Hey friends, happy hump day! Hope the last week in October is going well for you (never thought we would be so close to the end of 2020).
As we continue chatting with investors and engineers to woo them onto our rocketship, I came across a quote from Buckminster Fuller, a 20th-century inventor.
“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”
When I think of our mission, I immediately harken to the frustrations most of us feel with the existing financial world - complex interfaces, confusing financial terms and documents, and unhelpful customer support. Every time I write this newsletter, I’m thankful to have a community behind us willing to build a new model of accessible, fast, and enjoyable financial experiences. A world in which all of us can thrive together!
We had a great demo day to wrap up our Zero to One Bootcamp with Afore Capital! We’ve scheduled chats with notable NY-based VC firms later this week.
After releasing our v1.1 to more waitlisters last week, we’ve received valuable feedback from many of you. We’ll incorporate these changes into our next version release, which should come in mid-November.
Here are some additional user requests that we’re adding to our voice roadmap
Search previous transactions (e.g. “Did I pay my Verizon bill this month? How much did I pay last month?”)
Tag multiple charges at a time (e.g. “Tag all of my AMEX credits as client invoices”)
Inform what card should be used during payment to optimize rewards and credit limits (e.g. “Which of my credit cards should I use at Costco?”)
Confirm when a P2P payment comes in (e.g. “Alert me when a $200 Zelle credit hits my account”)
If you have any other voice commands that you would like to use, ping me and we’ll add it to the roadmap!
🤑 Fintech Finds 🤑
It’s no secret that the pandemic fueled a huge shift to digital tech, especially for banks. Citi bank’s Chief Digital Officer recently unveiled his ambitious 5-year plan to revamp his firm’s strategy. The plan reads similar to what most banks and consulting firms push out every few years as part of a PR blitz to establish themselves as thought-leaders.
“We need to be a bank with a soul.”
Good luck convincing consumers of this …
The problem is, banks don’t have the technical competencies to push the innovation envelope. The best technical talent work at competing challenger banks and fintech firms like Revolut and Stripe. Banks are left to build with fintech aqui-hire talent, that only stick around to cash-in their stock grants and corporate lifers that have stuck around with the firm for years. For banks to truly evolve into the digital world gracefully, it’ll need to change their culture to being tech-first. This is quite tough when the status quo and government regulations require traditional banking purists to remain in executive positions. But, Citi and the other Goliaths need to think tech-first, at least within its consumer-centric products, to win and build lasting products. Without a cultural shift, why would top engineering talent from Stanford or Lambda School choose to work at a bank instead of promising fintech startups that offer more growth opportunities, higher future returns, and typically, friendlier working environments? The big difference in startup versus corporate bank culture is that the former makes user-centric decisions whereas the latter relies on IRR and ROI as guiding pillars.
For an example of a non-tech company that’s truly mastered this transition, look at Dominos. Its CEO consistently mentions that he runs a tech company that sells pizzas. Because of this shift, Dominos stock has appreciated almost four-fold in the last five years. When will banks start realizing that the key to winning the next decade is to modernize the culture and workforce instead of updating PR memos with catchy buzzwords and obvious strategic roadmaps?
🤖 Voice Tech Finds 🤖
Remember Foursquare, the fun geolocation app that many of us used back in the late 2000s? It’s back with a game-changing app called Marsbot.Hello world! Introducing Marsbot for AirPods, a new app that explores what is possible with audio AR.
Conceived out of its innovation lab, Marsbot is a headphone-centric augmented reality app. Dennis Crowley, one of its co-founders, calls it “a lightweight virtual assistant that proactively whispers local recommendations (and other fun snippets) into your headphones or earbuds as you’re walking around.” The chief vision of Marsbot is to create an actively engaging experience while we’re immersed in the world.
I onboarded onto the beta, which you can download on your iPhone from the App Store, and I loved the experience.Finally got around to testing new Airpods app and it's BRILLIANT! The onboarding itself is game-changing as I can now be guided through the app audibly instead of just visually (huge for accessibility and usability). Feels very much like a "tour-guiding experience" A+++
Dave Kemp @Oaktree_DaveThis is amazing!! This is everything I was hoping for when I started to really research how hearables + voice assistants could be used in tandem. Example: Traveling by a restaurant and having the chef tell me in her own voice the specials of the day, fed through my AirPods. https://t.co/Ozjz75ucvM
The best part of the experience is most certainly the onboarding. Instead of being forced to read a bunch of text, Dennis actually narrates what’s going on and what to expect from the app as I move along the flow.
By the way, I’m definitely going to incorporate this into Reconcile. It’s so much easier understanding an app with a simple audio pitch rather than relying on words on a screen. We could theoretically deliver a similar experience that personal bankers and accountants offer by using voice and audio as our primary interface mechanisms.
SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY IN THIS SPACE!! Now I’m sure all of you can see why we’re so excited about the future of voice and money.
Thanks for reading!
Jaimin Desai - CEO & Co-Founder of Reconcile
P.S. please share the newsletter with other friends that would enjoy hearing about our journey!