iPhone or iPad, Chanel or Gucci, buy a toaster or heater? Arhgg…. Why can’t we just have it all? Unfortunately most of us young adults are still trying to make ends meet and even one ‘out of budget’ indulgence can render us broke for the rest of the month. Well not just purchase choice, even the decisions we make, for instance, changing jobs, taking a sabbatical, starting a family or just about anything also has a cascading effect on our other plans.
Nevertheless, with careful and sensible budgeting, you can have all the worldly possessions you need and gear yourself with the uncertainties of the future. To help you with this very feat, we introduce to you, Plot. This app cares about your tomorrow, your next month and your future.
Plot says no to budgets, spreadsheet and numbers. It takes just a minute to set up, absolutely no personal bank data is required and rough amounts work just fine. Your Plot effortlessly shows you a bigger picture of your financial decisions and the impact these decisions have on your future. Well in a way this is your very own financial forecaster!
Meet The Man That Runs The Show!
Ideated and founded by Christer Papanicolaou, Plot is here to help you get what you want through smart budgeting.
Christer is a Creative Director currently based in Stockholm but most of his work has been done in London. He went to school to study film-making (cinematography) in Lodz and has worked with clients big and small in a variety of business areas.
An Interesting App!
Our desire to want things is insatiable. We always want to know when we can have something that we want. Plot is all about being able to plan your finances by focusing less on numbers and more on what you desire. This app visualizes your income and expenses over time thus empowering you with the foresight needed to navigate your financial future. Further, the interface allows users to “play” with their wants and see how they all affect each other over time.
Plot, The Problem Solver!
Like mentioned earlier, we all want things. Plot tries to approach the objective of realizing these wants from a new perspective. Budgets and spreadsheets have been around for decades and they are great, but most people aren’t accountants. They instead think of their costs, their wants and when they can afford a certain thing. Plot becomes the user’s personal forecaster. For instance, if you must send your car to the shop, how does that delay your planned purchase of a new computer? Plot knows and will tell you instantly.
Arrival At The Unique Concept!
“The idea was first conceived in 1999 when I was just a teenager wanting a Sony MiniDisc player, but couldn’t afford one on my allowance. I designed a complex Excel and Visual Basic routine at the time to help figure out when I could get it while still keeping up with his basic expenses. The “app” grew into a monster of data. Soon telling me when I could get my “Psion Revo” and “Nokia 7110” plus many more things. Overtime it became too complex to manage, especially when you didn’t update it daily. Then about six years ago, as the smart-era was starting to unfold, the idea resurfaced in my mind again and later grew to become Plot”, says Christer.
The Road Blocks!
The first big hurdle was to nail a design that captured the intricate concept while still being simple enough for regular people to use. After countless mockups a calendar design was chosen. This helped put the emphasis on time instead of money.
The next big challenge was funding the actual app. Since the concept was far too unique, it was met with great curiosity in meetings. Also, there was a widespread doubt on whether or not the app could actually do what it claimed. Eventually funding for development was secured and the team went to work on building Plot, resulting in version 1 that is up and running.
In terms of competition, the personal finance space is full of competitors from services like Mint.com to apps like Toshl. All these apps keep track of your expenses and incomes in the present and past. However, most of these apps do not actually focus on what you can physically do with that money.
The team does view companies like Tink, Qapital and Mint as their major competitors, but in the end Plot is technically a different app as its focus is mainly on the future, instead of the past.
On The Journey Ahead!
“We would of course love to see everyone using Plot. Right now it’s only available for iPad but the aim is to create a version for all platforms. The next steps are to complete all missing functionality within the iPad app. Once we have solidified our framework we would start to make the version for iPhone, which is a little bit of a different experience compared to the iPad. At the same time we would also port the iPad version of the app for Mac Desktops as we release v1 of Plot”, says Christer.
Plot is really for anyone who has never really felt comfortable managing their resources with the help of spreadsheets and budgets. It is fully scalable so as to work for people of completely different means. It doesn’t require you to connect it to your bank account or give away any private data. The ideal user is an 18 to 35 year old that often faces problems like – Can I go out tonight and still afford to buy a new laptop at the end of next month?
The Monetizing Model!
“We plan on using the “Wishes” that users input into Plot to create opportunities for our users and advertisers. Since we don’t give out personal financial information directly, Plot can work out “when” an offer would be good for that user, if it replaces or moves something or generally makes their plans better financially. Advertisers would login to a web interface where they can see buying “wants” and their popularity and create a campaign based off Topics/Words (using Freebase categories) in very much the same way you would use Google Adwords”, says Christen.
Apart from this, there are many other avenues like creating custom tools for businesses that would help them sell their services.
To sum it up perfectly, with Plot you will be able to see what potential effect your expenses and decisions could have on your financial future.
For more information, do make it a point to visit: www.tryplot.com
Also, a video is the best way to communicate a story. Check this out to know more: