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.”
As we spoke at BarCampBankDallas it became apparent that this new device will offer some solutions to problems we have had in the past. But maybe there is a bigger problem with us.
We have always been thinking of developing applications with the view that someone will be sitting at a laptop or desktop machine. That it is either stationary or mobile for use and that wifi or Ethernet connections may or may not be available. That is the physical environment of the user. But what happens with the iPhone?
Suddenly that environment is passé. Now the device has greater capacities and is in the pocket of the individual. Like a cell phone it will travel everywhere and will have that constant connection. It can be transmitting your geographic location and pushing you updates all the time.
We need to begin to think in more ‘real life’ situations. This may seem crazy but after being married for 36 years I like to know what my wife is doing and where she is. Before I head home from work I like to call her and tell her I am leaving. Sometimes I forget. In the near future this device will be able to tell her where I am. If I am stuck in traffic she should be able to see this. I don’t know how possible this was before but it will soon be a reality.
When thinking about financial services we can now view the possibility of geographic location of the person when they spend their money. If they use a debit card then the place of use can be paired up with the individual’s geographic location. Your alert mechanism for fraudulent use suddenly can take on some new dimensions.
And that seems to be the key, considering these new dimensions and being able to do development to deploy the application on the hardware. Software can become much more robust, much more specific and driven for much more usage. To put a function to use is going to be much easier. To use that function anywhere is going to make a major difference.
Sure there will be the glitzy ideas and software because this is so new and thought of as cool. But creating functional applications given the new parameters, that really could change the way some financial services and products are used and delivered. Fasten your seat belts.
The first day is over and the news is out. New iPhone, .Mac changing to .Me and Snow Leopard Server. Again Apple pushes product and updates its technology to higher levels but this time there is something different.
Apple seems to be directing its eyes to the business sector. Sure the iPhone was launched at consumers but the tools and processes shown are a fair indication that Apple is looking at expanding into the non-consumer area. With what was stated today why wouldn’t any business who has some development budget and has been working on the Mac platform not get excited? There are some great possibilities of using these tools to create some unique and interesting products and arrive at answering some old questions.
The key understanding is that the iPhone is a computer in your pocket. So what would you think 5 or 10 years ago about having that much IT power sitting in your glove compartment? With the wireless availability becoming common place there is now an immediate means to communicate and transmit data. Viewing this from a historic timeline we used to wait until the punch cards were run for the printed work, then it became the waiting for the system to come up before we could use the terminal, our desktop computers were the biggest step in having data and applications available on a desk, then the laptops arrived and we could carry them anywhere and now that same power sits in your pocket and is usable anytime.
Any information or data that you can push or pull can be viewed and worked on. Any place. What will that mean to businesses and to us an individuals remains to be seen. One of the programs mentioned today will give you the geographic location, via GPS, of anyone with an iPhone. You will get a choice if you want that information about you available but if you do then you might not have to answer the cell phone from your spouse asking you were you are. A small point but it is significant. You no longer have to tell people where you are, they will have the means to know where you are.
The questions will be asked will it save time, the precious and finite commodity we all treasure. Maybe, maybe not. But it will change the way we view events, processes and what we have been used to in so many unseen ways. Again technology has an offering that we can either use or it can ‘use’ us. We can either be bombarded by vast amounts of useless information or we can filter and broaden our knowledge with needful and proper information. It all ends in one simple but powerful characteristic, individually we choose for ourselves with our own free will what we will do with this technology.
There is this continuing discussion about the portability of data and letting people take their data and their friends with them to other sites. We have a number of social networks that don’t allow us to ‘move’. This is proving frustrating because as new and better networks arrive we seem to be collectively stuck and harnessed to the old because the basis of use doesn’t allow us to easily move.There has been some movement here in the DataPortability group and Google’s OpenSocial. Let’s hope it continues and once again allows us the users the choice. Walled gardens don’t work for us but they do become very profitable for the gardener.Here is a transcript of Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he talks about the Semantic Web. Sir Tim brings back those fond memories of using Mosaic 15 years ago.Transcript: Sir Tim Berners-Lee Talks with Talis about the Semantic Web: “”