Moving Industry: Publishing Fintech vs Working Fintech

Dhanum Nursigadoo
5min read

James Safford is a name you might not be familiar with from the 11:FS team. He’s starred in a couple of our shows with brilliant insights on what’s going on in the fintech space. James is a Market Research Analyst working on the 11:FS Pulse platform delivering insights into customer journeys globally.

I took a moment to sit down with James and talk to him about how things differ working in fintech compared to publishing, and why he moved into the space after deciding against a lifelong dream.

Most of James’ day is spent focusing on 11:FS Pulse and making sure every customer journey is properly represented, analysing streams of content, and writing in-depth research. But prior to joining us at 11:FS 9 months ago James was working as Editorial Assistant in academic publishing, writing on fintech and economics.

Changing Faces

Fintech is a relatively new industry by academic standards. So it mainly consists of applying traditional and established models of economic analysis to fintech outcomes. The wisdom of that in the face of a new approach to finance remains to be seen, but what it meant for James more than anything else is he was on the outside of the industry looking in. Working for a renowned academic publishing house, while enjoyable, wasn’t quite what James expected. Much like our Sarah Kocianski, he found himself wanting more from his career and wanting a more involved role in the finance industry.
I get to see the real ambition and passion that drives people in fintech - James Safford
Part of that desire to shift into the finance industry comes from the changing face of finance. In the wake of the financial crisis it was was easy to deride finance as a sheltered industry and all financial institutions as self-interested and bonus-focused. But the advent of fintech in its most modern form saw the rise of a new type of financial institution, focused on being more inclusive and more human. The financial crisis appeared to directly cause the fintech movement as a people-focused approach to finance.

Product not Legislation

Speaking of humanity in finance, the number of beneficiaries of financial movements has increased, or at least visibility on those beneficiaries has increased. That’s another reason why James moved in to fintech from publishing. Now there’s an industry-wide shift to creating product that matters to people. Since joining 11:FS James has been able to learn how product actually affects the world, rather than focusing on financial legislation. While academic publishing does take a laser focused look at fintech, it’s more concerned with the legislation around it that forms the financial ecosystem. Now, working in fintech, James has been able to learn the real-time application of what legislation creates and how fintechs react to it.

On the Pulse

Variety is the spice of life, and it's no different for James. The prospect of publishing in one medium indefinitely wasn’t the most appealing. Since joining 11:FS Pulse James has been able to publish in multiple forms of media. Video, audio, and text. He’s even writing a research report for the platform in the very near future. Rather than using traditional economic analysis models to understand fintech, James is able to employ useability heuristics, explaining why people use stuff, to analyse customer journeys and discover the value users gain from using certain products. James left a career in publishing, something he had dreamed of for years, to get stuck in to the realities of fintech; a global industry where lessons are being learned in places like China then being applied halfway around the world. It’s more exciting to do than watch. If you’re bored of watching fintech from the sidelines and want to get stuck in then get in touch at or find our careers page. You can discover James’ content on 11:FS Pulse and keep an eye out for research coming from him very soon.