin next on micro business is generates $200,000 in revenue per year. So these are just really small businesses. Of course, how do you deploy that much capital accompanies that are this small well technology in that would therefore thereafter create the underlying investment thesis behind Camino financial, which is really the intersection between FinTech and financial inclusion focused on empowering these micro businesses in the U S next market.

[00:11:47] Amy: Why is financial inclusion for minority groups?

[00:11:51] Sean: Yeah first of all the U S economy's growth has been fueled in big part by minority groups in the United States. If you look at population growth, if you look at consumer power, if you look at entrepreneurs and that's a segment where I focused on roughly today, if for stablish businesses, The about 15% of them are owned by Latinos in particular.

I'm gonna use them as an illustrative example of minorities. Obviously there are many other demographics, but the Latin X market is one that I'm closest to. However, if you take a snapshot of entrepreneurs that are starting businesses, it's one in four and so Latinos, and you can actually see black and brown.

Entrepreneurs are the fastest growing business segment entrepreneur, or most entrepreneurs demographic in the United States here 

[00:12:43] Amy: at KC. Wait, say that again? So one in 

[00:12:45] Sean: four Latinos mean one to four entrepreneurs today are Latino. Okay. That's and so you see a very. Very young demographic.

That's very entrepreneurial. That is going to be very soon, the next 10 years, if one in four entrepreneurs, Latino and only, 15% of businesses established businesses are Latino owned by Latina today. That proportion will converge over time. And we need to ensure that these entrepreneurs not just Latin next, I think by, I think Latinos are illustrative of us.

Minority demographics in the United States, we need to make sure that they're very well-positioned to enterprise, right? That they have access to capital that their survival rates are very high, that they can create in the process. Generational wealth, because. Once again, leading back to the entrepreneur portion of this it's that we need.

I see entrepreneurs and the world sees entrepreneurs, america was built on this as vessels for economic change for economic viability with them. Their communities. And so it's important that we use, we empower that nucleus of our communities and through them through entrepreneurs, they're going to create generational wealth that helps not only themselves, their business, but their.

[00:14:04] Amy: Okay, Tom, I'm going to get to you why you started tasty trader in a minute, but I would love to get your thoughts on this as well, because you have been in finance from for a long time, and I've imagined what I've seen a lot of growth in terms of diversity in the finance industry. So what has that been like 

[00:14:21] Tom: when you say diversity do you mean diversity among the we're a hundred percent retail?

So when you think about diversity, In the financial space, it's more about it's more like just demographics, getting younger and demographic skewing more towards women than it is. We don't really break it down, like the same way Sean did with, we don't look at it as based there's no way for us.

We don't actually even know that. You know who our customers, any much about our customers other than age and things like that. What we have seen in the lab, Especially the movement in the last let's call it a couple of years is, we've gotten sick. The engagement for retail investors has gotten a lot younger or at least we've engaged a younger audience finally.

And we've also, been able to we're not 50, 55 and white anymore. That's, that pretty much was our primary demographic for a long time. And that demographic has changed. Now we're about a third going through, multiple generations. And we are also almost a third women right now.

[00:15:26] Amy: What about the young generation like generation C? 

[00:15:29] Tom: Generation Z is really interesting. It's there's been, there was a transformational mode. Earlier this year with out of the meme stock and the Robin hood explosion and the Beanstock kind of explosion. And so it was definitely a transformational moment and something that, that I thought would happen for the last 20 years that I wanted to make happen.

But, we were. It just wasn't our, it wasn't our, it wasn't our time, but it's something that we thought was going to happen. We weren't sure what the trigger would be. And the trigger was like a bunch of events that happened simultaneously, but the good news is that it happened and that's a really positive sign because in the world of finance, if you don't do something, when you're in your early twenties, the next thing you know, you wake up one day and you're.

And you missed the whole move. And when I say you missed the movie, you just, you wake up and you're figuring out now, what am I going to do? Because your appetite for risk and your ability to process risk is very different when you're 50. And you haven't done that since you were 20.

I'm not, the big thing you need to know about us is especially me, is I'm. I am an active trader slash active participant advocate. I am. Anti passive investing. So anything traditional about investing in a passive sense, I'm completely opposed to, for way more reasons than just building wealth or kind of total return.

There's so many other aspects to active investing that I think are important. That's really what we focus. 

[00:16:49] Amy: Okay. What is the difference between active and passive investing? Sorry. 

[00:16:55] Tom: Passive investing is you buy something and, you go to sleep for a little bit of time where you put it away and, you put it in a shoe box or your safe deposit box or your brokerage account.

And you look at it a couple times a year and then 10 or 20 years, you hope everything you did was higher. Or essentially along those lines, active investing is you take a. Very you take a role in every decision that's made. You aggressively manage what you're doing strategically.

That means you can, re you can improve basis. You can use different strategies. You can be on the sides of the markets. You can participate in all different products, and it's just a completely different approach. To finance, to wealth creation. In the end, I don't know if you create more money being passive or you create more money being active.

But what I do know is in the end, you create a lot more opportunity for yourself. If you learn the skills of being active. In other words, it's a pro it's learning how to make decisions. It's learning how to improve brain processing speed is learning how to assess risk. It's learning how to be strategic in life and it's things that you don't like.

We don't ever tell him. Hey, I really hope my kid turns out to be passive. Like it's just not, it's just not the way we think about it, but when it comes to investing, we say, wow, you should really be a passive investor. It's it drives me out of my mind, but that's 

[00:18:09] Amy: okay. And so tell me about how you started tasty trading.

[00:18:13] Tom: When I was on the trading floor for almost 20 years and 19. Exactly. And I decided that at one point that the trading floors were going to change and go away a little bit and go electronic. So I decided to build this company called think or swim. And it was a company we started in 1999, same people that built tasty.

And I started it with my partner, Scott Sheridan. We became the primary that really the. I one of the best boutique online brokerages in America, we were bought out. We were publicly traded. We were bought out by TD Ameritrade in 2009 for during the meltdown for three quarters of a billion dollars.

And we decided at the time that, Hey, you know what, we're not ready to hang it up. So we honored our contract and then we started tasty trade to change. Financial media, because I thought financial media was all bullshit. CNBC Bloomberg Reuters wall street journal. I couldn't stand traditional financial media.

I thought it should be no news. I thought it should be all about no guests. All about quantitative math statistics, quantitative analysis. And so we built a think tank called tasty trade. And then from tasty trade, we built tasty works and now we built it up into, another huge. Online broker and think tank research from where we're the world's largest digital financial network.

And we have about the fifth or sixth largest online brokerage firm in America. And we were actually just bought out, 

[00:19:41] Amy: and how long would you say that you've been on the think tank? Tasty trade? 10 years. Okay. We started 

[00:19:48] Tom: in 2011 and 2021, both firms were 10 years thinker. So it was 1999, 2009.

Tasty was 2011 to 2021, and we're still, thinkers. Some still exist. Schwab owns it. Now it's their primary platform. So it's the largest trading platform in the world right now is think or swim when we built. But Schwab owns it. They bought TD Ameritrade and then tasty was just bought by IgG, which is.

UK based firm, but together we've essentially merged and together we have, it's one of the largest trading firms in the world right now, I think second or third. So that's our, the combination of two of our, both companies, both of our companies. 

[00:20:27] Amy: And you have come so far as a CEO. So what is something that you wish you knew before you started 10 years?

[00:20:35] Tom: I wouldn't say before tasty, but what I wish I knew when I was trading on the floor would be I wasted a lot of my life, like fooling around when I was younger and I wish I had I wish I understood entrepreneurship because to the extent that. I just didn't spend enough time in my twenties and thirties learning about technology.

And I didn't really know that there was this other frontier out there and I have no regrets. Trust me zero, but I just wish I'd started earlier in the kind of building businesses outside of, the kind of the trading floor, because I think that it's really fascinating what you do. And I'm not stopping now.

 We're going to continue and build more stuff and, it's just so cool. I don't care about the money. I honestly don't care about the money. It's really just about the fun of, conquering a new business and really doing things that nobody's done before 

[00:21:29] Amy: as a serial entrepreneur.

Do you think that once you start one, you can start as many as you. 

[00:21:36] Tom: I do believe that I do believe that. And I think there is. And the reason for that is, and I'm sure Sean can say the same thing. Once you've had certain successes the successes are still difficult, but some of the hurdles early on which like raising capital, which is very difficult when you first start out when you've been successful and you've made people hundreds of millions of dollars, it's easier to raise.

Nothing else is necessarily easier. It's still hard to execute, but one of the big hurdles early on when you're starting businesses, raising capital, and when you've been successful people, they're like, okay listen, they've done it before. They'll, they've done it twice.

They'll do it to do it a third time and a fourth. They keep betting on you and rightfully that's and so that's a little bit easier at that part of the hurdle. 

[00:22:17] Amy: Sean is cameo your first. 

[00:22:20] Sean: Yeah, it's my first company and I can't emphasize enough the truth behind what Tom just said.

I often ask myself as an entrepreneur, but also as an investor, how. Much I've learned or what would I do differently if I had to do it again. And I think there are a lot of things that you call them, rookie mistakes, whatever you want to call them. And I also invest, I do, angel investing and I can tell you, and I'm very open to people that I mentor and I talked to is, if you're a first time entrepreneur, you're going to make mistakes in a way you have to bake that into.

Your valuation or the execution risk associated with what you're trying to do. And obviously there's a lot of us that, not, I would include myself there that do a better job learning from other people's mistakes, but sometimes you got to experience that pain yourself so that you'd ever do it.

Number one, number two, the fact that it's easier to raise equity dollars a second time around for all the good reasons does de-risk you. But, you're a structurally dearest, right? Because I don't think money solves all problems, but it does tell a lot of them. And one, one example, I think it's not just about ease to being able to raise money, but also you're able to.

Pull from your network of different people that are very talented, to help you go start this business. And over the course of the last seven years that we've been doing communal financial I've a mass, such a great network of people within and beyond the company. And it just it's, and equipped with that network.

You're also just better positioned to succeed. 

[00:24:01] Amy: yeah, that's really interesting. And. Okay. So I will admit that I would like to become an entrepreneur one day. And one of the hurdles that I feel like is there for me and my entrepreneurial journey is let my lack of financial knowledge is so stark, like it's bad.

And so what advice would you give someone like me who wants to become an entrepreneur, but has like very limited financial knowledge, Tom. 

[00:24:29] Tom: You can almost guess what my advice is going to be. I do. A crazy amount of, lecturing at different universities and podcasts. Now, mostly podcasts now, different places.

But and we have a very young firm and I spend a lot of time talking to young entrepreneurs and people that want to get into the world of science and things like that. I am a huge believer that the difference maker for the real difference maker in the entrepreneurship world is speed of decision.

And on, regardless of what anybody says there's, there's, everything's been commoditized now. Technology has been commoditized, academia has been commoditized. There's most things have been commoditized, meaning that you can basically learn anything, but one of the things that you just can't learn without doing it is the speed at which you make decisions.

And to me, the most valuable people are the people that make the quickest decisions and right. Right or run, obviously we're not looking for somebody that's careless or something like that, but people that can make smart peep, everybody's smart, but very smart people that can make quick decisions can be extremely successful in finance because finance is about quick decision-making.

How do you get. And it's just, it's really repetition. And I think the easiest way to do that is in the listed markets right now, which are I don't care make a hundred crypto trades. If you want, if you like crypto make a hundred stock trades, if you like stock, make a thousand option trades.

If you like options, make a hundred or 500 futures trades, the markets are one penny wide. You can make a hundred or a thousand trades now with less than a thousand dollars. And in the process of doing that, you learn this incredible decision-making skills that almost happened. Like it, it transforms you almost instantaneously.

Very few people understand this. And from that, just build on it, see what you like, listen it's pure, market structure leads to free market capitalism leads to liquidity and all of those. All of those things combined really help you, as a young entrepreneur, what you need to be able to do is make quick decisions and articulate things that, that people want to hear.

Like when I hear somebody talk about, okay, when I talk, we'll talk about what they want to do, their ability to articulate that. That's how I make my decision on whether or not I want to hire them. I want to invest in them, whatever it is. So once you can articulate something and make quick decisions, I think that's the most valuable thing.

[00:26:51] Amy: Quick decisions and make a lot of traits,

[00:26:55] Tom: the ability to explain what you're doing. So like you have to be able to explain your know-how. Okay. 

[00:27:02] Amy: And Sean, my question for you is, what kind of financial awareness or financial knowledge would you recommend me for something that is more accessible to minority groups perhaps?


[00:27:18] Sean: When I think about my minority groups and nuance around financial education, I want to be clear the math is still the same. Okay. And how he make money. Then that is the same for Latinos as it is for others. I think they're there. Nuance and storytelling and reaching the market that I think uniquely positioned Camino to deliver financial education to the Latin X market relative to others.

Number one, number two, I think we live in a market. Where there's real systemic racism, and where certain demographics have been more socially oppressed relative to others, which has implications on their education levels, which has implications on potential hardships that they're living right in their environment, in their ecosystem and the types of people they've been exposed to.

And and then obviously that leads to it's ported. It's expensive to be poor in the United States that also has implications on what you can borrow at and what products do you would likely be evaluating relative to others. So I just want to make sure that when I think about the question you're asking me about how should I think about financial education, as from a minority's perspective, the ant the short answer.

All things equal. You shouldn't be thinking about it any differently than anywhere else. Okay. The reality is that all things are not equal in the United States. And and so therefore that creates. An absolute need for organizations like Camino, but others to exist as well. So they can address the nuances of not only how do we educate certain segments in the market, but also how we design credit products and financial products in the market.

So they're best positioned to succeed. And so that's a very broad. Relatively bright answer to your question in terms of why we exist, but rest assured the math is the same and how you make money. And it's important that I think, stemming a little bit from the question you asked earlier to Tom, if you don't have a strong finance background, I still don't think that's necessarily, excuse not to.

Resource yourself with information because all that information is available, but also it may increase the burden for you to hire someone that compliments that skillset. Because being able to make quick decisions from a financial lens, I do believe maybe I'm biased because of my finance. Is important for you to succeed.

And so just make sure that you're, it sounds like you're being very self aware and to the extent that's a gap you need to fill, do as much as you can to affiliate yourself, but then find that the complimentary team members that can help you make quicker decisions with that framework. 

[00:30:00] Amy: yes. In my mind, I was thinking I'm just going to hire somebody to do this.

But I do want to have my own financial knowledge and financial empowerment as well. And yeah, I think to go back to my question about financial knowledge for minority groups I agree the math is definitely the same. But I also agree with the fact that I want to consume financial knowledge.

That is directed at me or I don't know. Yeah. I, as a consumer, I want to be able to know that my financial knowledge is vetted by people who understand, like what I want to invest in. Maybe, I don't know. And then maybe that's just like me finding the right kind of person to gain financial knowledge for more like the right educator.

But yeah, something that I've, that's been on my mind recently. Cool. So what do you think that the future of FinTech is going to look like Tom? 

[00:30:55] Tom: FinTech moves a lot slower than what really. Yeah. I think that the future of now. My future vision is a little different than most, but for me, the future of FinTech is going to be about capital efficiency.

More so than it's ever been, meaning that the future of FinTech is going to be more strategic. Of course the technology is going to continue to get better and better, but I think the future of FinTech is going to be more inclusive of of new forms of financial products and more capital efficiencies.

So what you're going to see is I believe. Global digitization, lots of tokenization. In other words, you're going to see digital assets play a significant role in the way that we move money around and the way that we participate in different global markets. So we are going to become more globalized than we think we're going to be currently.

And I think that capital efficiency and strategy is playing a role like you're already seeing. Stocks have priced themselves out of away from individual investors. Bonds are no longer even participatory for retail investors. And so the future of finance is in much more of capital efficient derivative type products and spread way differently because people are individuals, consumers are going to be more strategic and yeah.

The future will include a lot more. Like I said, capital efficiency with what they do, and also a lot more tokenization and participation in kind of a digital world. I don't see any way of breaking that apart at this point or changing the momentum. I think you're going to see a disruption of some of the large financial institutions.

I think it's inevitable. And and I'm looking forward to that. 

[00:32:41] Amy: The disruption of the financial institutions, I think is a big 

[00:32:45] Tom: piece. Yeah. I think that the Robin hoods of the world and the Coinbase is of the world and the amount of the amount of market cap that they've already, the considerable amount of market cap that they've already created in such a short period of time really opens the door for.

And then you have companies like Revolut and chime and things like that. And so you're going to see challenges. Disrupt large banking institutions. You're going to see aggressive brokerage firms and digital asset companies disrupt traditional brokerage firms. And I think that's all underway. I don't think that's a massive change.

I think it's a necessary and demand demanded change. So I think that's all. 

[00:33:25] Amy: Yeah. At hacker noon, we. Have an influx of a lot of de-centralization related articles or defy. And I think a lot of people are moving towards like power to the people and I want to own my money and that kind of thing.


[00:33:40] Tom: It's just, it's it is. There's some parts of it that are gonna fly and there's other parts that are not, but it is a fascinating, listen, you don't create a $2 trillion space out of nothing. And think that there's nothing there. There's something there. And as the technology continues to improve and as our participation with that technology gets.

Bigger and better. It's going to change the way we commit to finance in this country and in this world. 

[00:34:10] Amy: Yeah. Sean, where are you at in terms of thinking about the future of FinTech? 

[00:34:15] Sean: Yeah. We have a saying, which is fundamental fairness is what the output will be a FinTech, which is effectively.

Creating an even playing field for everyone to transact and maybe that's a very optimistic way of seeing the world. But I do think in many ways FinTech does enable us to do that because it inlines incentives for people to make. Products accessible to all, how is it going to do that? Now I'm going to use a micro example within the FinTech world, which is alternative lending, right?

So you have your first alt lenders that were really more general market folks focused on the general market. There, they weren't necessarily focused on any particular demographic and it was really a land grab for scale using automation and thereafter AI ML technology to really automate. And remove inefficiencies, and deploy capital when banks were actively pulling out for a variety of different reasons in 2008, and you've seen that market, boom. And then you had the version 2.0 of the Outlanders and they weren't as successful as the first because having a first to scale advantage. Was more important than just making marginal improvements in your business model.

But what's gotten really exciting is the emerging class of alternative lenders have been calling them alt lenders 3.0, have been focused on rather than making marginal improvements on the infrastructure where, a lot of texts technology is becoming commoditized. We're going to. An expertise around niche markets that we see have a lot of potential to grow.

And that's naturally deviated a lot of FinTech innovation around younger demographics, millennials, gen Z. And now we're also starting to see that focus going into five talk communities. And that's really exciting because I think, and, stemming off of something that Tom said earlier, your ability to make decisions.

Is a key competitive advantage, and you're only gonna be able to make decisions as fast as your institutional expertise on a market opportunity. That creates a lot of value. And I feel like we've found people focus more on specific markets as of core competitive advantage, right? While leveraging the innovations in technology around that.

And then once you've captivated a market, then you can deepen your relationship with that market. So you may start with correct. But then of course, every credit company wants to become a Neo bank and that opens up another discussion. And so I'm optimistic. I'm optimistic that there's a lot of incentives to innovate in niche markets.

And I think the U S in particular has some of the most exciting niche market opportunities in the world. And, the one that we just happen to be focused on is the Latin next market. 

[00:37:12] Amy: Cool. Exciting. All right, Tom, what is. In your future for you and for tasty trade, 

[00:37:22] Tom: we're going global. One of the reasons I wanted to do a deal in 2021 was because I have a rule, which is every 10 years shake things up.

Shawn's still young. So he's got time to shake things up. But Sean Manu, I think there was Theo Epstein who was the general manager of the Cubs and the red Sox. He said every 10 years, I gotta do something different. I feel kinda the same way. I think her son was 10 years. Tasty is 10 years. And now it's time to, like you've got to keep just with your developers, you always have to keep them excited about new projects and things like that.

I feel like you got to keep me excited about, the things that we're doing. We decided that we were going to do a deal with somebody and that's licensed all around the world in 17 different countries. So we can go global. And take our content, take our message, take our technology.

So we're going all through Asia. We're going through, just like I said, 17 different places. We'll be in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia. Canada Mexico. We'll be in south America, we're going to be all over the place in all throughout Europe, in the next two to three years.

And that's that's what my goal is. That's what I plan to do is just have a little fun with I'm at that age where everything I want to do. It has to be fun or I'm not doing it. 

[00:38:33] Sean: So I'm going to have some fun, 

[00:38:36] Tom: I'm going to have some fun, that's it 

[00:38:38] Amy: awesome. I hope that you get to do some traveling 

[00:38:42] Tom: soon.

That's, sometimes there's this stupid biological pandemic gets in your way, and yeah, we do an incredible amount of live events and we've been sidelined. Recently, for the last, almost year and a half over a year and a half. So we're hoping that at some point in 2022, that, we can get back on the road.

[00:39:02] Amy: Me too. And Shauna what's in your future and board, Kevin. 

[00:39:09] Sean: Yeah. So what's in our future. I think we were really excited. I'm at the seven year mark, Tom, so definitely three years away from really shaking things up. But I, but the good news is we've pretty much been a one trick pony, so to speak for the last seven years, we've really.

Building a very strong foundation around credit and one credit product in particular. I'm glad to say that we recently launched our second, what we think is going to be a catalytic product designed around entrepreneurs versus micro businesses. That's already building a ton of traction in a very short period of time.

And so we're going to go from a mono-line credit business to a multiline credit business, but hopefully in the next two to three years in that shape, The inflection point of ours, we really want to translate this multiline credit business into a platform. It's basically leverage all the learnings that we've created over the course of those seven to 10 years and package that into effectively a SAS product that we can sell into banks and other corporations that have an aligned interest of making credit more financially inclusive for all.

So that's going to be our way of shaking things up, and couldn't be more excited about that. Cool 

[00:40:25] Amy: excited to see how that goes. So Tom, where can we find you and what you're working on online? 

[00:40:31] Tom: You can find me every day. I'm on We have two sites. One is That's our financial network.

And that's all free and I'm on from seven o'clock in the morning till 10 o'clock in the morning, central time. And from two 30 to three every single day. And that's before other podcasts and stuff like that. So that's tastes straight. And then our, all our technology and everything I've been talking about is on tasty

So we have tasty trade and tasty works. Tasty trade is what I'm on, but tasty works is tasty. Trade is the parent for tasty works and a bunch of other things. 

[00:41:04] Amy: Whoa. You're online so much into podcasting, like four times a week, and I need to get on this level. Wait, do you ever run out of things to say, 

[00:41:18] Tom: yeah, we will have plenty of when we run a lots of things, say we produce eight hours of live content today, and we're about to go to 12 hours a day of live content and none of it has guests and none of it has.

So we're just, research-based live content and then there's a lot of bullshit in between, but, yeah. 

[00:41:38] Amy: Wow. That's a lot of knowledge in that brain. Okay. And Sean, where can we find you and what you're working on online?

[00:41:46] Sean: Yeah. So you can find me on most social media platforms at Sean DC. I'm most active on LinkedIn and Twitter, but I also have my own podcast called fundamental fairness, which is all about financial inclusion from the lens of entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers.

So we really dig deep into how we can make this a more financial inclusive world. So check this out. 

[00:42:08] Amy: Great. Thank you very much. And I will remind everybody that these guys are nominated for a startup of the year. So I will put the link in the show notes of this description of this episode. So you can vote for tasty trade and for cameo for a startup of the year.

And of course you are listening to the hacker noon podcast, which was produced by hacker noon, hosted by me, Amy, Tom, and edited by our lovely audio wizard. Alex, you can find us online at hacker noon on all this stuff. And yeah, I'll see you next week. Stay weird