Leda Writes for Fintech Futures: the Messy Middle Manifesto

Dr Leda Glyptis 11:FS Foundry CEO
5min read

Every Thursday, Leda Glyptis, CEO of 11:FS Foundry creates #LedaWrites. This week she turns her thoughts, and thanks, to those in the Messy Middle.

This is a love letter. To the Messy Middle.

And those who know it for what it is, and stay with it anyway.

To those who have toiled and sweated, feared and at times despaired.

Those who had the vision and made it to the finish line without jumping to the next shiny thing or passing the thing, whatever it is, to the guy next to them. Those who stuck with the team and the work through the Messy Middle that looms inconspicuous and yet treacherous between the pristine start and the photo finish.

They know. They know the middle is messy.

One of my guys, a brilliant, intelligent human being, once said: “Well this is it, the Messy Middle, we are here. Anyone who has ever built anything knows this. And anyone who hasn’t doesn’t”.


It’s where the beginning of it all seems naive and so far away and the end implausibly distant

The Messy Middle is messy, what else is there to say. Life is lumpy, to paraphrase Robert Fulgrum, and the middle is the lumpiest bit.

It’s where the beginning of it all seems naive and so far away and the end implausibly distant.

The builders know that moment when the process of building itself separates the wheat from the chaff. The Messy Middle. When it gets hard. And it gets real.

Real life is amazing. But you may not even notice it happening in the chaos of keeping the Messy Middle going.

There is power in the telling.

When you are in the messy, noisy, chaotic middle, there are those who can still say, “can we take a moment?”

So the impact of turning the Messy Middle into a relatable storyline? That is not nothing.

The ability to say: “Hold up guys, this thing you just did? That is your own special version of heroism and magic”.

The storyteller finds the tale in the Messy Middle, where nothing dramatic happens. Where all the drama happens.

If you are a techie, particularly in finserv, find yourself a team that loves the unsexy stuff

To the plumbers, above all, to the plumbers, I love you the most.

If you are a techie, particularly in finserv, find yourself a team that loves the unsexy stuff. The middle of the stack. The middle of the road. The middle of the human journey.

They think about accessible loans, affordable mortgages and non-predatory pensions. About democratising financial services.

They are the true heroes of the Messy Middle, where everything that ever mattered takes place. Where everything that makes a difference happens. Where life, change and creation happen. Where products are built. Where dreams meet their match and come kicking, screaming, dented and bruised into existence. It’s where life happens: in the Messy Middle.

This is for you. My team. My tribe. The dreamers. The builders. Who make change happen where it matters the most: where it is hard and invisible.

And tell each other’s story. And love the unsexy stuff that makes people’s lives better.

Everything that matters happens because of you and people like you who stick it through the Messy Middle. Where everything that matters happens. Where everything that happens matters. Because of and thanks to you.

Read the whole story at Fintech Futures.

We are 11:FS

We believe digital financial services are 1% finished. We’re building the next 99%.

What we do

11:FS builds next-generation propositions for challengers in the financial services industry: existing firms looking to innovate, start-ups looking to scale, and everyone in between.