5 Tech Companies That Impacted My Life this Week
This is a new series about the never ending involvement of tech companies in the mundane. In relation to this 31 year old man owning property for the first time :-), here’s what I like and don’t like about five tech companies this week:
Very cool that they could do 2.2% on savings – that’s why I created a savings account with Ally. They recently lowered to 1.9%, and that’s more where the rest of the market is. The underlying idea is so pure and simple: having no physical banks saves money, and that saving is converted into a high interest percentage for the customer. The challenge comes in serving the customer. The software is simple enough to use. This past week, my customer use case was wiring a down payment. Previously, making the good faith escrow payment upon signing a contract for a house, I was able to wire the money from Alley in less than two hours. That works. But the day of closing, the money needed to be wired before the sellers could sign. I requested a wire in the morning for the down payment of my house. Heard nothing. Two hours later I spent a half hour on the phone, mostly on hold trying to get them to initiate the wire. When the sellers were in the office in the afternoon refusing to sign until the money transferred, I spent another hour plus talking and on hold with Ally… and eventually, ten hours hours after the wire request, it worked. The deal didn’t die, but this bank made a life-moment-day into a maybe-my-bank-will-undermine-my-deal me day. A high savings rate is great, but if you’re working with Ally, be cognizant of the fact the wires can take 10+ hours during business hours.
FirstBank became my lender 🙂 They’ve been around since the 1960s and hold $19B+ in assets. They are founded in Colorado and trusted by many local businesses. FirstBank’s just keeps making money, they publish their rates on their site, they honor those rates for those who qualify, and they move fast. I spent far less time talking to FirstBank than I did to Better, where it was challenging to get the right person at the company to talk to for specific terms, domain expertise, and questions. There is a simplicity to being a customer of what has already proven to work and being sold to by a person who understands the details of the deal. At the end of day, a loan is about paying on time so their interest won’t takeover. I had to put a little more down, but I’m happy with the interest rates. And to anyone thinking, ‘hey that’s a bank and not a tech company, but this series is about 5 tech companies that impacted your life this week.’ First off, thanks for reading and remembering the heading. But mainly, the workforce for companies of substance are increasingly more technical. And at a more basic level, the math behind the banking terms is the tech. For the customer, technology is entrenched in their daily life. I expect all banks to spent more on technology to provide their own interfaces, apps, experiences, and competitive advantages.
Circling Back to The Oldest Industries Remain the Same
If it’s worked for a long time, it’ll probably keep working. Can technology make it work better? That’s the logic behind the lowest risk technology plays. If you can just find the path to a definitive marginal advantage, an entire business can emerge. But then competition follows. The smart incumbents will not outsource the marginal technological advantages to another business. Real estate is maybe the oldest way to make money. When it comes to the real estate process, I gave the upstarts a chance at my business but the more established players provided better experiences and rates. Tech companies are always saying, we’re disrupting this and we’re disrupting that… but the tried and trued business methods that work will not be uprooted easily. I’m a customer making (somewhat) rational decisions based on time and money, much like everyone else. Competition is good, it pushes companies to improve. Banks will get better UX like Better.com. Startups will get better trained staff like Banks. SmartRecruiters will acquire market share by spending more money. Or die. Or get bought for hundreds of millions (or billions) in cash. Or just keep doing what they’re doing, but a little more efficiently each day. Competition is good, it gives the customer choice. For most new companies, the market’s inertia causes failure. But it’s great for the customer to have big and small companies alike competing for your business.