Few months ago I made a little tour of Europe, and (among various places I visited) I went to spent some quality time in Amsterdam. Here I had the pleasure of spending some time with Albert van den Broek, CGO of Figlo: Albert is an excellent host, and during a nice dinner at a typical Dutch restaurant he explained to me the vision behind one of their new products. I am not very deep in financial considerations, so I will probably explain this in the wrong way (for which I apologize in advance): in any case, you can always go to their website and take a look for yourself. The point is that personal finance is an incredibly important aspect of our lives, and yet a surprising amount of people (including me) knows nearly nothing about how it works (reminds me of the fact that I've learned the function of carbohydrates and proteins only when I was already at college. crazy!). This is bad, because without a sense of how you choices today affect your situation tomorrow it is very hard to get to your objectives. Their point is, it doesn't have to be like that! They believe that presenting the situation with the right tool, such as a streamlined process backed by the right UI metaphor, anybody can take informed decisions and make actual steps toward his wishes (early retirement, college funds, similar stuff). They also have a very catchy name for the procedure, HaWaNeDo (Have, Want, Need, Do), which always helps in end user products.
The day after I met with part of their board and some of their engineers, and they tried a session of the program on me: it works 🙂 and, being its UI entirely realized in Silverlight, it is *really beautiful*.
Now, let me get to the CardSpace part. We discussed in depth how CardSpace (and specifically, and approach based on the identity metasystem) could benefit their solution and the ecosystem they operate in. I have to respect the customer, so I won't go in any details of the ideas we exchanged. Let me just tell you that they must have been appealing, since this morning Albert sent me a link to a video where they clearly suggest they are intentioned to use it... hint: watch the FULL video! 🙂
Note: the video makes a reference to financial cards. HaWaNeDo makes a clever use of cards as UI metaphor, but that does not necessarily mean that those are the same cards that you handle in an identity selector (intended as "a moniker to the capability of its owner to obtain the corresponding token" [the most compact definition of information card I ever came out with. Can I be proud of it?:-)]). Again, I said I won't go in details but I just wanted to make this point clear so that you don't get the wrong impression.
It will be great to see cutting edge financial tools, state of the art UI technology and the full power of claims based programming all at the service of the end user. Albert tells me that they plan to release a product of the HaWaNaDo line before year's end: their team is truly global, with the financial engine being developed in Holland and the UI&Authentication developed in Manila. I will of course happy to keep supporting them, and who knows? Maybe I could win a trip to the Philippines.. 😉
Albert & Figlo team, looking forward to see your application. If it will work outside Netherlands I would be super glad to be an early adopter, count me in!