If you missed Prosper Days – Day 1 Overview, you may find that more exciting than this account of day 2. Yesterday was a half day; I was on my way home before 2PM.
Let’s dig into the things I found noteworthy:
- Food – Once again the food stood out. Instead of the buffet lunch Prosper provided on day 1, they had a full sit-down lunch. The set up was similar to what you’d find at a wedding – with courses of salad, main dish, and desert. The salad, with dried fruit and walnuts, was great. The desert, a crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e, was also quite good. Sandwiched in between was a chicken that everyone described as rubbery.
- Keynote – The day started with a keynote by Stephen Dubner author of Freakonomics. His talk on behavioral finance seemed to strike a cord with the crowd, largely consisting of lenders.
- Prosper API panel – One of the unique things about Prosper as a company is that they make nearly all the data they have available to anyone who wants it. In fact, it’s almost too much data the information is currently around 2.5GB of information and growing daily. From a technical perspective, it was interesting to me as a software engineering to hear the challenges that various third-party developers encountered dealing with that amount of data. Aside from that, a Carnegie Mellon presentation caught my interest with their research on qualitative information from Prosper, pictures and descriptions.
- Closing Lunch – It closed with Prosper’s co-founders and biggest investor taking a few questions. They did a very impressive job answering all the tough questions that were fired their way. These questions pointed criticism on: Prosper allowing a second loan when the first isn’t paid off, Prosper seemingly moving away from groups and community (which it was at the core when it started), and the company as a whole working to profitability.
In the end, I felt the day was solid time spent, but didn’t nearly match-up with all the things that I learned in day one.
Hey Lazy Man… How many people were at the conference?
Lazy Man says
Good question Cindy. I’d roughly guess 150 or so.
150 is a fairly big number. (not sure what I was expecting.) Were there opportunities for the attendees to voice their opinion and give feedback to Prosper? If so, do you think the company listened and is taking it on board?
Lazy Man says
Every panel that they did had a part to ask questions. People asked tough questions like, “When am I going to get interest on funds that aren’t currently loaned out.” (Answer: Perhaps at some point, there’s a lot more legislation than it seems with something like that. Rather than give you 1% interest, they’d rather have a system where you bid money and they automatically bring it out of your bank account into the loan. This way you could enjoy the 3.5% that you might get at another institution.)
Yes, any reasonable suggestion they are taking. If someone voiced a question like, “I lost my money what are you going to do about it?” it was kind of glossed over for the most part (what can they do?) In the end, they know that their success lies in setting up a marketplace for borrows and lenders. They mentioned that they want to be like a stock exchange, with no bias towards one side or the other.
Interesting stuff. I will continue to keep an eye on Prosper and other similar companies. We know how stiff a credit card can get someone, and I look forward to when I can be on the lending side of that equation. Prosper may eventually be able to provide that service.