I’ve held off from replying as I worry that this will turn into more of a discussion on non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) rather than packaged accounts. But as it’s come up again here are my views. In short, I’m just not sure that they (NDAs) are a sensible approach here.
This is all without knowing, for obvious reasons, what has been discussed in these calls, but:
Monzo has made a lot of its community. I remain of the view that NDAs are divisive and unhelpful to community cohesion.
Let’s assume that someone does (accidentally or otherwise) reveal information. What is Monzo going to do? Take legal action against a customer? A forum member? Or close their account? They are all super, super bad looks.
If user research is important, then do it anonymously - with an NDA if necessary*. That’d take away any of the issues on here. But if you specifically want the views of the user base, solicited from an open and public forum, then I don’t think it’s fair to couple those with NDAs. (And that’s before you get into questions around who it’s best to talk to if you’re - assumption - looking to attract non-Monzo customers)
Monzo should aim to be fleet of foot and responsive to the market. I’ve heard it said that even if Monzo open sourced their code, other banks would still struggle to keep up. I agree. The analogy is that even if competitors know what’s coming they still won’t be able to react in time. So no real need for NDAs here.
To @simonb’s points:
I understand that Monzo has been burnt a bit before by (perceived) over-promising and under-delivery. But this is using a fire hydrant to put out a tea-light. And this is not to mention the sheer cost of the exercise. Better expectation management is the key, not the law.
There is risk to anything. And to conduct user research (which is essential) you do have to take some risks. So, outside of doing it anonymously, anyone - NDA or not - could leak information to the press or to the regulator. Regulators understand that bad things happen. As long as companies take reasonable steps to protect themselves, then I can’t understand how a putative product leak would cause issues. (And, to rebut the obvious question, I don’t think an NDA is the necessary step to ensure that ‘reasonable’ steps were taken).
I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. Work it up from first principles and challenge yourselves: what, fundamentally, are you trying to achieve? How compatible is that with other parts of the company ethos? What alternatives are there? There’s lots of goodwill out there - perhaps just asking people not to talk about the detail might work?
*I’m not overly convinced that NDAs are useful for most of the things they’re rolled out for, tbh. Outside of protecting, say, major £millions-at-stake critical pieces of information which are time-bound, I think they’re hideously overused.