.: on the frontiers of venturing and venture investing :.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The beauty of good online services --- unfolding.

I've been actively trying different online services and tools lately, one of which is www.wesabe.com. It was a particularly interesting test for me as it deals with personal financial data (for most people one the most sensitive data streams) and I've been a long-time user of Microsoft Money.

At first I found it interesting but it was an effort to use it. Well... they just launched a firefox browser extension which makes my uploads even easier than they were with the version of Money I was using.

So... what does this have to do with unfolding? Well this is a great example of a company that has been very actively engaging and asking their community 'how can we make wesabe better'. Well this was one of the highest priorities and so here it is.

What's fascinating too is that they can handle any bank and if they can't they'll add it as soon as you ask. Tremendous responsiveness.

More... the basis of the site which was the wisdom of the collective of users means that there are suggested tags for pretty much every transaction popping up in my transaction histories... and those confusing transaction names on the bank records... well they are sorting themselves out more and more as people translate them for themselves.

All this means the tool gets easier and smarter all the time. And this only cracks the surface... they've published an API... and I haven't even begun to get the possibilities of leveraging the community wisdom through this tool.

By basing their business and service on this community participation/wisdom model is going to have incredible strengths going forward. I don't think any of the traditional financial software companies are going to be able to compete (at least not with the growing audience that is embracing online services).

Now I'm just waiting for their small business service to open up!