GDC, Buckets, and more calendars

Show Notes

In this episode, Colin shares insights from the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on cutting-edge technologies like motion capture and AI-powered game creation. We'll chat candidly about the challenges of achieving work-life balance, recognizing burnout signs, and staying productive amid demanding software projects. Additionally, we'll explore personal finance topics, such as budgeting, emergency funds, and leveraging AI and APIs to optimize spending and financial planning.


Full Transcripts

Colin: All right. We're back and we're changing it up this week. We're going to change the intro.

CJ: so how was GDC

Colin: GDC was good. if you've been listening to the show again, these kind of come out in a time dilated manner, but GDC was good. It's It's always good to get into a conference and celebrate all the work that you've been doing and put it out into the world and also see what other people are working on.

CJ: in terms of GDC versus a RailsConf or like another language conference? How big is it relative to that? And yeah, is it similar in any ways?

Colin: I would say very different. it's a lot more like an industry conference. We were on the expo floor. There's a lot of talks and stuff you could go to. a lot of really cool industry talks, from creators of power world and all these like viral games that were really popular, a lot of stuff from unity and unreal and a lot of the game engines and different like publishers and game creators and things like that. and then on the show floor, you've got just like companies showing off, like teasing that the next thing that they're working on, or a lot of like unreal Fortnite, Epic games type stuff. really big booths from them. Almost I don't know, garishly large of a booth. It was like multi story. you go up into it and then meta had a huge booth for quests and Being able to show and I think like work with publishers and creators to try to get them To you know get their games built for quest Yeah,

CJ: And so the few little Clips that I saw on social media of the game floor looked crazy because there was just giant screens everywhere with people Like demoing their Basically like their commercial or something for their games or playing or, yeah. So it definitely seemed like thousands of people. have you been to DEF CON?

Colin: have not is that the germany one?

CJ: This is the, it's in Vegas and it's like a security conference. And that's the biggest one that I've ever been to. and it, yeah, it's like very different from like a language conference, but.

Colin: Yeah, it tends to be more like, the, a lot of the companies have a meeting room. It's a little bit more like CES in that regard where you're like creating meetings and stuff. There were a lot of Motion capture companies and like specifically motion capture for helping you to make the rigging for your game or for movies, things like that. but I think what's interesting is that like the tech hasn't changed a lot. It's a lot of the same cameras and like the little dots and stuff, but a lot of it is like supercharged with AI now. I guess like motion tracking has always been in camera tracking, but now when you have AI and ML at the level we do, you get this no post processing instance, like actors moving on a stage with a screen behind them and having it fully mapped to a character and stuff like that. That was really cool to see. Like those are clearly not for consumers. this is more of a that industry conference. whereas something like E3, which is gone now. was more for fans of games going and fans of companies, learning about what's coming out next. So there's a little bit of all of that, but it's definitely more industry focused. And, I didn't go to any of the talks, so I think that's like a whole other area of it that I'm sure a lot of people go just for that.

CJ: were there any demos on the expo floor that just were like mind blowing?

Colin: I think the most fun one for me was, there, there was one called MetaHuman from Unreal, which is like creating your own digital avatar. they, I don't know if they were doing it in the booth, but there was a long line of getting your face scanned and essentially turned into this digital avatar for yourself. but the other one was, It's definitely the motion capture, company, which I'm going to blank on the name of it, but their booth, I went to every hour on the hour. They had an entire like gymnast, and jump roping team that performed every hour. And it was pretty amazing just to see them doing jump roping and doing backflips in the jump ropes. wow. All while being motion captured, they gathered a crowd every single time. And I think a lot of people were like, how can we use this? cause like we need one of these in the office. We need a whole motion capture room.

CJ: Is that the one that you post on Instagram where the, yeah, it must've been where the people are jump roping together and then, behind them, there was a screen where they were like animated characters that were following the same motion as the people that were jumping around. That was so wild. It was like, you could imagine that turning into like an Avengers movie or something where one person is the Hulk and they like look like the Hulk, but they're just moving around like normal person.

Colin: it's interesting cause motion capture does not need to be in real time when you're talking about video games and stuff. So it's cool. It probably speeds up their development process if they can have a person and do the rigging instead of create the thing, create the scene, then do a render, do processing, all that kind of stuff. so doing it in real time probably does mean faster, getting your game to market faster, but, does not come cheap, I'm sure. Yeah.

CJ: yeah, it seems like the whole, like that entire combination of real time tracking plus AI generated stuff is going to be a really crazy. like new frontier for video gaming, being able to just say okay, you're in this place with these game mechanics now go and generate an entire world with other digital people who don't actually exist making like just all like fantasy come to life in real time without having to have that be like prebuilt or, Pre programmed in any way. It's just like figuring it out for you.

Colin: yeah, I think the thing that it's probably most relevant to what we've talked about with AI and co pilot and helping us to do our work is there's this new, it's like a half a game and half of an editor called frvr. ai, and they've actually built a few games with us at Discord, It's pretty insane. so if you wanted to go try it, I think the beta is available. There's also a video. but what you can do is you can just prompt the creation of a game and it gives you both the simulator and the code and the game all in one UI. And so you could generate asteroids. Then you can say, okay, go ahead and make the ship fire at twice the speed and see the code updating, see the game run. you can tell it that you want some sort of power up and you're just prompting the entire way through. obviously like the cool thing is you get access to the code and then you can see what it's doing. So it's nice for learning, but it also, will allow you to get into the code. And then if something's not super smooth, you can go in and fix the code and make it the way you want it to. I think. I think it also does generate an art, which is obviously a little contentious, in the video game space right now, obviously even, programming and this goes back to that whole, AI is going to be replacing job type things, which I go back and forth on so much. Cause it's like a lot of the stuff we do, it's cool that this can. But my brain always goes to, there's just so many things that AI is not going to be able to do. Like being an electrician or a plumber or painting a house, things like that.

CJ: yeah, a couple of thoughts. I saw a tweet where someone said this is a bunch of people. Rallying back against, all of the layoffs basically that are happening across the game industry. This is happening tech wide and the majority I don't think is related to AI. I think it's more related to like interest rates, but, yeah, it was like, Yeah, capitalism, there's a bunch of people screaming into the void about, not being happy with the current situation of their employment, and so they called it the GD scream, and, that was funny to see, And also, I was listening to a, I think it was an NPR, update this morning on the radio and they were talking to some folks that, were just like laid off from a coal mine somewhere and they were like, Oh, I think coal mining is going to make a comeback. It's going to be like a new wave of something. And, something is working, it's been working for a hundred years, I don't know why we have to change anything. And they fold that up with my biggest concern is I just want to be employed. I'm like, yeah, I totally understand that. I get that. And it can be like really scary to be like, okay, my entire industry is going away because it's being replaced by something else at the same time. The greater good is outweighing, like the individual in certain ways, we definitely want to support these folks and help build transition plans and smooth ways for people who are being, displaced by certain, like industries going away. At the same time, I think it's something we ought to lean into because these coal miners, they have all kinds of medical issues and like it's not healthy to be like down in the cold breathing all this crazy dust. And then also like the emissions that are related to that. And we can, that's like a completely other like separate argument, but whether or not your industry is going away because it's being automated away or Yeah. Exactly. Renewables or even fast food workers who might be, out of work because they're going to start automating, these entire fast food kitchens that are going to just be like giant robots that spit out, hamburgers or something. or, Amazon warehouse workers being replaced by figure ones and like the optimists. These like, C3PO bots or, R2D2, R2D2 a little easier C3PO a little harder, but, it's coming. How can we. As a society position ourselves to take advantage of it and like work together to make everyone, level up a little bit. interesting, but

Colin: So I think you were also talking a little bit about being busy the last couple of weeks. So do you want to talk a little bit more about that?

CJ: we're getting ready to launch a big feature, for, Craft work I've been talking about this for several weeks, but, we've integrated with Twilio. We integrated with podium and email. And so we have SMS and a bunch of other messaging tools and we can handle like voice calls. And if someone calls and. We'll say, this call might be monitored, recorded, we have automated voice back and then recording, and then we take recordings and transcribe and using that transcription and all previous messages as like input into, into models where we can then make intelligent co pilot like decisions for people who are like authoring messages. So it has been, yeah, it's been a lot trying to just come into parody All of the niceties that we've come to expect from a messaging thing. chat is no longer just chat now. It's I want to schedule a message for later. And, I want to be able to send attachments of any kind, and I want to be able to edit my message and cancel it. And, like whether or not a message is read or the conversation is read and whether or not you care about that conversation. We don't want to necessarily have a global inbox of all the messages. We want to have some narrow focused thing where if you are on the sales team, you only care about conversations that are managed by you or something. So figuring all of that out has been quite a massive undertaking, but I think we're, we are going to launch today, tomorrow ish. And, yeah, I think the team has been super pumped to get it in their hands. So that's been, yeah, we've been pretty heads down on that for a while.

Colin: Yeah. I think that's interesting because when you think about doing any sort of like hiring somebody to work on something, like a lot of it is the communication and the scheduling and then a little bit of it is doing the actual thing and just coordinating. So it'll be interesting to see how that pays off for y'all. And hopefully you have some downtime planned after all of this.

CJ: I've been trying to do a pretty good job of taking breaks in between, when I'm starting to feel tuckered out or whatever, just taking breaks and trying to, remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint. And we have these seasons where we're sprinting pretty hard, but also we want this to be sustainable or as sustainable as possible. So just trying to temper the, grind with. getting out and, Being outside, but yeah, definitely. Um, it's for sure been on my mind, like the more we get, the deeper we get into these massive feature launches and also like the stress of, okay, you're going to launch something and if it breaks, like it's going to directly impact everyone at the company and the customer and the whole experience and everything. So the stress related to. The visibility and, foundational nature of certain things is, I think that also adds to the potential. I don't know. is there something that you notice when you're like starting to feel burnt out? Is there like any particular behavior and

Colin: That might be something I need to pay more attention to but I can definitely tell Like my sleep starts to take a dive I think I know more when it's like all consuming Actually like in terms of like when I go home I'm still thinking about the thing and then I'm like, oh we got to fix this thing in the morning Because then you don't actually get rest And so it's better I find to write it down and so you don't forget it and then let yourself take an actual rest. So I guess that is probably the most obvious thing that I noticed is that I tried to leave my work, In the laptop at work, things like that. when it starts to follow me everywhere, then we're approaching burnout. if it's the only thing I can think about. If I'm worried about things that, are maybe out of my hands, I just need to write them down, flagged them to, If it's infrastructure or like I'm worried about how community will receive something, things like that, then it's maybe we need to think about it, but I don't need to think about it at 10 o'clock at night or staying up late. Like I have found that when I'm most like that, I'll, either play video games or scroll and just be up until I'm so tired. Versus getting like restful sleep. and then you don't start the next day rested at all. And that, so then you're robbing Peter to pay Paul the next day and it just keeps, keeps going. So

CJ: Yeah, definitely a cycle for sure. I definitely find that it can be all consuming and just, I think it's the same thing that I notice when I'm starting to like, think, oh shoot, like there's like that orange flag in my head of I gotta, Got to be careful. And what's surprising to me sometimes is that it is super fun. Like I find all this work stuff really fun and exciting. And I want to do it, like I want to spend the time grinding and I want to build and I want to keep going on features and I want to live in it and soak in it and just be in the work. And it is at the same time, like it feels like there's just a certain point, like when you reach that point and just like a switch flips and you're like, Oh, like I can't,

Colin: the last straw.

CJ: now it's not. Yeah, exactly. Now it's not fun anymore. So it's weird because it's even if it is fun. Or even if I am enjoying it and being excited by it, I have to try to like actively say, okay, I'm going to go do something away from the computer. Now the, this weekend, we're going to go outside and, yeah, be offline.

Colin: Which can help. Cause if you write it down and you can still be excited about it, but not actively doing it. Like I get that. Like wave of I want to do all the things all at once, but if you can write it down and let it run in your background thread for a little bit, like sometimes it goes faster when you go sit down after taking a break. And so without taking those breaks, you make mistakes. You don't see things as obvious. Maybe it just takes longer. So yeah, it's tricky. Like after GDC, I want to go play with all the game engines. And it's probably better to pick one and get good at that one and then figure out what the next one is, but it's, it can be exciting and still burn you out. And obviously like we have such a huge privilege to be able to work online in the first place, but like staring into the screen, it takes a lot out of you more than you'd think. So you do have to make sure you don't spend your off time staring at a little screen or a different screen.

CJ: yeah. Something I have found on the little screen that's been really relaxing. I used to think it was funny that my kids would watch people on YouTube, play Minecraft. And it's Oh, they're going out and they're building all this stuff. And like recently I've been super into watching these like ASMR YouTube videos of people bushcrafting and they're like building, like cabin in the woods or whatever. I'm like, this is literally just Minecraft, but like for in real life, like it's the same thing. They're just, they're out there with their hatchet, chopping away at the ground and making little forts and stacking up rocks and making a little chimney or whatever. I'm like, this is the same as Minecraft. It's just like in real world.

Colin: So then the next step is going out there and doing it yourself.

CJ: I know I'm super excited that it's been raining for a couple of days, our last snow is finally melted. So got to get the chainsaw out

Colin: Do some, ASMR maple syrup tapping, maple syrup evaporating.

CJ: Dude, the syrup came out so good and we just got a, an espresso machine. So I've been making like maple espressos or like maple lattes in the morning. And they're off just so killer to be like, we made this with our land.

Colin: is gonna become a homesteading podcast. build and learn, taking a turn.

CJ: there's a lot to learn out there in the wild, actually, yeah, I'm curious, like on, on the learning front, I know that you at the Reno collective, there's quite a bit of gardening going on. How involved in that are you? And what would you say in terms of like on a skill level of zero to 10, what are we talking about for gardening skills

Colin: Yeah, so the collective garden is a little bit of a tragedy of the common situation, which is that everyone wants the garden, And a lot of people will plant the garden, but then no one wants to take care of the garden.


Colin: So we've every spring we'll pay to go get the seedlings and do all the stuff and then the harder part is always getting people to continually care for it. Sometimes then no one harvests it. it when it's ready. Things like that. I would say we're not very high on the skill tree yet. So we're still working on it. I think we'll probably try again this year. We have the garden boxes ready to go and we just got to wait till the snow's melted on Peavine before we start.

CJ: Nice. Okay. Yeah, I think, we built a garden box the first summer we lived here and we built it like on the ground. It's like not a huge raised bed. It's just raised like 12 inches or whatever the two by 12. And the rabbits ate like everything. And so this year I have plans to build like other higher raised up a little bit higher, maybe like waist height garden beds. but that will be a lot of learning and building, in a completely like homesteady

Colin: maybe you need a greenhouse. Keep those animals out.

CJ: it's definitely high on my list of like wants for sure.

Colin: And then you can make a YouTube video of you chopping wood, building a greenhouse,

CJ: Yeah. Got to get, yeah. I got to get one of those, road mics so I can, wear it around my hat, like Sam Sulek.

Colin: Yeah, I've got some, videos to send you for sure. We'll have to start a shirt playlist, but,

CJ: Oh yeah. Nice.

Colin: yeah, I think, did we talk about me trying to buy a house last episode? Yeah.

CJ: I think, yes. Yeah. So what's the latest

Colin: Oh, man. it was so we, we had lost it. I think it was what we talked about. and then it went back on the market and, I was at GDC. So I like, just hit all the buttons in Redfin. I was like, let's go, let's go get this thing and felt so good about it. And we basically rode the rollercoaster of emotions twice because we got outbid by somebody who decided to put 60 percent down. No appraisal. And They went way over asking. So I was like, we were so close. Cause it was one other offer that was like asking. And then we went in and we did a little bit over just to make it nice and said, we'll close quick and all that stuff. And it was cool. It was a learning process. Like I learned a lot about. All the different levers you have for contingencies and things like that. But, part of me is still watching it, waiting and hoping that they get cold feet and that goes back on the market again. But I, I don't think I can handle losing it again. Yeah, it's it's a funny thing. It is crazy that is still happening with the interest rates And so I guess if you have the cash, then the interest rate doesn't matter so much. So

CJ: so the NAR, the National Association of Realtors, there was like this case where a bunch of rules just changed. Is that impacting you at

Colin: I don't think it's rolled out yet And with Redfin, there's usually like a commission listed for the buyer's agent. So this one said two and a half percent. but yeah, that case basically says that those rates are negotiable. some would argue, some people were arguing that why aren't agents paid hourly instead of commission based? And it's because if you don't buy a house with this person, like they're not getting paid. but if you do, then it's a big payout, and it's all worth it. I'm pretty sure my real estate agent doesn't listen to this podcast, but, I found them. They're just the default lead agent on Redfin. Barely. they were like, who is this person? Why are they trying to buy this house so fast? And I was like, you're going to get your commission. Please help me get this thing. And I think we'll be finding somebody that we actually want to work with for the, if we keep looking.

CJ: It's a bummer that you lost it twice, but it's good that, yeah, you're going through the motions and building the muscle of okay, when it goes in the market, it's go time. And you've got all the right documents in the right places and the right understanding of your financial situation and all that. yeah, what I was remembering is that when Nicole was doing the real estate agent thing in Nevada, I think it costs 1, 500 a month to list yourself on Zillow as like an agent that shows up in that sidebar. So I don't know what it is for Redfin, but they're definitely paying some pretty penny to become the default agent.

Colin: I think this person works for Redfin. They are like the agent of agents. They probably have agents under them and stuff. yeah. But I think the big, the biggest lesson is trying not to get attached to things, but like you want to want the thing that you're going to spend this much money on. And, in our case, we got attached two times and hook, line and sinker on that. But yeah, finding an agent who knows what we're looking for and is watching cause like Redfin and Zillow are delayed compared to the MLS, which you shouldn't think that would matter, but it does.

CJ: it totally does. Yeah. And sometimes if you find like a solid agent too, like they'll get back channel information about houses between like inside their network, because they'll talk to people who are talking to people who are thinking of selling, and even before they put their house in the market, your agent will yeah, catch wind of something happening across town or whatever.

Colin: it's not a good sign for the supply of houses is that like my Redfin, I have reached inbox zero on Redfin. I have no new houses to look at. And so it's just now when they pop up, I'm like, okay, wrong area. Not, it's a McMansion that's super ugly, whatever. But

CJ: yeah, the MLS to their search engine and filtering is really granular. Like you can say, I only want to see three bedroom, two full bathroom houses with shingle roofs in this zip code that are zoned for this school. That, are on, yeah, exactly. Like you can get super, super specific and then yeah, maybe you only get one alert per month or something, but then that'll be the one. so yeah, I definitely find that agents often will try to negotiate with their clients to be more flexible about what they want just so that they can see different options and open their, maybe open the client's mind to different possibilities, but also like they just want to close. Incentive alignment always bothered me between agents and buyers, like even in sellers too. It's it doesn't,

Colin: Yeah.

CJ: The incentives are certainly not aligned.

Colin: That's the house. That's the house update. What do you, is there anything else that you're working? I know you've been working so much on this messages stuff, but anything else you're building?

CJ: In any home services, the success of the business is all about gross margin. Basically like, how much profit can you make based on. How you're pricing and how you're optimizing for the time that you're spending at the place and supplies and everything. And so we've also been working on this massive, gross margin calculator that takes into account, like labor that's happening and also supplies that we're buying and, We have a cost analysis thing that looks at discounting and, a whole bunch of other stuff. And so that's been another piece of the puzzle is just like starting to track all of those different, expenses and costs and figure out what our true picture is per project. So a lot of boring accounting. Type like crud stuff, but I think we've got some cool integrations coming down the pipe where Many of our suppliers will give us like rough PDFs that are pretty gnarly And so we're hoping to try to use some LLMs to just give it a PDF and try to get some structured JSON back so we'll see how that works out, but That's that's it on, on our side. It sounds like you've been working a bit on the calendar, the booking software for booking conference rooms. How's that going?

Colin: So I had abandoned it because we figured out. So we use a company called Robin and we've discovered they had a free plan if we deleted a bunch of our members who never booked conference rooms. And so we just stay under that limit. And we just say if you really need a conference room, we'll add you, but we've got to stay into this limit. And I logged in yesterday to update an iPad that just wasn't working and they have decided to get rid of their free plan.

CJ: oh my gosh. Okay.

Colin: I don't know, I'm going back and forth. I think I still agree with the idea that I should not build co working software. but I think there's room for purely meeting room software. And each room is tied to a Google calendar. Each. Calendar is tied to an iPad and then it just renders it and you can book it on the iPad. That's what the dream has always been and that's one feature of Robin. So Robin went upstream. They became this hot desking check in big company tool for hey, you have a guest or you have a certain hot desk today or you've got mail In the mail room and you have a COVID screen, all these different things. We only want the meeting room piece. So I've been watching the coworking software. There's like a coworking software group where it's more proof that we shouldn't build all the other stuff. Cause like everyone's using a different payment provider. They have different door systems. They have different, like we bill on the first, third and fifth day. like it's like the weirdest rules that like we only bill on one day per month. We use Stripe for that. We're not going to change that, but I need to have a solution by the 15th of April. and it might even just be like a green red toggle button to start with until we can get like user accounts and all that stuff. But, yeah, Sometimes decisions get made for you.

CJ: What is like the first level of the Robin plan? Like it, you have to talk to sales or something, or?

Colin: we used to pay for it. It's one of those things where it looks like people notice it when it's not there, but we were paying like, I think it was like 2, 000 a year or something for three rooms. So I think it would be like, it's such a. inexpensive thing like I can say that because we can we are capable of building these things but like It feels like it's it wasn't worth it when we're full and maybe now that we are full again Maybe it's worth just thinking about paying for it again Because if I divide that by months and I divide it by my like time Like how much I get paid and all that it's is it really worth my time? I think if I do this I have to consider whether or not I could spin it up as like a sass that's like You know Is it worth it if it's 30 bucks a month, and people just do that? Cause that would be like, what, 360 a year for people to do. So we'll see. Cause I think there's a lot of people who honestly do this for their house and, small coworking spaces that don't want to use software. The tricky thing is that this is a feature of most coworking software out there. do you need it for just an office that you have? Do you want it for. a room in your house, whatever that might be. I need to think about it a little bit more.

CJ: we have a conference room at the office that we just set up recently as like a room that is bookable and Google calendar or whatever. But because I'm remote I have no idea how they're actually handling when they want to book it in real time and just be like, I'm taking the, I'm taking the room for the next hour and I don't know how they. Look at if it's booked or not for the next hour, I think the other thing too, that might be interesting is you could sell it as like a package like buy it for 2, 000 this year and you get an iPad mini or something, and then just

Colin: Or it could be like a once product. It's here you go. You paid for it

CJ: Yeah, exactly. Totally. That might be interesting. Yeah.

Colin: is that I'm also thinking about doing, we can, I might as well say it here. Cause if I don't say it, I might not do it, but I'm thinking about. Building, the name that I have for it right now is Cal CalWIN, which is just the Tailwind calendar, but like with all of the full hooks, and JavaScript and stuff built in for Tailwind specifically. 'cause I need it and the ui, it does exist in Tailwind ui. I don't need to go do all that. They actually have a new template that's coming out that I'm really excited about too. But, what's it called? It's called Catalyst. But, yeah, I think having an open source thing that would be fun to release as a calendar plugin for tailwinds, and then I would use it myself inside of this thing. whether it's maybe the whole thing's open source and I don't try to charge for it, I don't know, cause maybe people will help maintain it if that way.

CJ: we use full calendar and I don't know how much we style it with tailwind, but it's not like.

Colin: It's not

CJ: The default is not Tailwind.

Colin: or something like that.

CJ: yes. There is definitely something

Colin: Are you guys using tailwind for everything else?

CJ: We are, yeah. This is definitely one of the special snowflake things in the app that are, I think we do have CSS, we write like CSS to style, like to hide certain buttons or to color the weekends or to color the whatever. it's also not free. we pay for some sort of license. it has a free trial. So as long, I think as long as you're not selling it or something, then,

Colin: Nice Yeah, so we'll see. I know we brought this one up a lot over the last couple of the last So it feels like a thing. I've had it on my list of Oh, I should build that thing. And then we're like, Oh, we found the free plan. I can mark this off my to do list as if I had done it. And then it sneaks back onto the list, but I totally get it. I think that this goes back to what we talked about before though, is that if you're thinking about building something, I know there's so many people out there who want to build something and create something, especially with the number of layoffs and things. So many of the companies that we were around in coming up the Airbnb era of software, they all have gone upmarket and there's this giant gaping hole of good software that does one thing very well and, doesn't require procurement and a sales team. So you know, what does intercom today look like if you were to start it over from scratch?

CJ: 100%. along those lines, an update for buckets, I was having an issue where, first of all, we went and tried like a whole bunch of data providers, like connecting to Plaid or connecting to MX or connecting to FinCity or connecting to whatever, Stripe, to get financial data, like transaction data and balances, basically. It's a hot mess for sure, like there's just so many different providers and none of them give you all the things. I want to see crypto, I want to see in, brokerage accounts, 401k, stock accounts, property, checking accounts, credit cards, like all of the transactions from all of those things. And also the balances for all those things, and there is no one stop shop today. Stripe claims to be that, and they do a pretty good job, but there is a giant hole in their integration where if you, connect to any kind of account that is not a credit card account or bank account, if it disconnects, there's no way to reconnect it other than just like creating a whole entirely separate new one, and there's no way to de dupe them.

Colin: Yeah. I found this when I was doing, like frantically trying to fill out stuff to get pre approval for the house offer, cause what we were dumb and like when we lost the house the first time, we didn't think let's just get pre approved anyway and then we'll be ready. So we got ready fast, but I had, I went through multiple firms to get different offers. And It was so painful to be like, okay, I need to go like why isn't there a common app or a Vault that is like my financial or even I think about this for medical too That they just plug into and they have my entire history and I don't need to like Go download the last 60 days of bank statements from every account you own and then go find all these like retirement accounts and things. I'm like, I'm not draining my retirement account to buy this house. So I don't really know why you need that other than like net worth, cause I know we've looked at some of these tools for know your customer type stuff like KYC stuff, but even being able to just verify net worth income, assets, stuff like that. It feels like there should be a thing for that. Even for yourself like I think that's how we think about it with buckets. It's like what buckets of money savings retirement emergency fund And then in that maybe category with Josh is like maybe I want to buy a house or maybe I want To quit my job, right? It's like thinking about those what those maybes are So early days still in FinTech, which is crazy to think of

CJ: Yeah. That might be one interesting feature of maybe might be tell me how much I could get pre approved for, like roughly

Colin: And then get a pre approved through it. Like we're going to send all your data

CJ: yes. Yes. Then they can sell it to mortgage

Colin: and then they make money through mortgage brokers. Yeah.

CJ: Yeah. yeah. Interesting. I don't know. something that, so Nicole and I, we've talked about this a bunch too, that like we use YNAB for our budgeting and, we go over our grocery budget every single month. just because random stuff ends up in there or whatever, or, I don't know. We're just being like, we're not being as disciplined as we should be. And so this month we're like, we're not going over a single penny on the grocery budget, but something that I wanted to do, is look at the L3 transaction data and try to figure out, can I use the target API and the whole foods API in the, Walmart API and the Haniford API and Costco API to pull in what are the exact foods that we're buying at all these places? Or what are the groceries we're buying? And is there a way we can price match at different places to try to optimize, spend for. Our family groceries, because there's, probably yeah, eight different grocery stores that we go to, and surely we're spending too much at one of them for something that we could get cheaper at somewhere else.

Colin: Interesting.

CJ: Definitely, over, over optimizing

Colin: might spend more money building that than saving.

CJ: Yeah. Yeah,

Colin: and when you say that, the idea that as long as we can categorize things properly, like for me, I don't necessarily want to obsess over every penny. I want to know, if we think about a budget, all I just want to know is the bucket. did we barely make a dent in the bucket? If there's a grocery bucket, is it an overflowing bucket? Does it need two buckets? And what did I put the target on? Cause we did, I did open a PR for adding goals and that kind of made me think a little bit, I did a really naive approach to goals, which is just having a denominator in general, but. When I think about goals and what I loved about bank simple when they were around was the ability to create target goals. And so you could say, I want to go to Hawaii in December, it's going to cost this much. And then they backtrack it and say, Okay, if you want to be on target, by then you need to save this much aside. And as you and you can either automatically move money into that little bucket, it Or you can just manually do it and update your progress and it would show you your wins. so for now I think it's just cool to see, like my emergency fund goal is this over this. but if we do goals over time, you can start to see Oh, my emergency fund goal was a thousand dollars and then 5, 000 and you can paint a little like milestone history for yourself.

CJ: Totally. Yes. I didn't see that you opened that PR so it's merged now. yeah, I love that. That's so cool. That's like exactly what I would want from goals too. Like just a simple, something simple.

Colin: we'll start simple, but I do want to do the more dynamic goals of just okay, here's where it gets a little bit more complicated if you don't, if you're not the bank, like with bank simple, it was the bank. And so It could move the money around and hide it from you. But then also when you were ready to like book the trip, you could say my card is now pulling from that bucket. I mean you could just move the money into your main account once you hit the goal and pay for the thing. But, yeah, interesting.

CJ: One thing that we've been chatting about recently is like needs versus wants versus emergency fund. And are those three different buckets or are they like, okay, maybe wants is a separate thing from needs and emergencies is like a need. Maybe if some, a need comes up that technically is an emergency, but it doesn't feel like an emergency. Like we had to replace a boiler and. it was like 17 K or something. And so it's okay, does that come from like the emergency fund? Does it come from the wants fund or is there some other thing? should we sell stock to pay for that thing? Or should we like not sell stock or, do you make your emergency fund drop down and then fill it back up or I don't know. Yeah. trying to think about, think about that a little bit. I guess we're also in a very privileged spot to not have to. Touch our needs, wants, or emergency fund very often. And so it's just huh, when we do, what, how do we want to think about it? Or what do we, like, where do we want to pull it from?

Colin: does not feel like, like wants to me are things that you don't need to buy a boiler. Sounds like you need to buy it. And it sounds like it might've been an emergency. Some people advocate for an, like a, an oh shit fund.

CJ: Yeah.

Colin: so emergency, it depends on if that is an emergency, it's good to have, but a lot of people think of an emergency fund as like what expenses you need to live for three months, six months, whatever that ends up being, and you eventually get to maybe a year. That would be amazing. Some people want that in their brokerage instead of in savings. but then having that other fund of the things break, type of thing. Honestly, even for a lot of those things, every time people are like, Oh, it's an unexpected thing. It's if there's one unexpected thing every year, it's not unexpected. it's now expected and we just got to save for it, plan for

CJ: I always felt bad about keeping an emergency fund in cash, but Vanguard just launched this new thing called like cash plus or something. It's like the Vanguard version of a high yield savings account. And yeah, I'm like, Oh man, this is going to be awesome. I love Vanguard, hashtag VTSAX for life. I set it all up and it has this weird, caveat that you can't deposit or withdraw in the same way that you can to other accounts on Vanguard, at least not yet. And so when I go to interact with it, the only way I can get money in is a mobile deposit. Like what? Like you want me to write a check to

Colin: It's like a forced savings account. Yeah.

CJ: Yeah, exactly. okay, this is, yeah,

Colin: I use one finance and I mean their savings is 5%. So like it feels pretty good to do that right now. When things go down in interest rates, then maybe it doesn't feel as good to keep it in cash, but

CJ: Before my thought was in my mind. I was able to juggle having half of the emergency fund just yellowed and stuff in Robin Hood and then half of the emergency fund in cash, like in a savings account. But Nicole prefers it a different way. And so I'm trying to adjust my mental model and come to some middle ground, which feels like high yield savings account is probably the safer way to go for those two things. But,

Colin: totally.

CJ: All right. maybe we should wrap it

Colin: I think so. We covered a lot of ground.

CJ: right on, as always, you can head over to buildandlearn. dev. We'll drop links to things that we talked about. And, if you have an opportunity. Dear listener, head over to your podcast player, drop in five star review and tell your friends about the show

Colin: We'll see you next time.

CJ: by friends. All audio, artwork, episode descriptions and notes are property of CJ Avilla, Colin Loretz, for Build and Learn, and published with permission by Transistor, Inc. Broadcast by