Future Proof: The Buzz That Drives The "Breakthru" Business

Wealth management is one of the talking businesses. Whether you talk about the market, your clients' goals or how the two fields fit together, delivering advice revolves around communication. 

That's why people are talking themselves hoarse at Future Proof. Put that many industry perspectives in close proximity and take away most of the screens and the ideas are going to flow pretty fierce.

I talked all day yesterday, getting the latest from established legends (Joe Duran's new thing), up-and-coming innovators and all points in between. There's literally too much footage to get in front of you right away . . . and besides, you know everyone's compliance and messaging teams will want a window to make sure everything that hits the screen is on on brand.

It's liberating. Sometimes you need to just open your mouth and ask questions, get the small talk flowing, build relationships. After a few years of scheduled and choreographed Zoom meetings, there's a big difference.

Zoom is great. It kept us going and remains extremely relevant when you simply can't link up for unstructured time. But it's often structured. You schedule it, adjust your camera, stare at the screen.

It's a way to share your screen, which often means homework as well as a conversation. It's taped in front of a live studio audience, so to speak.

And again, that's great. But the unstructured flow is where a lot of ideas emerge. Spontaneity. Accidents. That's what happens on the beach where there aren't a lot of laptops open, wifi is precious and battery is a ticking clock.

A crowd of communicators opens a lot of mouths and a lot of ears. You can hear all those mouths in the Breakthru pavilion on the exact opposite side of the venue from the main stage.

If you've ever been to an industry conference, you know how the main stage works. Someone up there captures everybody's attention. Information and insight get communicated down to the crowd.

Sometimes the microphone gets passed around and someone in the crowd gets elevated for a moment to ask a question. But it's really about the broadcast. We stay quiet because we have manners. We react in private, take our ideas away with us.

Maybe we share the ideas, maybe not. Anyway, the Breakthru side takes a different approach. Rows of tables like a gigantic family picnic or outdoor wedding reception. 

Two or three people at each table. All talking about whatever they're talking about. Add them all together and from the outside it's just a lot of noise.

That's fine. We're not at every table. Talk to the table you're with. That's where you are in the business right now.


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