Personal Financial Management sites (PFMs), Wesabe, Mint, Geezeo, Buxfer, Expensr, NetWorthIQ, Jawaala, etc., got a boost in this month’s issue of Fast Company magazine. In a hilarious editorial by Steve Johnson, Quicken is given a gentle let-down as Steve declares his break-up with the software package. Quicken has been straining the relationship for too long, always demanding to be upgraded, always saying that spending the additional money is done in the name of what he “really” wants, but without actually listening to hapless Steve. Steve is not breaking up because the younger, sexier PFMs “all seem to understand the real me”, but because they just don’t click like they used to.
Many ages ago (in the late 90s), futurists predicted the end of desktop software, and envisioned all services delivered straight over the web via the universal platform/operating system known as the browser. I had trouble believing or understanding that model especially because the web is so agonizingly slow. Whether or not that vision comes to pass, software without at least some online/connected component is a thing of the past.
PFMs have moved from interesting novelty to hundreds of thousands of users. Today, the back page of Fast Company magazine, soon, it will be mainstream media. The important question to ask is not “how many people are using it today?”, but rather, “how soon will it be before word spreads and everyone does it this way?”