Windows 9 Metro speculations

Microsoft has forgotten desktop users in Windows 8. You have probably heard that sentence dozen times if you’re professionally near Windows user world or some sort of technology enthusiast. Eighth edition of the Redmond giant user operating system is indeed very focused on mobile devices. The company has overslept and failed to notice the fast launch of mobile market and in the end decided to catch up with a release of single piece of software that would fit all personal computing devices ranging from smartphone to a multi screen desktop. A move so bold that even Apple, company with leading innovation id badge of past couple of years didn’t risk it.

Maybe Cupertino competitors knew something Microsoft management did not. I have been following Windows since version 3.0 and mobile operating systems from the very first incarnations and I honestly think Windows 8 is a good, mature and well designed software for tablets and smartphones. Sure a few things could be fixed here or there but it’s fast, stable and looks like a giant leap ahead from version 7.5. This is also desktop and laptop OS and here where doubts begin.

As most of the seasoned PC users I was outraged by the fact that the Start button was gone yet I’ve decided to put some effort into learning new interface without the Start button functionality. Navigation is possible and it could even be efficient but beyond a desperate need to make a uniform smartphone – desktop software I just cannot justify the reason to remove this crucial feature. Apparently I’m not alone and I must be a member of vast majority since the vendor has decided to restore the button regardless of previous bold and careless statements. This change feels like it came way too late and bad aftertaste would stick.

Desktop unfriendly interface also hinders upgrade from XP rate despite the fact that the OS last day of support is April 8th. The situation is dramatic enough for Microsoft that one of the patches for XP issued in March would remind on 8th of each month that the support is over and no patches would be developed for vulnerabilities discovered past that date. I’ve shown 8.1 to a couple of XP users considering an upgrade and their responses could be summarized in just 2 words ‘No way!’.

I think the manufacturer starts to realize that touch screen optimized user interface is a bad idea for desktop and most laptops as well. Hence the speculations on Windows 9 dropping Metro interface and focusing back on desktop users as well as offering a direct upgrade path from XP.

Tenantify – Disrupt the $1B Tenant Screening Industry

When I became a first-time landlord in 2012, I struggled to establish a good process to select a tenant. Many of my friends suggested me to pull credit report, but I was not satisfied with the answer. After all, I want to make sure that my tenant pays rent on time every month. A credit score indicates the track record of a tenant, but it reveals little on the tenant’s current ability to pay. Only if I can verify that the tenant has a full-time job with a stable income…

This set off my journey to find a good solution to help landlords like me.  After many landlord interviews, I began to understand that many landlords skip employment and income verification because of its complex. For example, if landlords want to do employment verification properly, they first need to verify the employer phone number provided by tenant; then they need to call the employer. Some employers will provide the confirmation willingly, while others will require a faxed request or outright refuse the request. Income verification is even messier. Landlords first need to ask for a copy of paystub or bank statement. Then they need to read through the document and identify the net income amount. Finally, they need to make sure that the document is not forged. The final step is tricky because a fraudster can easily download a copy of fake template online.

After understanding the landlord pain points, we started Tenantify. Tenantify is a scalable way to assist landlord with employment and income verification. Over the years, we have established a solid process to handle all kinds of situations in employment verification calls. Moreover, we developed a technology to directly integrate with many banks. If a tenant gives us the permission, we can pull a bank statement directly from the bank. This not only completely prevents fraudulent bank statement, but also allows us to pick out the work-related income with our computing engine.

After a soft launch last year, we have begun to gain steam. Every day, we process hundreds of verification requests and have many happy customers. In a way, we are fundamentally disrupting how tenant screening is done.  From a micro level, however, we are happy to make rental transaction happen, one landlord and tenant at a time.