Doug Fritz: The Surfing CTO

If you’re on the boardwalk at the Future Proof Festival this September and can’t find Doug Fritz, founder of technology consulting firm F2 Strategy and a former wealth management chief technology officer, look out in the water. He’s probably surfing. 

 

Doug operates out of Santa Cruz, California, the other “Surf City USA,” so it’s only natural that the longboarder would draw from surfing terminology, like swell, tides, waves, wind and the impromptu “board meeting,” at various points in our conversation. He’s not the only surfer in wealth technology, but he may be one of the most eloquent when it comes to explaining the parallels between surfing and advisor technology.

 

In both worlds, it turns out, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

 

Future Proof: For people who aren’t familiar with surfing, they might look at the ocean and think, “Well, there’s a wave that hits the shore every so often, so that means that there’s surf. And it can’t be that hard to stand on a massive 9-foot platform, so I’m going to paddle out.” But there’s a lot more going on in surfing, just like there’s a lot more going on with advisor technology. How would you describe the similarities between advisor technology and surfing?

 

Doug Fritz: Let’s start with what surfing looks like from the land. You walk down to the beach and everyone’s standing around, looking at the surfers in the water. There are waves and the surfers catch one every so often. You feel like you could just jump in the water and join them. 

 

Surfing looks like this blissful thing. Surfers don’t appear to be doing a lot of thinking. They don’t appear to be doing a lot of calculation and preparation and activity. But it’s an all-encompassing activity, even if it looks like you’re just out there, stoned with your feet in the water.

 

There’s so much that actually goes on, in terms of preparation, activity, discipline and an awareness of surroundings. The best surfers have knowledge about the ocean and winds and tides and currents, the ocean floor, who’s around you and the other surfers’ abilities and what you should expect them to do versus what you are going to do.

 

FP: How does that relate to advisor technology?

 

Doug: It’s similar to the experiences that advisors have with technology. They experience technology as a consumer or a professional, which builds expectations around technology. It’s like standing on the beach. 

 

There’s a vast difference between seeing something that looks easy versus being good at it and doing it. There’s so much more depth than most people appreciate. 

 

It’s not uncommon to hear advisors or presidents of wealth management firms get really frustrated with their technology. They’ll point out that they can pick up their phone and book a reservation to Paris in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, it’ll take an hour to answer a client’s question about their money. 

 

But advisor technology is like surfing. You have to practice it, to get good at it. A lot of people just sit there, waiting for the perfect solution to drop into their lap. To make life easy. There are a lot of vendors out there convincing you digital’s easy—and they kind of all suck by the way. 

 

Digital isn’t easy. It takes discipline. You have to get your data right. You have to think about experience. About workflow. When will your client be online? What will that experience look like? What if something goes wrong?

 

It takes way longer, and way more money, to make great technology. You have to pick the things that you’re great at and make sure they’re aligned with your mission and what people expect from you. 

 

FP: The surfing analogy isn’t over yet, is it?

 

Doug: It’s not. You need to focus on what matters. It’s like the tides and swell direction. I’m a longboarder. What do I care about? I care about the tides, because the great longboard waves are going to break on reefs at low tide. They’re going to break for a longer period of time than a beach break. 

 

The beach break’s going to break no matter what. But a great longboard wave is only going to break during a certain part of the day, when the tides and swell direction are right. 

 

It’s intentionality and focus.

 

It’s a good correlation to surfing. Technology and surfing are both harder than they look. And if you focus on a couple of things, you’re really going to make your experience better.

 

FP: There could be another comparison. You describe the role of Chief Technology Officer as a lonely position. When you’re out there surfing, it’s just you, alone. Is that a fair parallel?

 

Doug: A wealth management CTO has to be really good at two things: gaining the confidence of the executive team on the business side and getting the most out of the technology. You’re trying to serve two different worlds. 

 

The best CTOs have to have a business mind, understand the wealth management industry, and also how to push vendors and negotiate contracts. 

 

You end up sitting between two worlds, which is what makes it really lonely. You’re the only one in the organization that has all that information—and all the accountability that comes with information security and making sure vendors deliver on their promises. And you’re left to translate it yourself and get that information to other people. 

 

You’re not necessarily competing against other CTOs. In fact, the CTOs that we work with are phenomenally collaborative. It’s a support group. It feels more like group therapy than anything.

 

To correlate it to surfing, when you’re out there, you’re by yourself. What happens on your watch is going to be on your shoulders. And there’s a ton of people watching. But there’s camaraderie between CTOs. It’s like a line up of CTOs. 

 

FP: I really hope you’ll find some time to catch a few waves at Future Proof.

 

Doug: We talked about that. We talked about doing a “board meeting” in the morning, where we rent some surfboards and paddle out in the morning. I’d love to do a fintech “board session.” 

 

FP: In addition to surfing, what are you looking forward to at the Future Proof Festival? 

 

Doug: It’s going to be different—not one giant commercial for a few firms. I’m excited to hear about innovation that’s actually happening. Three or four years ago, conference attendees talked about innovation as if it was this undeniable, easy-to-achieve thing that anybody can do. That got disproven quickly.

 

There are firms out there doing some really cool shit. Finally, there’s evidence that firms are growing through their use of technology. They’re making good technology decisions. I want to meet the people working in those firms. 

John Swolfs Advisor Circle

JOHN SWOLFS

John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.

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Attendee Experience

Wheel of Impact

Event attendee enjoying the prize wheel

Future Proof’s Wheel of Impact promotes the power of giving in a fun, dynamic and social way. With a donation of any size, attendees can have the ability to spin the wheel, determining where the donation will go and how it will be used. Land on the “mystery” selection and have a chance to win items, trips and other experiences.

Advisor Accelerator Lounge:
Sponsored by FP Transitions

We love some fun at Future Proof, but we know not everything can be fun and games. Stop by booth 405 for a one-on-one consultation with the FP transitions team on all things advisor related. Don’t be shy if you have questions or want to know more about any aspect of running your practice; the Advisor Accelerator has you covered.

All Access: Fitz & The Tantrums

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Join your fellow peers for an all access experience with indie pop sentation Fitz and the Tantrums. This excluisve event is a can’t miss experience for any music fan.

The Grand Unveil

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Future Proof does nothing small. Join us on Monday morning for the grand unveiling of our half-mile beachfront boardwalk complete with activations, meeting areas, multiple stages, and everything else you need to make your Future Proof experience truly one of a kind.

Investable Food Investable World:
Sponsored By Morningstar

The popularity of fine dining has exploded with the rise of celebrity chefs, Instagram, and popular TV shows. But there is more to food than pretty Instagram posts and fancy brunches. Join Morningstar and celebrity chef Charlotte Langley as she explores and educates us on the value of sustainable food. Located on the Surf City Stage, pre-registration is required.

 

https://go.morningstar.com/InvestableWorldChefsforImpact

The Observation Deck At Future Proof: Sponsored by Vanguard

Climb up to the top of Vanguard’s observation deck and take in the aerial view of the Future Proof Boardwalk. The observation deck is not the only thing you will find at booth 1108, stop by the lounge to take a meeting or spend some time with Vanguard’s team and learn more about the value of ownership.

The Hydration Station: Sponsored By
State Street Global Advisors

We have all been to countless industry events and seen hundreds of half-drank water bottles left just about everywhere people sit down to connect. Future Proof is doing away with the plastic bottle altogether. In partnership with SSGA, we are giving every attendee an insulated reusable water bottle that can be refilled at our hydration station. Visit the Hydration Station next to the Hyatt footbridge to refill and reuse.

Looking Good with LinkedIn:
In Partnership with LinkedIn

Are you like the rest of us and cringe at your headshot? Cringe no more. We have partnered with LinkedIn to create a professional headshot studio. Stop by booth 302 to get your next favorite profile photo and don’t forget to enter into the free premium membership draw.

The Tiki Hut at Future Proof:
Sponsored by Logicly

One of the best things about attending the Future Proof festival is all the different settings and venues to connect and network with peers and colleagues. Logicly’s Tiki Hut is a must-see, serving up vacation vibes and craft cocktails for you to sit back, soak up the scene as you relax, and take a moment to chat with your friends at booth 307

The Wall of Influence: Sponsored by Motley Fool Asset Management

If you don’t post to social media, did you really attend Future Proof? Bust out your phone and snap a selfie or group shot in front of the Motley Fool ETFs Wall of Influence and let the community know you the world’s first wealth festival #FutureProofAC

Morning Meditation with Mona:
Sponsored by VRGL

We could all use a little peace and quiet in our lives. Join renowned mediation expert Mona Sharma for a guided meditation and breathwork session to train the mind and body to optimize health and happiness. Join us on Tuesday morning at the Surf City Stage to start your day peacefully. *RSVP is not required; however, those that RSVP will be entered to win a giveaway.

 

Link to RSVP: www.vrglwealth.com/futureproof-2022

Social Audio Experiment: Bloomberg Sports Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

The world of sports is more than just the games. In this unique session, Bloomberg Chief Corresponded Jason Kelly hosts financial advisorJoe Mclean and his superstar sports clients for an in-depth look at the changing world of sports and why more athletes are embracing investing and building wealth beyond the court.

Silent Disco: Sponsored by USCF

What is the old saying, dance as if no one is watching? That could not be more true at Future Proof. Relax and lose yourself as you vibe out at the silent disco. Located at booth 402, USCF provides the tunes, and you provide the grooves.

The Future Proof Mural: Sponsored by GTS

No festival is complete without an art exhibit. Future Proof is no different. Watch as Future Proof artist Tony Concep’ genius brings the living mural to life over the 3-day festival. Be sure to stop by booth 400 and tell Tony and Reggie how much you appreciate the art.

RIA Executive Leaders Reception

Monday, September 12, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT
Pasea Hotel & Spa

Join 30+ executives from the country’s top-ranked RIA firms for a VIP evening reception.


If you are an executive leader (or owner) of a fast-growing RIA firm and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.

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"Future Proof Closing Night Concert" to become "Future Proof Music Festival"

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 4:30-10:00pm PT
The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

The Future Proof Festival experience roles on as we host our annual music festival. This year’s lineup features an array of artists and musicians covering everything from rock classics to hip hop. Come early and stay late sampling the numerous food trucks and bars. Don’t miss headliners rap legend Big Boi and indie pop sensation Fitz and the Tantrums showcase their talents.* * admission is included with your Future Proof Pass.

"Future Proof Beach Bash" to become "Future Proof Festival Kickoff Party"

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort

Relax and unwind as you connect with the Future Proof community, as you enjoy and evening of tasty bites, and delicious cocktails as celebrity DJ, DJ Mick sets the vibe as the sunsets on the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

All Access: Big Boi

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Future Proof is all about experiences. Rub shoulders with Big Boi in this invite-only meet & greet in the Future Proof green room.

Social Audio Experiment:
Invest Like the Best Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Recgonized as one of if not the most influential podcasts Invest Like the Best records live from Future Proof. Join host Patrick O’Shanunessy and his guest for indepth look at the markets, investing and the world of business.

PCH Stage

Event attendees listening to a panel discussion

The Pacific Highway stage is the most versatile stage at Future Proof. With countless setup options, the PCH Stage is your go-to spot for industry insight and innovation, all while staying current with the latest trends in money, culture, tech and impact.

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Ocean Stage

Concert happening on Huntington Beach

As the beating heart of the boardwalk, the Ocean stage will feature seating for over 500 and have the look and feel of a concert venue on the beach. The ocean stage will host a range of exciting content from industry-changing keynotes to the closing concert featuring today’s biggest musical acts.

Social Audio Experiment

Small crowd listening to performer sing

Podcasts are all the rage, as they excite and entertain audiences from afar. Future Proof changes the game, as we invite your favorite podcasters to host their shows live from the festival. Forget passive listening. Future Proof’s Live Podcast sessions allow you to interact directly with your favorite podcast creators as they record live episodes just feet from the Pacific Ocean.

Attendee Concierge: Hosted by Future Proof

You’ve got questions and e we have a dedicated team of helpful staff walking the grounds, and an attendee concierge desk stationed on the boardwalk to help get you answers. Don’t be shy. We are happy to help.

Street Art Meets Street Skate: Sponsored By Morningstar

Perhaps no sport combines art, culture, and athletics more than skateboarding. These all collide at booth 102, where you can watch street artists design custom skateboard decks. Check in with the team from Morningstar, and you might find yourself taking one home.

Coffee Done Right: Sponsored by Morningstar

We all know coffee is the fuel that helps us survive the day, and we all know there is nothing worse than stale coffee in a hotel banquet room that has sat for hours. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee throughout the day at any of our high-end coffee carts located throughout the Boardwalk.

FEMALE ADVISOR NETWORK HAPPY HOUR

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Ready to mingle with fellow female financial advisors? The Female Advisor Network Happy Hour is where you’ll want to be!

 

Held at X BAR, this is a great opportunity to network with other women during Future Proof.

Investopedia Top 100 Financial Advisor Reception

Monday, September 12, 2022 5:00-7:00pm PT
HYATT REGENCY CALIFORNIA COURTYARD

Future Proof brings together the best and brightest advisors from across the country. This invite-only exclusive event allows the Investopedia Top 100 advisors to reconnect, share insights and celebrate their achievement of being named to this prestigious list.

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ONYX Advisor Network Meet Up

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Media-Only Networking Reception

Sunday, September 11, 20226:00-8:00pm PT
Monday, September 12, 20226:00-8:00pm PT

Join 25+ key financial media, industry reporters, and other press for a media-only evening reception.


If you are a member of the press and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.

As a member of the press, you will have the opportunity to RSVP for both receptions on Sunday and Monday.

Social Audio Experiment: Bloomberg's Masters in Business Live

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Hear podcast legend and host of Masters In Business Barry Ritholtz for a can’t miss live recording of the most influential podcast covering the world of business.

Advisor Networking Dinners

Sunday, September 11, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT Monday, September 12, 2022 6:00-8:00pm PT

Maximize your time at Future Proof by participating in a 10-person advisor networking dinner organized by us and industry partners. Held at popular downtown Huntington Beach restaurants, our organized Advisor Networking Dinners will provide you with a one-of-a-kind culinary experience while making new friends and catching up with old ones. Space is extremely limited. Must RSVP.

Health is Wealth: HIIT

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Just because you are away from home it does not mean you need to miss your workout. Start each day with a HIIT beach workout hosted by the Future Proof communities Jess Bost. * space is limited, preregisteration required

Health is Wealth: Yoga

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Future Proof puts a value on your health and ability to decompress from the grind of festival life. Begin your day with a focus on centering body and mind for a day of meetings, networking, and more.

Health is Wealth: Meditation

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Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Set the tone for each day as you take the time to relax your mind, center your thoughts and prepare yourself for the day ahead.

Health is Wealth: Surf Lessons

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We are in Surf City U.S.A – of course we are going to have surf lessions. Whether you are catching barrels are just learning to stand come out be part of the community and tick learning to surf off your bucket list.

Storyteller Series: This Is Not Financial Advice

Sunday, September 11, 2022 6:00-6:30pm PT
The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Investing has become mainstream and nowhere is this better encompassed than in the new documentary film This is Not Financial Advice. Join us as we invite the cast and crew for an open conversation on the mindset of today’s investors, and take a closer look at investing as a cultural phenomenon and show clips from the movie.

FintechX Demo Drop

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Social Audio Experiment:
EYL Presents Market Mondays

The Future Proof Boardwalk (Outdoor Event Space)

Cultural icons and financial influencers Earn Your Lesuire host their wildly popular Market Mondays Show live from the Future Proof stage. This can’t miss sessions ties together market events and education to help investors be better invested.