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A Classy Way to Go…

July 31st, 2010

The 31st of July marked the end of my favourite online transaction manager service – Wesabe (www.wesabe.com).

I’ve been using the service regularly for the last few years. I did not rely on it, just liked quite a lot about it, such as that:

– It moved financial transaction data from the supplier side to the individual side, and allowed a whole set of tagging and reporting options

– It thus allowed the individual to build a more complete view of their finances than available anywhere else

– It offered a range of security options around the data movement, to suit individual preferences

– It enabled data portability from the start

Unfortunately this last point proved key, because Wesabe announced that they had to shut up shop; I guess the business was not financially viable (yes, that is somewhat ironic….). The viability of genuinely individual-centric internet businesses is a post for another day, but it was the way that Wesabe managed the shut down that impressed:

The key features of the shut down that I think were handled well were:

– Communication, users were given plenty of advance warning; none of this ‘here one day and gone the next’

– Export options, yes that built-in data portability came into it’s own, a range of competitors emerged with ‘import your wesabe’ data propositions to ease the service transition pain

– Enabling and encouraging an open source project to emerge from the ashes

– Complete deletion of data after closure; how many times have we seen the customer list treated as an asset that can be sold off to the highest bidder?

So, Marc et al at Wesabe; thanks for the service and the learnings while it lasted; and thanks for such a classy shut down; and good luck with your next venture.

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