On Invoice Tagging
2006 April 18 by Josh
Back in January when we were hammering out what features would make the cut for Blinksale 2.0, we began to joke about the crazy, over-the-top, web 2.0 "hype" features we could add to Blinksale to stir the buzz. Of course, this discussion was entirely in jest as topics veered from social-invoicing to Google Map API integration (so clients could find your office directly from your invoice). I'm sure there's a place for these ideas somewhere, but they were simply good for a laugh around here.
Then I joked about how we could add "Invoice Tagging" to Blinksale. And about how you could tag invoices with terms like "hosting" or "advertising" or "web-design" or "reimbursement". Or how you could even tag an invoice with a sales-person's name. And then you could simply filter your invoices by tag to see the sales associated with that tag. We joked about tag clouds where the text size was determined by dollar amount billed, not simply number of invoices.
And we laughed and laughed, and commented about how everyone would think that Blinksale had jumped the shark, totally biting into the hype-machine. We laughed hard. Tears in fact.
Then the laughing slowly came to a halt.
And the debate began. Will people think we're insane? Are we contributing to software bloat? Will the community give us grief for adding such fluff to the Blink? Or, is tagging possibly the most amazing "less software" approach to letting Blinksale subscribers organize and track their sales in almost any way imaginable.
We don't have any desire to go head-to-head with a traditional "double-entry" financial software package like Quickbooks, where sales items must belong to rigid "accounts" that must all be tied together. There's a place for this, for sure. It's called Quickbooks (or MYOB, if that's your thing). But it's not Blinksale. We have no desire to build a category system, and we really don't even have a desire to build an inventory system (boring). But with tags, we can let Blinksale subscribers sort, track, and organize their invoices however they want to. It's like the Burger King way.
If I want to know how much in icon sales Brian brought in last year, I simply filter "brian+icons" with 2005 as my date range. Easy as pie. Or, if I'd like to know how much we did in t-shirt sales, I can filter the tag "threads". We think it's going to be a very valuable, even though a bit hype-ish, addition to Blinksale.
At SXSW, during the Tagging 2.0 panel, Prentiss Riddle of Pluck said that "tags are great but I wouldn't want to manage money with them." We love the folks at Pluck (a client of ours), but we have to part ways with Prentiss on this one. There may be more to tags in a business sense than we all originally thought. As a side note, Prentiss' thoughts on tagging as a whole were really great, and you would benefit to check out his notes from the panel.
So there you have it: Invoice tagging. Coming in days to Blinksale 2.0. Please keep the buzz to a minimum. We don't want things to get out of hand. ;-) And no, this is not the super unnamed feature some have been talking about. There is still more fun yet to be had.