Monday, June 13, 2016

Going all Steph Curry on mobile money

Practice makes perfect.

Why is Steph Curry so great at basketball?

(Hint: it’s not his cool , new shoes)

Sure, he’s probably got some natural talent.  But a big reason for his success is that he practices all the time.  He shoots, and shoots, and shoots.  And that’s what makes him comfortable taking crazy shots, and good enough to make them, when it counts.

It took me several months of visits to the homes of rural women before I realized that I was asking the wrong questions about mobile money.  I noticed a pattern: even when women registered for accounts and had them on their phone, they usually relied on an agent, husband, or son/daughter to conduct the transactions for them.  What would it take to get women to the point where they would start doing the transactions themselves?  I kept asking them, “why don’t you use mobile money yourself?” and they would say, “I can’t,”  or, “I don’t understand it.”

Recently, I came up with a new question to ask: “Have you ever tried to use mobile money?  As in, dialed #247* to bring up the bKash menu on your phone?”  “No.”

Big insight – this response was different from “I can’t.”  This meant: “I’ve never done it.”  And meant that we’d been trying to solve for x when we needed to solve for y.

To help women master mobile money, we need to convince them (the first hurdle would be getting them) to go through the motions once.  Then again.  And again.  First perhaps just to practice, but then to complete small transactions, like buying more airtime, that they do frequently.

The hardest step on the path to mastery is trying something for the first time.

Without constant practice, they can’t get comfortable with the technology and they’ll never develop the confidence to use it.

Kind of like how Steph Curry didn't just walk onto the court and just start making great shots.

There is quite a gap between knowing how to do something theoretically and doing it well –otherwise, anyone who took basic physics could be an NBA star.  You can teach someone how to make a three-pointer, but they need to practice their shooting, a lot, before being able to shoot three-pointers well.   Applying this approach to financial education could really accelerate the number of women who become mobile money superstars (like this woman).