2007 Wrap-up and "Commerce in 2008: Data, Data, Data About Data"

Several have you have contacted me regarding my post 2007 Innovations in FinanceThe questions have, primarily, centered on asking for more detail on why I found social personal finance such an important trend in 2007.  I, somewhat intentionally, didn’t expand in great detail in my previous entry.


Simple.  The trend that made "social personal finance" so important in 2007 will increase in importance in 2008.  And this trend will become increasingly applicable across multiple industry sectors beyond just personal finance.

Let’s begin with a definition:

  • metadata: Metadata is data about data [and] is used to facilitate the understanding, use and management of data." (courtesy wikipedia)

Social personal finance, wesabe in particular,  is an excellent example of the power of metadata.  I, personally, use wesabe as a management tool for our family’s finances.  And, perhaps, the most important utility relies completely on metadata that I generate. 

Take for example a recent transaction with a local merchant. . .Upon uploading information from my debit card, this specific transaction has about 150 characters of identifying information including merchant name, address, card identifier, transaction identifier, expiration dates, and other codes.  However, because I had previously "cleaned" this transaction with only the merchant name, it appears on-screen with just the information I desired.  In essence, metadata that was previously created is reused to simplify the information that I view as a user and drive a more enhanced user experience.  Wesabe, in their online demo about tagging (located here) refers to this string of data as "bank puke."

Other ways that metadata is used include:

  • automatically rating the merchant based on previous entries
  • taking that rating and aggregating across the entire community
  • applying transaction amounts, automatically, to their general tag allowing for the creation of spending limits

So given the value of metadata to the world of finance, how is it applicable to commerce?  If, as has been discussed frequently recently, Google views data as the "Intel Inside", it would behoove commerce Service Providers and Software Companies to review how metadata is applicable to their workflows.  Of course, it remains extraordinarily important to ensure that this metadata is both secure and non-sensitive.  In the case of social personal finance it is secure, non-sensitive, opt-in, and user generated. . .the best of all worlds.

Metadata, or data about data, represents extraordinarily valuable information that can be used to create value-added workflows and solutions for the merchant and consumer.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques?
The comment form is below. . .

January 8, 2008

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