Aug 07

This weekend the Startup Weekend tradition continues in Northern Arizona at SWNAZ. Not that you should need any excuse to leave Hades, ahem, I mean Phoenix right now but here are five reasons you should make the trip.

  1. Avoid spontaneous combustion.

    ‘Nuff said.
  2. Meet cool people The people that attend Startup Weekends are the do’ers. Talkers stay home for these events. The participants here are the folks who make stuff happen and from experience, these people are the ones worth knowing. This will be my 5th Startup Weekend and each one has hands-down had some of the awesomest people I’ve met. Oh and the guy who invented Startup Weekend is flying all the way from Zurich coming out of retirement to facilitate this event. No big deal.
  3. Learn while building There is simply no better way to learn than by doing. You will be exposed to folks from all disciplines including business folk, engineers, designers, SEO experts, social media gurus, investors. Startup Weekend is basically a cauldron that forges friendships and skills at an impossible pace. The first one I went to in San Francisco blew my mind, as did the subsequent one in Chandler and then once again in Los Angeles.
  4. Put some wheels to your idea This is probably the single best chance to take that business idea you’ve had collecting dust and finally get it built. You’ll have the opportunity to convince a room full of people with the talents and drive to make your concept a reality. More than a handful of companies have launched at these events and gone on to raise funding as venture-backed startups. Not only is this an opportunity to get your idea developed but it’s a stage to get attention and get that initial PR to get it noticed.
  5. Have fun on the cheap. Seriously, for the price of a modest dinner date in Old Town Scottsdale you’ll get transportation up on a bus with the fun folks from CO+Hoots, meals throughout the weekend, free stuff like a copy of Andrew Hyde’s Travel Book plus rumor has it we’re taking this bad biscuit out on the town Saturday night. I guarantee that nowhere in AZ this weekend will people be having as much fun as the attendees at Startup Weekend.

There’s still a handful of seats left and when they sell out attendance is capped. If you’re ready to lock in your seat, escape the heat and have one of the most memorable weekends of the summer, register here and we’ll see you up in Flag.

Jul 08

Three months ago Shortsaleopedia became the newest customer of Infusionsoft. I’ve learned a ton about this product during this time and wanted to offer a brain dump of thoughts. These are directed both to potential users of the software as well as Infusionsoft the company.

What it is: CRM + automation fabric

Describing this product concisely is difficult because it’s more of a “fabric” than an application geared towards a specific use case. As far as I know it’s the first system to bring the capabilities of something like Eloqua and Marketo within reach of the small business, only better because it combines CRM. Think of it like a pliable Silly Putty for marketing & CRM automation that allows you to set your marketing material up like one of those “Choose your own Adventure” books from back in the day. It’s tempting to call this system “a nerve center of customer communications for a SMB” but that too would be pigeon-holing it to customer communications when it can be equally valuable for vendors, partners & resellers. I like the “moldable marketing fabric” analogy because it captures the right essence of the flexibility of it. My friend Eric who works there calls it “the OS of small business” and I think that’s an interesting and valid way to put it.

Another way to think of it is via the phrase coined by one of their star customers, Jermaine Griggs. He did a stellar webinar about a week ago that is a must-watch for people getting started with Infusionsoft. He cites the main benefit as enabling the “scaling of personal attention” – basically gaining the ability to render customer experiences you’d expect of a small mom & pop shop only on web scale supporting hundreds of thousands of customers with the same level of intimacy. This guy has a truly incredible story having come up from nothing – he’s worth listening to just for his humility alone but he also has a brilliant mindset of how he approaches marketing and relationship building online.

How this can benefit SMB’s

Again it’s tough to reduce the benefit to a sound byte here because it really depends on how one uses the fabric. What would you do if you could imbue your selling knowledge into your web app so it intelligently did things the way you would do if you were standing there in person talking with the prospective customers? How might that change both their experience as well as your insight into what they want/need? I find it find Dave McClure’s AARRR pirate metrics framework useful when examining online businesses – Infusionsoft can basically help in 4/5 phases (activation, retention, revenue and referral).

We “hired” Infusionsoft for two main reasons: 1) on the back end there’s simply no way for us as two people to stay on top of all the deals handled by our network. We had tried using Google Docs, Longjump, a custom WordPress app and Basecamp and while those each sufficed on the CRM front, none gave us a way to intervene and actively and intelligently babysit transactions. 2) On the front end our leadgen apparatus was very static. We had a single linear funnel for on-ramping new customers. While Mailchimp auto responders are better than nothing, you’re still highly constrained by how adaptive you can make your marketing and it’s not unified with CRM so there’s no straightforward way to pull up contacts and get a clear picture where everyone stands.

What it’s lacking

Infusionsoft has been great at addressing these issues so far but I feel like maybe I’m fawning over this product a bit much; it’s definitely not perfect. The difficulty of setup is its Achilles’ heel right now impeding mainstream usage. It took us roughly two months to implement and we are moderately-technical and highly motivated. While they’ve made strides with their new visual campaign builder, it’s still missing the mark in a couple fundamental ways. There are IMO two separate shortcomings with their current onboarding process:

  1. They ask customers to make the leap to wiring up a solution before mapping the current landscape. The campaign builder put some sanity to an extremely unintuitive implementation process that involved jumping amongst many screens to wire up templates, action sets, rules, web forms and follow-up sequences. But it doesn’t solve the intermediary step needed wherein the customer visually maps out their existing processes, identifies the opportunities to fix the funnel and thereby establishes the plan. For those with a background in software development, think of it like parachuting into a programming scenario and trying to leap to writing code to solve a problem before you’ve mapped out the current process and hashed out the user stories for what you’re trying to build.
  2. I think even if they were to add this intermediary step, it’s still going to a far stretch to ask the average SMB owner to complete this process on his/her own. There’s real artistry and skill involved in identifying the biggest opportunities and then taking the knowledge of the software and translating the business objectives into implementation. I believe their model needs to shift from a DIY solution for the end consumer to incorporate an agent as the intermediary. These “marketing architects” would have a thorough understanding of both online marketing best practices as well as detailed understanding of Infusionsoft and be bridge builders to close the current gap. In fairness, they do pair you up with a “success coach” employee who helps get you through the initial onboarding process (big shout out to ours, Brett was instrumental in our implementation). But IMO this is a band-aid fix to symptoms which would go away if the consultant ecosystem were made to be a more integral role.

It’s impressive how many people they have using the system in spite of these impediments. It’s a testament to how useful it is that folks want it badly enough to figure out how to bushwhack their way through it all to get it working.

What I would do if I were Infusionsoft

So I hate criticizing things and not offering solution suggestions. Here’s what I would be doing if I were Infusionsoft to remedy these issues:

  1. Create an “assembly exchange” They’ve already got what appears to be the equivalent of an AppExchange for vendors to market plugins to users but what I propose is actually making it so I as a user can turn my configured instance into a template I can sell other people. Think the way AWS allows EC2 users to convert a running instance into an AMI that can be made available to others – it opens up a whole new ecosystem. A bicycle store owner in Tampa who has developed a successful marketing framework in Infusonsoft should be able to productize his/her instance and sell it to bicycle store owners elsewhere. This would do some miraculous things, namely a) create a new revenue stream for that Tampa bicycle store owner without cannibalizing his/her local business b) help the new Infusionsoft user expedite her bicycle store marketing implementation and get a proven system unique to her vertical c) reduce customer attrition for Infusionsoft by reducing frustration and failed on boarding d) potentially spawn a whole new class of companies like how WPMU and Thesis grew around WordPress.
  2. Disentangle planning from implementation. Right now the “architecture” and “brick laying” are intermingled when setting up a new instance. It would be beneficial to have a separation that allows one to articulate the current business processes, then map out the ideal new flow after Infusionsoft. This document could then be handed off to a commodity implementation resource via oDesk or Elance and the tedious grunt work of implementing stuff could be offloaded. I haven’t formed a strong picture of how this looks but my hunch is they don’t need to reinvent the wheel here – this format already exists either as a specialized sequence diagram in UML or via BPM with an open source tool like Intalio. The sharp consultants are probably using a homegrown tool of their own to achieve this step – I would start by asking them how they’re doing it.
  3. Consultant ecosystem of brick layers v. architects I realize there’s already a consultant community for Infusionsoft but as best I can tell there’s no commonly accepted format for mapping out the vision with one “marketing architect” and then taking portable definition to a more commodity “infusionsoft implementor.” In my mind that first piece is what they should give away free: a way for any visitor to come and sketch out their funnel and current vs. proposed marketing interactions. Then simply charge for translating the proposed version into reality. Once the architecture can be partitioned from the implementation it opens it up to be able to commoditize the brick laying aspect and drives the architectural role to be more about formulating valuable constructs for the funnel rather than worrying about nuts & bolts of implementation.
  4. Sandboxed dev v. staging v. prod environments I would love to outsource some of the grunt work I’m doing now but I’m also very hesitant to give access to our system over to a stranger in the Philippines. The way we do this with our site now is by cloning our WordPress instance with BackupBuddy and spinning up a duplicate instance on EC2 and giving the contractor access to that system. They can break it all they want and there’s no damage. What’s better, I can spin up 5 instances and compare 5 different contractors apples-to-apples in parallel for two hours of trial work to see who gets the furthest and does the best work. It would be great if there were a way to clone our Infusionsoft environment and run sandboxed versions that could be promoted to staging and ultimately production. If the above separation of “architects vs. brick layers” is to be achieved this will be an important capability.
  5. An offline IDE This is perhaps too demanding to ask for this now but I will anyways- it’d be great to have a non-web-based way of building stuff. In the same way that Quickbooks online is cumbersome to accountants who are used to flying through screens on the desktop product, when you’re building a bunch of sequences and emails and whatnot, the latency of the web even on a fast connection is annoying. I totally get why it’s all web-based now (I would do the same) but perhaps there’s opportunity to do an Eclipse-based IDE that would generate a file which could be uploaded to Infusionsoft and provide an easier way for building a system?

Other random thoughts

So this is my random catch all for other things I wanted to mention that would be useful:

  • Bizspark equivalent the $2-3k initial startup cost is going to be preclusive for most startups even though they stand to benefit dramatically from this software. If Infusionsoft can stomach giving away some super-cheap accounts they should strive to offer a no-support, self-serve, feature-dilluted option for startups and take a longer-arc view harboring people who can’t afford it today but represent prospective future customers. Those folks are also typically more vocal startuppy types so there is likely some marketing benefit to serving them even though they’re free accounts today.
  • The gmail core plugin rocks This is missing functionality in the core Infusionsoft app but I’m happy to see that someone nailed the plugin that provides it. This plugin makes it so Infusionsoft will automatically monitor your Gmail and append communications that happen there to their corresponding contacts in IS. The benefit is multiple people can be working how they normally work and a centralized record of communications is retained in Infusionsoft for all to see. I would love to see the option in Gmail Automation Core to do attachments via filebox as well as the ability to do a one-time retroactive pull of past communications from a gmail account.
  • Global & shared dashboards There’s no way I can see for me to create a dashboard which gets shared amongst other members of my team. It’d be neat if they made it possible to have tabbed dashboard pages and possible for one to mark his/her page as “shared” so others could use it.
  • Past emails should be snapshotted by value rather than by reference There’s a glaring issue IMO right now with how past automated emails are preserved: currently it stores the variable names instead of the actual communication to the client. This needs to be a snapshot of what exactly was sent at that point in time. Think of changing prices, new sales reps, etc. There’s no good reason to store it by reference with variable names- it really needs to be snapshotted.
  • Tags and follow-ups listed in search results I would imagine they’ll add this soon but it’d be useful to be able to see sortable search results with the tags appearing in columns separated by tag category. Likewise it’d be nice to scan a bunch of results and see what follow-up sequences they’re in.
  • Calculated fields This is the one thing I really miss from Longjump: the ability to have fields on the contact record that are derived from other fields. Consider adding the ability to make a field that is simply a formula builder consisting of other fields on the record.
  • Lead origin tracking We’re likely going to do a bit of a tap dance on our site to get what I want in terms of tracking all the data on how customers originated (ie. which ad channel, campaign version, landing page, keywords, etc). This is fundamental and important enough that I believe this belongs in the core product. For now we’re planning to roll a cookie with all this info and then pass it via hidden fields on form submissions.
  • Snooze button on follow-up sequences It’d sure be nice to be able to click on the date of a follow-up sequence and just override it for that contact record. We end up doing a hoaky process now whereby we remove the sequence, create a scheduled task to remind ourselves to start that sequence over again at a later date. It’d be much preferable to be able to have a “snooze button” that would let you manually override the date of the follow-up sequence and push the whole thing out X days.
  • File-type form field to upload attachments The form builder tool is very good but it’s missing an obvious field type: there’s on ability to do file attachments. This one shouldn’t be terribly difficult to implement but there should be a new type of form field for attachments and they should be sent to the filebox for that contact.
  • No split testing I’ve seen the recommendations for how to implement split testing in Infusionsoft and unfortunately it’s pretty ghetto. I understand people are working on IS plugins that will lend this functionality but A/B testing is so integral to online marketing now that I would argue it belongs in the core product. If this is too peripheral to be in the core product today I would suggest making a one-click option for integrating something like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. We’ve used Optimizely for awhile now and it’s excellent.
  • No funnel visualization There’s no way I’ve seen to visualize the various funnel interactions and run cohort analysis. Likewise this is pretty core to online marketing and if it’s not something they want to bake into the product itself I’d lobby for making it easy to enable KissMetrics or MixPanel by just entering in your acct ID for those products. I’ve used KissMetrics for about two years and it’s great for determining which section of your funnel demands attention.

Anyways, in summary, Infusionsoft is a really promising product and I’m excited to finally have our v.1 implementation in place. I’ll report back here on what I learn as we go. It’s great to see a local AZ company delivering a service that’s represents so much promise and has customers around the world. I look forward to seeing it evolve. If you’re interested in potentially using Infusionsoft for your business request a demo or check out some of their past client case studies.

Nov 16

This is a random observation while listening to some killer ambient music on a pair of good headphones:

We like to in hindsight attribute the success of disruptive products to practicality when in truth these products succeeded because they elicited some previously-impossible emotional experience in their user.

Here’s the crux of the epiphany: When I was eight I got one of the very first Sony Walkman’s (this is the closest pic I could find but I swear mine was even more old school). I had a bunch of teeth pulled right when this miraculous device debuted and my parents figured it would a good distraction to fill my head with music during the recovery period. This turned out to be a genius move on their part and worked really well. In spite of having awful pain from every corner of my mouth, this new incredible way to experience music trumped everything and transported me beyond the pain. Now here’s why this is relevant:

Clayton Christensen (and by proxy many others) have cited the Sony Walkman in their explanations of disruption usually saying something to this effect: “The Walkman achieved disruption because it enabled young people to listen to music out of earshot of their parents for the first time.” This is a functional/practical motivation (ie. listening privacy, facilitated quiet rebellion) and while it may partially account for its success, I would submit that there was a more fundamental emotional-based motivation: “it enabled for the first time the undeniably cool & irreproducible experience to have music originate from between one’s ears.” This is akin to experiencing dry ice, static electricity or pop rocks for the first time- it’s just freakin’ cool!

No doubt practical motivations overtake the cool factor at some point and most disruptive products with any longevity can’t subsist indefinitely on coolness alone. But in the vast majority of past product success analysis from today’s vantage point, the coolness factor gets way undervalued. The ubiquity of white earbuds now makes it difficult for us to imagine thirty years back to a time when experiencing music that originated between your ears instead of from external speakers was as untangible as anti-matter & black holes are to us today.

Anyways, there’s no call-to-action here other than to observe that our “coolness bar” is perpetually raised higher each year and it’s impossible to see those case study products via the same lens of wonderment we would have had at the time they presented. I don’t dispute Christensen’s ideas on disruption re: underserved markets, competing against non-consumption, etc. but I think we need as entrepreneurs to acknowledge the role of a more parsimonious “I just gotta have the music inside my head!” motivation in explaining the success of a product like the Walkman.

No doubt when Apple someday develops the ability to deliver any smell on demand via the appstore, we’ll all run out and purchase an iSniff because “I gotta have any smell on demand!” And years afterwards the business historians will all concoct elaborate theories about the runaway success of this product explaining how we were economically-motivated and seeking to reduce trips to flower stores.

Oct 04

Ok here’s a plea for any developer who knows how to write browser extensions to write one that lets me do basic spreadsheet operations right in the web page. I would pay $20 for this add-on in its most basic buggy incarnation and up to $50-75 for a pro edition depending on how well it worked. Here’s the issue:

It’s too cumbersome to ask simple questions and do basic data wrangling of tabular numbered data in web pages.

I play with data probably five times a day via various web sites (sometimes our own, sometimes ones in the wild). Here’s a practical example from right now- we’re running some email campaigns for one of our startups and I get this report:

Which is just a set of numbers and has no meaning until you can see relative %’s and how campaigns compare across iterations. I would like to be able to quickly calculate the open rate, CTR and bounce rates of each of these five campaigns. And then get average totaled across all mailings.

Now sometimes you luck out and can copy/paste the table into Excel or Numbers and do basic summing / averaging / math ops there. But it’s a crapshoot – half the time it pastes the entire table into a single column which makes it useless. You wind up w/ this:

(sorry if you haven’t seen this Spinal Tap scene that bread reference will make no sense at all).

Pasting to a desktop app makes you leave the browser and adds just enough friction to the process to where you might not ask a question of the data that you would have otherwise. Google Docs is getting us closer and their copy/paste tends to work better, but that too is still an extra step and cumbersome & flakey. The other alternative on small datasets like this is to Command-Space to open Spotlight and manually run some calculations there typing in the numbers. But alas that sucks as well.

What would be truly spectacular is a FF or Chrome extension that gave me this right in the context of the web page:

aaaand… boom:

Select. Click. Done. Two motions to get immediate insight into tabular data on web pages. Like I said, I’d pay $20 no question for the basic version and if you start adding spiffy extra spreadsheet functionality, that number goes up to $50 and beyond very quickly. This is a valuable/painful enough situation where it would be pretty easy to make me happy even with a crappy extension.

So my question is “would you pay for such an extension?” Heck, I’ll setup a Pledgebank and hire a programmer to create this if enough people want it. I think it could do miracles for startup founders in terms of wiping out the friction associated with casually asking questions of data in web pages. My hunch is some developer could give away the very most basic version and charge a grip for the professional edition similar to how iMacros has done it. Leave a comment or a tweetback if this is something you’d use.

Jun 09

I just got back from Microconf in Vegas and wanted to do a brain dump of some thoughts while they’e still fresh. This was an outstanding event in every way – killer speakers, high quality of attendee & flawless execution. I highly recommend (provided Rob and Mike decide to do this again next year) that any single founder or bootstrapped company attend.

Takeaways

This was a 2-day deal with some top-notch speakers. As is always the case with these types of events though the real value is in the hallway and meal conversations. I was fortunate to meet some super duper cool cats & dogs. As far as nuggets of actionable advice, I noted a couple from the various talks:

  • Ramit showed the scientific approach he takes to understanding his customers’ problems and objections via increasingly specific surveys and systematic testing on the site. His testimonials are all surgically placed to address the objections he uncovers via testing. This wasn’t earth shattering but he hammered home the value of a methodical approach to unearthing your customers’ problems and thinking in those terms vs. selling the features of your product. I’m looking forward to implementing some of his ideas on how to conduct killer surveys.
  • I finally got to meet Sean Ellis whom I’ve followed for about the last year and a half. I love his philosophy of mandating that you achieve a certain level of measurable product market fit before ramping marketing. Think of it almost like a type of “escape velocity” in that you don’t leave orbit and apply the rocket fuel until you’ve achieved this “must have” level of affinity from at least 40% of your user base. He dropped a nugget in passing that I thought was very insightful. He said “You can increase the gratification of your users without even changing the existing product simply by identifying what they perceive to be the core value and stripping all messaging down to that essence.”
  • Hiten is my hero and is the lyrical gangsta of funnel analysis and conversion optimization. He dropped some pure gold with his presentation on the various lessons he’s had in building Crazy Egg, Kiss Insights and Kiss Metrics. For people already immersed in the Customer Development movement it wasn’t anything new but it was a great orientation for the folks who weren’t familiar with that framework. He pulled together a neat bundle of resources which I plan to go through soon. He also inspired me to re-implement Kiss Metrics and get a firm grasp on exactly where we’re losing people in the funnel. If you’re not following him and Kiss Metrics on Twitter you’re doing yourself a disservice as it’s the best curated fountain of useful techniques for young startups. One audience member during Hiten’s talk shared what I thought was an ingenious cheap/elegant hack for getting early CustDev feedback on an app: post an ad in the jobs section of Craig’s List for the industry role you’re targeting and solicit input either via a survey or a physical focus group.
  • Noah blew our mind with hot sauce. If you weren’t there we’ll just have to leave it at that. But there was literally Sriracha flying.
  • The website teardowns were one of my favorite parts. They picked apart the sites volunteered by attendees and walked through what could be improved. It was hugely interesting to hear their take on the flaws and the rationale for how/why/what to change.
  • The Pluggio guy, BuySellAds guy, Rob Walling and Mike Taber all gave great presentations worth noting.

In all it was a superb event that I would highly recommend to anyone contemplating attending. The one format change I would propose is to break up the lineup of back-to-back speakers all day by interspersing some type of interactive exercise. The speakers are just the excuse to get the right people in the room but the truly valuable part is the interaction with other attendees. It would be neat to see them sub out one of the speaking slots with a problem solving exercise whereby people break into groups and work to cobble together a solution to a specific business challenge and then have an ambassador from each report back to the group at large. Anything you can do to increase the surface area for having conversations amongst attendees goes a long ways towards making the conference even more useful.

Lastly, I just wanted to share a moment I had after making the drive back from Vegas last night. I’m now living up in northern Arizona in a cabin for the summer (a whole ‘nother blog post). Anyways I went for a barefoot run on the golf course listening to this guy’s playlist and this beautiful song came on right as the sun was setting and I was running this path through an outcropping of trees. This experience happened one other time but it was an absolute wave of pure gratitude that washed over me and every cell in my body simultaneously acknowledged how lucky I am to meet all these incredible people who are laboring to change the world in their own small way. For all the doubts that swirl around when building a startup in an unproven market and an uncertain economy it’s moments like these that confirm we’re running the right path.

Huge props to Rob Walling and Mike Taber for toiling endlessly to pull this event together. I’ll be there next time no question.

Apr 06

I almost titled this post Mint.com: grow a pair already. If Patzer were still running things independently he’d probably be down for the bold play of disrupting the banking industry but sadly under conservative Intuit management I doubt we’ll see this play from them anytime soon.

Banking sucks. It has all but become entirely commoditized and yet I don’t know a single person who actually is satisfied with his/her bank. The features and rates are nearly identical along with the frustrations across providers. The model with banking seems to be: get you in as a customer & sign you up for extra services so switching is a PITA. Pleasing the customer? Umm no… Convenience charges, statement fees, courtesy tax, ding-you-for-withdrawing-your-own-money fees… yep, that’s the norm.

You will remain with a bank you hate because there’s always just enough inertia to keep you from changing. The more surface area you have via extra services, the harder it is to leave. And besides, if you do leave the same dynamics are still at play so it’s not like you have anywhere better to go.

Here are some obstacles that keep the average person from changing banks:

  • the tedious process of applying for a new account and closing out the old one
  • the idea having to relearn a new UI for your banking interface
  • switching where your direct deposit goes
  • reconfiguring your personal money management software
  • reconfiguring auto ACH payments hanging off your account
  • reconfiguring auto debits on your credit cards
  • figuring out how to send and accept wires under the new system
  • learning new ATM habits and locations
  • recreating bill pay profiles

There are probably a bunch more but those are the main friction points that immediately come to mind. The banking scene is ripe for a startup to come along and disrupt it by taking these issues off the table and making it easy to switch. Of everyone that exists today Mint.com is in the best position of anyone to pull it off (but they also have the most bridges to burn and are no longer the rogue player to attempt daring feats). Here’s what a theoretical startup we’ll call AnyBank should do:

a) Abstract the major banking functions for the top 10 banks to a generic UI you work with
b) Store your info and automate the process of switching banks so it’s trivial to change.

This is a bold proposition. Banks, like any incumbent spoiled with the luxury of traditional lock-in aspects, will fight this initially because you’re killing the barrier to leaving. But the answer is: start with the smaller progressive banks who are willing to play ball to gain the new marketshare, grow a critical mass there and then move upstack and gradually sign up larger and larger players. Give me the Mint interface only instead of being limited to reporting functions, add the actionable banking functions into the UI and so I have a central banking app that works consistently agnostic of the underlying provider. This will force banks to compete for our business, re-introduce the concept of customer service and make them think twice next time instead of f&^%’ing us at every opportunity.

I think of banks as being almost like databases- I have no emotional attachment and could care less which one I use as long as it performs well. There are factors that make it advantageous to use a specific one given circumstances, but if a startup can move all the “logic” up to the application layer ala AnyBank.com, then the db can be swapped out at will and I’ll do so when it makes sense.

Mint if you’re listening: please grow a pair and go disrupt the banking industry. I already spend more time in your UI than all my banks combined. If you give me the ability to execute my banking tasks from your interface I’ll have zero reason to ever visit my bank’s site. Go the extra mile of making it trivial to switch and you will single-handedly coerce an entire industry to behave properly again.

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