Archive for  January 2019

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After three decades working for large banks such as Barclays, Harry Harrison is blazing his own trail as the Founder and President of Anthemis Group. Starting his own digital financial services investment and advisory firm wasn’t easy as Mr. Harrison also had to find time to be a husband and father of two children. Recently, Mr. Harrison sat down with Ideamench to talk about a range of subjects, ranging from idea generation to collaboration, business trends and personal growth.

Early on in the interview, Harry Harrison asked about the genesis of his company. Mr. Harrison talked about his education at Cambridge University and his subsequent three decade career working for large banks such as Barclays. Mr. Harrison mentioned that it is curiosity that is his main driving force. And curiosity has driven Mr. Harrison to see if he could create his own digital financial services investment and advisory firm.

When asked about his typical day, Mr. Harrison answered that he really doesn’t have a set schedule. As an entrepreneur and financial services business founder, Mr. Harrison finds new challenges on a daily basis. Instead of having a fixed schedule, Mr. Harrison tries to find a balance between running his firm and being a husband and father. This type of work/life balance was a challenge when Mr. Harrison worked at Barclays. Now, that is running his own firm, Mr. Harrison is able to be more flexible with his time without compromising productivity.

When asked about how he brought his ideas to life, Mr. Harrison mentioned that it was a combination of diversity of thinking, humility in goal setting and intense collaboration that helps him execute ideas close to his vision. Using these combination of approaches, Mr. Harrison is able to motivate and guide his team to help bring big ideas to life.

Finally, Mr. Harrison was asked about what software or web service he likes to use to remain productive. The Anthemis Group Founder and President mentioned that Waze has been an invaluable addition to his life. The navigation app uses crowdsourcing information to help Mr. Harrison navigate through busy traffic and save valuable time to get to his job, make an appointment or get home to his family.

While traditional bookstores around the world are currently facing challenges as a result of declining sales and traffic, bookstores in China are experiencing a revival, which is credited to one of the biggest e-commerce platform in the country, JD.com. The platform has its own online book venture, but they are also providing help to 49 bookstores as far as logistics, book procurement, as well as technology. Providing solutions to book stores around China is part of JD.com’s strategy entitled “Retail as a Service”, under which they provide various services and necessary technology to companies from different industries.

The founder of Tangning Bookstore, Ningxin Lu talked about the partnership between JD.com and Tangning, stating that without the help of their technology as well as supply chain expertise, Tangning business would not have competitive advantage as far as the traditional mode is concerned. One significant partnership that resulted from the RaaS strategy has been between JD.com and Tangning Books. The two companies partnered in May of 2017, and they sourced all the books using JD’s inventory, and using the e-commerce platform’s in-house logistics ended up saving costs and also cutting on delivery delays.

As a result of the partnership, Tangning experienced an increase in sales of 30% from May to the end of the year, and its profits also increased by 17% over that period. Tangning Books was also able to reduce turnover from one year to 220 days, and having access to JD.com’s data analysis capabilities, Tangning now has insight about buying behaviors, and they are able to choose book assortments that are tailored to the company’s customer base, which in turn leads to more sales. While offline book stores have to deal with the fact that they can not stock every book that their customers might as for due to the limited space they have available, Tangning Books can now let customers scan QR codes for every book that they can not find in store, and they can get it delivered within 24h from the inventory of JD.com instead. This allows both companies to work together in order to create an endless aisle when it comes to the choices they offer their customers.