One day back when I was in school, I was walking to the library and saw a couple of students sitting behind a portable desk. They smiled and asked nicely if I would like a cookie. I said no without even thinking. I’m not accustomed to eating food given to me by strangers, so I didn’t even consider the offer. They looked a bit disappointed for a second and then asked someone behind me if he wanted a cookie and that person said yes. Walked up to them and got a free homemade cookie and walked on.
A moment later something happened – my brain processed that the sign in front of their folding desk said “Random Acts of Kindness Club.” “Damn!” I thought. “I could have had a free cookie.” I like to think now, looking back on it, I didn’t go back for the cookie because I was late for an important meeting (although I can’t remember any meetings that were all that important back then) or I had to an urgent need to study (also highly unlikely). One thing I do know is that event has stuck with me for years and I’ve thought a lot about free cookies and the people who give them away.
Here’s the thing – I bet the best cookies you ever had you were given for free, and I’m not talking about the ones that someone bought and gave to you – I mean the ones your friend baked and shared with you. I can’t think of one store-bought cookie that calls to me, but I remember ginger cookies that were baked by a neighbor when I was young that I still wish I could taste again. My co-founder, Marc, by the way makes great cookies.
I mention this because a couple of days ago a woman called into “Talk to Jason” to find out some information about Wesabe. And then she did something unusual – she conferenced in her husband. Couples sharing the responsibility of personal finance is in my experience (five months of phone calls) a very rare, and in my estimation, a very good thing. We talked about the benefits of the service, and our security and privacy model (things were going well) and then I mentioned that you could get tips from other users…and they very quickly lost interest – they clearly didn’t want to get tips from other people. They didn’t know or trust the source of the tips and were afraid they might be misled. While I respect their caution and desire to make good financial decisions, I also felt a bit like the person with a box full of free cookies…and someone walks past without even looking. “Hey,” I wanted to yell into the phone, “Our cookies are good…you should try them!”
Tips on Wesabe are peer-reviewed. Our top 10 tips have an average of 10 comments each. Much like a cookie, I can just look at a tip and tell whether it is good or not…or at least good for me. And thanks to our members, there are a whole lot of good, free cookies on our site.