By now most people who have read this blog know about Mt. Lehman Credit Union’s MemberNote product. We have been working on the newest version of MemberNote (MemberNote3) for these past months and realized last week that April 15, 2004 was the day we launched the first version. It does seem like it was only yesterday for all of us here.
What have we learned by being the first to deliver real-time alerts?
That above all, the members use and appreciate what we have done. Time and time again we hear the stories of how they have used this and how it has helped them. Going into building this, we had this as the key reason for doing all of this work. If it was something of value to the end user then it would be worth it. We don’t charge anything for this which we believe is important.
That being first to market with something puts you into a whole new realm. (I think Tim can speak more to this). There hasn’t been any competition so there is nothing to compete against it. The product really stands alone right now. We had hoped that others would have been to market by now and that ideas and enhancements would have been added and pushed this type of service to a higher level. But that hasn’t been the case and in some ways it is disappointing. Probably the biggest disappointment is that because we are so small the drum we beat isn’t heard by others. That is the cost of being small. It has been interesting to view what the ‘experts’ say about alert messaging. They certainly have their views and we are sometimes amazed as to how they come to their particular conclusions. So often what they opinion is not what we see after 5 years of experience. But then they have the bigger drum.
The crux of all of this though is that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Forget about listening to the ‘doubting Thomas’s’. Don’t pay any attention to all of that outside ‘noise’ that keeps telling you that only the big players with their vast resource bases can accomplish what is necessary. These last few months of economic turmoil have told us much about what that eventually can lead to. Is there anything so insidious as the remark ‘too big to fail’? There has to be a balance for sure. To be creative and innovative is not for the weak hearted. You have to believe what you can accomplish and not look back. You will fail and you will fall but that should not stop you from arriving at what think should be done. This small group of employees at this small credit union have accomplished some incredible things. What does the future hold? We don’t know but are working on a few items so stay tuned. Probably never as big as this but what the heck. As Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870), the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy at the time of the American Civil War said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”