Witnessing the Creation of a New Asset Class
[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Gordon Suber, the father of Ron Suber, soon to be President Emeritus of Prosper.]
I don’t have center court seats at Madison Square Garden, nor 50 yard line tickets. I did, however, have a once-in-a-lifetime front row seat to the creation of a new industry.
I am Gordon Suber, Ron Suber’s father.
Like many, I heard of the nascent peer-to-peer industry in 2012. It was explained, it was demonstrated, I read all about it. Like others, I had concern and suspicion that it wasn’t real, was perhaps a Ponzi scheme or just a fad. Nevertheless, I opened accounts at a couple of platforms to try it myself.
At the then new food court in the basement of the Plaza Hotel, l met young Matt Burton and listened to the platform that he was proposing to start soon; I read Lend Academy to stay up with news. I attended numerous Lendit conferences, meet-ups and other industry gatherings.
As we now know, peer-to-peer is a multibillion dollar global phenomenon that has become a new asset class for people and institutions around the world. I congratulate the pioneers for their passion, commitment and investing time and money to make it all happen.
In early 2013, after observing the rapid growth and increasing buzz, I said to Ron, “If there is sustained growth as you anticipate, first will come the lobbyists telling you why you need to hire them, then will come the regulators from the federal government and states in which you are doing business, and then the politicians themselves, through their representatives, seeking involvement. Get ready for the headwinds!”
Sure enough, the headwinds came from all directions in 2016, costing most of the platforms a reduction in value. Then I witnessed the industry come together, regroup, improve and thrive once again.
At 77 years of age, I leave you in the industry with this wisdom from Billie Jean King:
“There are those who think life is a marathon. I don’t agree. I think life is a series of sprints. You get to start over and over and over again, always adapting to the long and winding road in front of you. Along the way, you’ll have failures but if you choose to see these failures as feedback, it will help you plan your next step. When I used to play…. the ball would be coming to me. Each ball is a new opportunity. I have to make a decision so I have to take responsibility, and I have to decide if I’m going to hit it. If I hit it and the ball goes wide, I take that information, I enter that in my computer in my brain and I’m ready for the next shot. I get that same shot to make a correction…you think of it as feedback, not failure.”
Ron would concur, I think.
Often he would speak about the “new opportunity” when he encountered a pothole in the road or his competition had changed their serve. Sometimes he would even ask my advice. I would say to follow Yogi Berra’s advice: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Good luck handling the next serve, the next opportunity and adapting to the long, winding and exciting road ahead.
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