“It’s easy to tear ideas down, Ramit”

Ramit Sethi · June 1st, 2006

My post on stupid frat-boy business ideas got a ton of feedback. Check out the 50+ comments here. As another commenter noted, “Funnier than the post, in a sad sort of way, were the dissenting comments by those outraged to have their bubbles burst.” (Other comments were not so charitable.)

Anyway, I got a lot of emails from people saying “It’s easy to tear ideas down, but do you have your own? What do YOU think will be next?”

But I’m not a futurist, and I never said I was. Plus, they have notoriously bad results.

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Still, I’ll take a stab at it: Companies have no idea how young people are using technology, and there’s a huge opportunity for people our age to educate them. We live it and breathe it. Older people do not. I was once hired to talk about blogs, social networks, etc, so I decided to have some fun with them. I can personally tell you that there’s nothing like opening (PS–not safe for work) to a room full of VCs.

Other things I find promising: Helping people work together online sounds like a pretty good thing, in whatever form, as does targeting the always-increasing luxury segment. So does creating a platform for political discussions and news. But really, take what I say with a big fat grain of salt. I’m just one guy.

And finally, I want to mention one thing. I’m tired of Quicken and MS Money’s arms race of more and more features. I don’t need 5,000 things. I just want an easy way to enter my spending, with automatic downloads from banks/CCs, easy categorization, and charts that show me where the money is going. Bonus points if you can aggregate data and let me compare my spending with others to see if I’m in the same ballpark.

If any of you are developers interested in developing a simple, beautiful personal-finance app, let me know. I will personally help you spread the word about it.

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  1. I firefox-esque quicken would be pretty awesome. Someone should get on that.

    I’ve been thinking social software + investing might be a good idea. Something like netflix, where you can see reviews, ratings, feedback from other humans who have watched the movie.

  2. I just stumbled upon yesterday. I have nothing to do with it, but it sure looks like a “simple, beautiful personal finance app”.

  3. Charlie

    I wouldn’t post this here if it weren’t directly relevant to the post, but PearBudget is right in line with what you’re looking for. The web-based version hasn’t launched publicly yet, but will soon. I’ve sent an e-mail with more info.

  4. I have developed a web application to help that lets you keep track of your expenses, and is very similar to what you described. It’s called MoneyGroove,

    Check it out.


  5. maulleigh

    Howard Roark would never compare his spending with others!!! 😉

  6. Surfacedamage

    I really feel that Mvelopes is on the right track with their product. Although it allows you to track your finances and pay bills, it differs quite a bit from the way Quicken and Money work — especially with budgeting. Rather than waiting until you’ve blown your budget to tell you that all you’ve got in your pockets is some lint, mvelopes goes the old fashioned route whereby you “pay yourself first” by putting money into virtual envelopes. All of your expenditures are then paid out of these envelopes. If they didn’t charge a monthly fee, I’d definitely be all over this site. However, I’m sure someone reading this blog is out there looking for a unique and effective way to manage their finances. This might be the ticket.

  7. Amiya

    I use jGnash. As simple as they get.

  8. albert

    You can give a try to our free webapp:

    We are adding features every day, follow up our blog:

  9. Nihar Desai

    I think this program does all that you want except for auto-download.

  10. Kevin

    You may want to look into KmyMoney I’ve heard good things about it and its open-source (Go SourceForge.Net Go !!)