I am very impressed with Bank Simple (a neat project I came across via HN). Banking startups are an interesting (and hard) area so, in the spirit of "why not", I left them my email a few months back. As a brit it seems unlikely they will cater for me any time soon but keeping track of their efforts seems worthwhile.
Anyway, they just sent me an email.
At first it reads like a typical marketing mail - "don't forget about us m'kay" (which, after all, is why I gave them my email). But after a first scan my brain did a backflip as it read the following:
Even if you don't want to talk about banking matters, I would love to hear more about how you started you own social networking site and be updated on its progress.Wait. What?
In the past (i.e. 3 years ago) I was involved in developing a social networking site. How the hell did they find that out?
I am guessing that what they did is use one of the social discovery tools to track down some information about me. Then read and digested what they found to choose something relevant to talk about.
I've run it over in my mind and there is no way this could be from an automated process. For a start the email address I gave is not easily linked to my personal or the Live Meta site. So finding me is non-trivial (2-3 minutes at least). Figuring out the connection is also non-trivial; someone either read my resume or the Live Meta site and clicked through to make the link (another 2-3 minutes). Those 5 minutes are not a lot - but it's more effort than the vast majority of companies make.
Ok, so this is gimick; but it's a completely genuine one. Bank Simple make a promise on their home page: "We treat you with respect". So, yes, it is a gimick. But it is also them sticking to the promise - and I do feel respected. Particularly as there is a high chance a goof number of us signed up....
I think that bodes well for them as a service.
Which is good because starting a bank like that is a very difficult problem. I c0nfess prior to this my feeling was "cool, but I have a feeling this will fall apart". I still think it is a very hard task they have set out to work on, but on an emotional I damn well hope they do it.
But for that pesky Atlantic Ocean they'd have a new future customer :)