Archive for February, 2008

Wheaties bookmarks for February 28th

February 28, 2008

Good reading for February 28th:

Wheaties bookmarks for February 12th

February 12, 2008

Good reading for February 12th:

Welcome, Nate!

February 8, 2008

Wesabe has had a huge influx of new members over the past few months, each month bringing more (and more and more!) than the last. It’s been great, and we love seeing the site bring so many people together, but we haven’t been able to get back to people with support requests as quickly as we, or you, would like.

As a result, I’m especially happy to welcome Nate to Wesabe, joining us as a member advocate. He’ll be replying to support emails and Groups posts along with Paul and the rest of the Wesabe development group. Welcome, Nate!

Nate

As always, we are hiring, and we’re very interested in developers, designers, systems administrators, security engineers, and community advocates who find what we’re doing compelling. You can read more about our development approach here, our privacy approach here, and the main reason this is a great place to work here. If you’d like to join us and help make Wesabe better, drop us a line at “oneofus at wesabe dot com” and tell us what one thing you most want to change about the site, and why you’re the right person to make that change. We’d love to hear from you.

Introducing fully automatic uploads

February 6, 2008

About a year ago, we got a request from a Wesabe user that asked,

Hey, Wesabe is great, and your Uploader is one of the main reasons I joined — asking me to put my bank password into some new web site in order to even try it would have been nuts. But now I’ve been using it for a while, and I trust you. Do you plan to make some way for me to use Wesabe and get automatic updates without having to run the Uploader all the time?

(Another Wesabean was more blunt: “I’m glad you didn’t ask for my passwords on the first date. But now that we’ve been going out for a while….” — well, you get the idea.)

Over the year, we’ve heard the same thing from many people. They started with Wesabe because they believe we care a huge amount about securing their data (and we do). They liked that we provided choices for making their uploads automatic. But after a while, they had come to trust us and believe in our mission, and now they wanted something more convenient from us.

Today, we’re answering that request. We’ve just launched an invitation-only preview to our “Automatic Uploader,” which provides fully automatic updates to your Wesabe accounts, and which does not require you to install any software or downloads from us. If you’re interested in giving it a try, head over to preview.wesabe.com and sign up for an invitation. Today we support fully automatic updates for more than 75% of the accounts on our site, and we plan to launch with about 90% — and since we support more banks and credit cards than other sites, that adds up to a great level of coverage. We’re rolling this out a bit at a time to allow us to scale it up smoothly, and to work out any errors downloading accounts before a general launch.

screenshot

We believe that it is a huge strength of Wesabe that we offer you choices about how you want to manage your data, and control over your data — moreso than any other company. As part of that, we are continuing to support our Desktop, Firefox, and Manual Uploaders, which give you this benefit, and we will continue to support them as long as people ask us to. But we also want to be the most convenient site, and to do that, we think this is a great step.

In the process of building the Automatic Uploader, we’ve done a bunch of interesting and, we think, innovative security work to make our setup for this as good as it can be — extending our “Super Ninja Privacy Techniques” to this part of the application, too. I’ve written before about why we think that outsourcing data upload to third party companies is terrible for users, and prevents us from giving you the control over your data that we think is critical. This is a great example of what owning the whole process allows us to do: pass on our security benefits to you and make sure we don’t give up any control for you. We’re going to be publishing the methods we’ve developed to make this work once the feature goes into general release.

I’m excited about this launch. We believe in removing any barrier to Wesabe being the best, easiest to use, and most helpful site out there, and I think today we’ve taken another big step out ahead of that. Head over to preview.wesabe.com and let us know what you think.

HSBC Direct falling fast…

February 4, 2008

I opened an HSBC Direct savings account with a 4.50% APR interest rate about a month ago. On January 29th, I got an email from HSBC Direct announcing an interest rate change for my account:

We are writing to inform you that based on the recent drop by the Federal Reserve, HSBC Direct has adjusted your Online Savings Account rate to 3.80% APY. At 8x the national savings average, you are still earning one of America’s highest savings rates.

Today, I got another email:

We are writing to inform you that based on the recent drop by the Federal Reserve, HSBC Direct has adjusted your Online Savings Account rate to 3.55% APY. At 8x the national savings average, you are still earning one of America’s highest savings rates.

Oof! Nearly a full point drop — and I just opened the account a month ago.

Looks like ING Direct is advertising 3.40%, and Emigrant Direct is still up at 4.05%. Wonder how long that will last…

Budgeting with Wesabe and Excel

February 4, 2008

Wesabean Tommy Vernieri has created an excellent Google Code project, providing an Excel spreadsheet that lets you download your transactions from Wesabe and create a budget for them. He calls it Budgeting for Wesabe using Excel, and it’s a neat piece of work. Tommy’s spreadsheet uses the Wesabe API to fetch your transactions, and then lays them out to make budgeting easy. He’s also provided tools for updating your transactions in the spreadsheet.

Budgeting with Excel

You don’t have to know anything but your Wesabe credentials to use the spreadsheet, but if you’re a VBScript programmer, he also provides a set of methods for interacting with the Wesabe API. These would be great for building your own spreadsheet using the API.

Thanks much for building this great project, Tommy, and for sharing it with us!

P.S.: Tommy is a wine fan and wanted to let people know that, “If you’ve never watched Wine Library TV <http://winelibrarytv.com> you should check it out, it’s a lot of fun. The 400th episode is running on Monday…”

(Note: Wesabe does not endorse or review any third-party API clients — use at your own risk.)

Wesabe events this week

February 4, 2008

Jason and I are speaking at a couple of great events this week.

Money:TechTomorrow (Monday), I’m speaking at the “Customer Service is the New Marketing” summit, hosted by our friends at Get Satisfaction. We love love love the Satisfaction site and I’m thrilled to be speaking at the conference. I’ll be moderating a panel called “Scaling Customer Service” with Heather Champ, Community Manager from Flickr, Frederick Mendler, Vice President, Fanatical Support from Rackspace, Pratap Penumalli, Consumer Operations Manager from Google, and Ross Mayfield, Founder and President from Socialtext. It should be a great event.

Wednesday, Jason is speaking at the Money:Tech conference in New York. He’ll be presenting an overview of the personal finance space and how Wesabe and its competitors are reshaping a long-established market. We also have a special surprise lined up for the conference, which I think many of you will like a great deal.

If you’re attending either event, please come up and introduce yourself, and tell us the one thing we could improve about Wesabe that would make it better for you. Hope to see you there.