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We’ve Moved

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Banking Kismet has moved to iMazuma.

The link to the new blog is http://www.imazuma.com/blog/

The RSS feed link is http://feeds.feedburner.com/imazuma

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Categories: Uncategorized

Mint Launches Bill Reminders

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Mint has released a new feature, “bill reminders”, for their online PFM software. One awesome feature is that the reminders can be sent to you by SMS. You can read more here.

Banking On Rails

Over the years, I’ve watched the Ruby on Rails (RoR) community really grow.  Being a Delphi (and classic ASP) programmer, the language really appealed to me.  I still think Delphi has the best object-oriented implementation in the client/server environment.  Because RoR seemed similar to me, I started reading up on it a few years ago.

RoR is open source, which wasn’t an option for use at work, but I loved the potential of the language.  Now that I’ve started on my magical journey, I’ve decided to dive head first into the language.

Over the years, I’ve built quite a library of books and PDFs on the language.  However, I’m more of a “hands-on” kinda guy.  So last month I attended the Ruby on Rails course offered by Pragmatic Studio.  This class included three days of hands-on training and was taught by Chad Fowler and Dave Thomas.  Considering the contributions of these two to the Rails community, I’m not sure I could have had better instructors.

I highly recommend this course and will be taking Part II once I have a bit more experience under my belt.  The only criticism I had was, there wasn’t an “answer key” given at the end for all the exercises.  It would have been nice to use as a reference.

My friend Tom Wilson, over at Jack Russell Software, also recommended Code School, which is developed by Envy Labs.  There are two Rails courses available on the site, Rails for Zombies and Rails Best Practices. Both are split into five lessons with multiple exercises that you complete in the browser.  If you get stuck, you are able to get hints that will help you complete the exercise.

I went into these courses thinking it would be about basic stuff that I can read in any Rails book.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Quite a few of the exercises dealt with material that was more advanced than the material reviewed with Pragmatic Studio.  I think it would be in the best interest of any level Rails developer to go through both of these online courses.  I’m sure you’ll come away with something new that you’ve learned.  Rails for Zombies is free while Rails Best Practices is currently being offered at a discount for $45.

I’ve already started to apply the knowledge I gained from Code School into the project I’m working on.  One thing I’ve learned from the courses at Pragmatic Studio and Code School is, I really need to start digging into the Rails framework.  Also, I need to live on GitHub.  Looking over the code from other people is another great way to learn.  I always seem to find that in Rails, there’s an easier way to accomplish your goal.

If you’ve been thinking about incorporating Ruby and/or Rails into your development environment, you’ll be in good company.  There are quite a few FinTech companies that use Ruby on Rails.  Some examples are The Garland Group, Geezeo, Jwaala, and BankSimple. If things work out, my start-up will be another.

Square Gets Boost From Apple

Square, the mobile payments company, is now featured in Apple’s online store. You will also be able to purchase their device in Apple retail stores. You can read more over at TechCrunch.

It’s A Magical World

April 9, 2011 3 comments

Calvin & Hobbes - It's a Magical World

Well, after 12+ years, I’ve decided to move on.  The time I spent at First Federal was a great experience and I will sorely miss the friends I’ve made these last few years.  Over the years, I’ve developed a very deep passion for the banking industry.  Also, I find the changes that are currently going on exciting and I enjoyed helping the bank adapt to those changes.

However, I feel that in order to grow and accomplish some of my personal goals, it was time to step out on faith.  So although I’m sad about leaving, I’m excited to see what new adventures await me in this magical world.  For now, I’ll take a short break to rejuvenate, and then it will be full speed ahead.

But don’t worry.  Whatever the future holds, I’ll still be blogging about banking and technology.  As I told one friend, I look at these last twelve years as my K-12 education and I’ve graduated.  Now it’s time for my higher learning education.

Image from GoComics

Categories: Uncategorized

We Are In The People Business

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I came across this quote on Signal vs. Noise:

We are in the people business. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the banking business, your customers, you’re in the people business, and it’s how you treat people. I grew up with the thought that I wanted to treat people the way I’d like to be treated, and I think if you do that, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

—Nolan Ryan on comparing his cattle ranch business with working with ballplayers.

We would do well to keep this in mind…

Categories: Uncategorized

Simple Banking

May 27, 2010 5 comments

There was a Twitter conversation earlier today about a Fast Company article that discussed Mint.com and BankSimple.  The article centered on “banking that doesn’t suck”.  Ron Shevlin’s post Banking Is Not A Technology Business is a great response to that article.  I’d also like to add my $1.25 banker’s fee.

Ron makes a great point that banking is a service business that leverages technology.  Working in IT for a bank, I can definitely confirm that.  But I really took offense to Alex Payne’s quote in the article:

“Imagine, for a moment, a bank that doesn’t suck, a bank that doesn’t gouge you with fees. A bank that doesn’t treat you like crap. A bank that cares about design, but gets out of your way. A bank that puts your money to work automatically. A bank that’s building a platform for the future of personal finance.”

Now, why in the world would you do business with someone that sucks?  Since most of us live in an area with plenty of banks and credit unions, moving our money isn’t that much of a problem.  As for fees, those are completely avoidable.  Banks will typically waive the occasional “oops” on an overdraft.  You can also avoid those pesky ATM fees by using an in network ATM.  As for design and platforms, unfortunately banks are at the mercy of their vendors.  They just don’t have the expertise in-house, unless they’re typically a top 50 bank.

That being said, I think BankSimple has the potential of being very successful.  They will really appeal to people that embrace online tools for managing their money.  And honestly, if I were starting a bank, I’d go the same route of leveraging technology and building from the ground up.  Not having to worry about the extra expense of branches is one less major headache.  Whether they can pull it off remains to be seen.  Like Ron said, at the end of the day, it’s all about service.