Posts Tagged ‘Geezeo’

Buh-bye, Quicken

August 16, 2008

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?”

We don’t need no stinking mobile banking!

November 23, 2007

So glad to see that everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and ignore SMS/mobile banking. Apparently Forrester research has determined that there is no significant demand for it. (Ron Shevlin, Mobile Banking Boom or Fizzle?; Lisa Hochgraf, Raining on the Mobile Banking Parade; Doug True, Mobile Banking | a Papa John option?)

Phew! I am so relieved to learn that all we have to do in regards to mobile banking is sit on our hands and watch what everyone else does. Nope, no need to be ahead of the curve on this one. Let someone else take the arrows on this, as the president of a 55,000 member credit union told me several months ago not long after I wrote what I really wanted as a banking consumer.

Gosh, and I was worried about the PFM folks like Geezeo, Wesabe, and Mint who have ALREADY built banking/text messaging features into their platforms, and what that means for credit unions. Okay, good to know that we can ignore these PFM’s explosive growth, and that we’re not missing out on an opportunity to engage those younger members we are always wondering why we aren’t connecting with.

Truly, the problem here is one of a generational gap. (Darn it Ron, you’re right, it IS all about generations! ;) ) The problem is simply this: The current generation of credit union management is not good at text messaging. They either have never done it, or haven’t done it very often, and are thus unskilled in rapid text messaging. Therefore they think that text messaging is a cumbersome communication method (it is, but there are certain things its brilliant for). They have never explored the options available in their cell phones, and don’t understand things like Quick Messages for frequently sent texts. This older generation doesn’t realize how the younger generation is using their cell phones as a central communication device.

So here’s the funny thing about credit unions contemplating offering SMS-banking: There’s nothing to predict or contemplate. PFM services like Geezeo, Mint and Wesabe are ALREADY making it possible on top of YOUR financial institution’s online banking. Don’t believe it? Just sign up on Geezeo right now and see for yourself. Signing up and using Geezeo is quick, free, and easy.

Doug and Lisa — I heart you both beaucoup, and think you are both doing fantastic things for the CU movement. But seriously, calling SMS-banking a niche with little demand is like calling online banking a niche with little demand five or six years ago. Just like personal computers were a niche with little demand in 1983. And that new-fangled television thingy was a niche with little demand in 1959. And automobiles were a niche with little demand in 1908….

Offering banking text messag… errr, nevermind.

October 19, 2007

In July, I wrote about what I would like to have as banking or credit union consumer… the ability to text message my bank or credit union with “balance” and get my current account balance sent back to my cell phone. I figured it might be one or two years before my credit union offered it. One executive of a 55,000 member credit union said he doesn’t see a need for it, his members are not asking for it. (Note to CU executive: How are you not seeing the MILLIONS of cell phones used by EVERYONE around you? Who doesn’t have a cell phone at this point?)

But now I realize that banks and credit unions are perfectly fine not offering it. Because the new generation of Personal Financial Management (PFM) sites (Wesabe, Mint, Geezeo) will do the job nicely on your credit union or bank account, bypassing the financial institution entirely. So credit unions and banks, sit back, relax, and let the new generation do it for you. No problem. I’ve already signed up on Geezeo, and I may check out Wesabe and Mint just to find out the differences between these online PFMs. It took me all of five minutes to sign up on Geezeo and verify my cell phone for text messaging balances, and I never had to leave my home. Future blog post: Why PFMs will soon rule the world. (Quicken and MS Money are now officially 15-minutes ago.)

And if you don’t think that online PFMs are going to take off and skyrocket, that’s probably what you thought about P2P lending… who would ever do that? Just look at Prosper’s growth rate… at the current rate, in one year, Prosper’s membership will make them larger than the third largest CU in the nation. And that’s in only their first 2.5 years of existence.

New BarCampBanks update

October 18, 2007

I just had a great Flashmeeting with Frederic Baud in Paris and Matt Iverson in the Bay Area. (Love the Flashmeeting interface…. good stuff.) Frederic is interested in helping Matt get BarCampBankSF off the ground, and helping me get BarCampBankNewEngland off the ground. So here’s what came out of the virtual meeting:

BarCampBankSF: Matt Iverson of BoulevardR has interest from Jason Knight of Wesabe, as well as the Mint people and Bryan Sims of Brass, in being a part of the event. That should be enough to get the ball rolling. He’s thinking about doing it on the Sunday before President’s Day, so that’s February 17. He’s looking for local Bay Area help in organizing the event and finding a venue, and he’s thinking about holding it in or around the UC Berkeley campus.

BarCampBankNewEngland: I’ve talked with Peggy Powell, the director for America’s Credit Union Museum, located in Manchester, New Hampshire, on the site of the very first CU created in the United States, and we’re looking good for holding the event there. I think it’s mahvelous that we will be discussing the current revolution in personal finance at the site where the CU revolution in personal finance was launched 99 years ago. At this point, I’m thinking April 26, 2008, and would love any input/feedback on that date for coming to New Hampshire for the event.

I’ve got interest from several parties for being a part of this event, including Ron Shevlin of Epsilon, Peter Glyman and Shawn Ward from Geezeo, and Doug Williams, and possibly Trey Reeme, and Matt Dean of Trabian. If you would like to participate, please put your name down on the BarCampBankNewEngland page.


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