It is featured on the front page of numerous online news portals.
It is the first ever financial widget that created a buzz in the local personal finance blogsphere.
It is a very useful web app that display the latest and most popular unit trust fund prices developed by Jason Khong.
I am going to meet Jason in June to discuss about what we can do for the general public in terms of personal financial tools development. He works as a software developer at Signalpoint Sdn. Bhd (a startup that provides unit trust investment monitoring service) after graduated mid last year from Monash with a computer science degree.
Here is the widget that you can integrate in your website.
A fun fact is that Jason started working on the FundPrice.my project in March 2009 while on Revolution Tour, doing a lot of work in the hotel or in cafes, while between concert events. Not a very traditional development environment!
Here is an email interview with Jason Khong to let you learn something behind the scene.
KCLau: How does fundprice.my come to life?
Jason: The idea for fundprice.my came because itâ€™s becoming a hassle to get the latest unit trust fund prices. News sources would publish all funds (thatâ€™s over 500 funds) and itâ€™ll take endless scrolling up and down to find the ones I want. Going to individual unit trust company websites would mean going to 4 or 5 different sites before I can see all the prices Iâ€™m interested in. Not a very efficient thing to do. Fundprice.my was started to solve this simple problem, nothing too ambitious, just provide a more time saving method for unit trust investors.
Fundprice.my launched on 5th April 2009, and has been growing since then, adding new features like the widget and categories, based on userâ€™s feedback. What you see now is still a work in progress, and will likely continue to evolve as more people use it.
KCLau: You created Fundprice.my, which is a website that comes with an easily integrated widget that provides the latest unit trust funds price updates. What is the biggest achievement with Fundprice.my so far? I can see that the widget appears in some prominent online news sites and blogs.
Jason: Fundprice.my is having a really exciting journey! And itâ€™s still less than 2 months old at this point. Personally, the most rewarding result is to see all the programming effort turn out to be something useful for the general public.
The biggest achievement (in terms of traffic) would probably be signing up major online news media like theedgemalaysia.com, btimes.com.my, hmetro.com.my and bharian.com.my. With these news sites carrying our widget, anyone who has selected favorite funds at least once, will be able to quickly monitor their selections while reading the news at any of these sites, without even having to come to fundprice.my. Weâ€™re hoping to add more, so if your favorite site doesnâ€™t carry the widget yet, please email them (and us) and ask for it!
I really appreciate all the blogs that have included our widget in their sidebars too. Even though blog traffic is much less than online news sites, itâ€™s really a much better reflection of whether weâ€™re able to serve the needs of the general public user. One of the earliest blogs to put up the widget was malpf.com. Iâ€™ve since had the privilege of meeting up with Michael (the blogger behind malpf.com), and weâ€™ve had some really good discussions from there. Another great experience was when Farrah from bijakringgit.com added us. That led to the Malay translation of the widget that now runs on Harian Metro and Berita Harian sites. Thereâ€™s also many more personal finance, unit trust agents, and personal blogs who have added us and given us feedback on it. These are the ones that really drive the direction for fundprice.myâ€™s development.
All in all, according to Google Analytics, we managed to serve over 100k visits in one day, just yesterday (26th May 2009), through the news sites, blogs and fundprice.my. That is a very exciting momentum for a brand new site. If even a tiny percentage of that benefited from having unit trust fund prices at their finger tips, weâ€™d have added value to a few thousand people, and thatâ€™s just such a rewarding thought!
Whatâ€™s the benefit for you?
KCLau: How do you think casual internet users like us can benefit from Fundprice.my?
Jason: Well, many casual Internet users probably have some investments in unit trust, or have heard of and are considering investing in it. The most basic form of monitoring is to at least know the price of unit trust funds, and the direction of where itâ€™s heading.
Of course, filtering the funds via â€œfavoritesâ€ help, because itâ€™s quite impossible to keep an eye on 500+ funds. Choose the ones youâ€™re invested in, or are interested in, and see how it performs over the next few months.
One of the key requirements at the conception of the idea was to include sparklines (the tiny graphs) with the unit trust prices. So many times we see daily prices without a context of how it relates over time. The sparklines show at a glance the price movement over a month, and gives a better context of how the fund has been doing. Another very interesting sidenote, is that the sparklines can also show that some funds move in the exact same pattern â€“ makes me wonder if those funds have the exact same investments! It also very clearly illustrates the difference between different categories — say a bond fund vs. an equity fund. Have a look and see, you might notice other interesting movements.
Future plan of Fundprice.my?
KCLau: I can see that Fundprice.my is getting the attention of unit trust investors. What is your future plan? Is it going to be monetized and turned into a business?
Jason: Yes, it has been growing, and I really thank God for that! Fundprice.my has a bright future, and a lot of plans are still being laid out. For one, many new features are on the way â€“ extra gadgets so you can monitor it in your desktop or iphone, or over email â€“ all additional channels, so that anyone who wants to know the latest unit trust prices will have an easy way of doing so.
One thing remains certain â€“ fundprice.my will always remain free for the public to access when it comes to latest fund prices. That was the original objective of the site, and no matter how it changes, it will still live up to its name â€œfundprice.myâ€ and solve the problem of getting daily price updates.
As for monetizing and making it into a business â€“ well, if the right idea comes along, why not? Right now the focus isnâ€™t so much on monetizing it yet. First priority now is solve basic problems that general public is having with unit trust prices. Then next will be to introduce premium features that will be more â€œconvenienceâ€ than basic needs. Those premium features could then help to fund the project and support it over the long term.
But for now, the focus is to add value and grow the community of users.
KCLau: As an internet marketer and entrepreneur, I am eager to learn how you manage to successfully get the words out and generate the buzz about Fundprice.my. Whatâ€™s your marketing secret?
Jason: I donâ€™t know if I have any marketing secrets â€“ Iâ€™m still trying to learn from the experienced pros like you! To be honest, this is the first project Iâ€™m doing thatâ€™s getting such a tremendous buzz in such a short time.
One thing that I have learnt though â€“ is that most techniques that you read in Internet marketing books & blog can actually work, but only if you put them into action. The point being that itâ€™s not the â€œsecretsâ€, but someone doing something about it.
The thing that I practiced a lot for this project was to just open up my browser, surf around news sites and blogs, and write them an email about it. Of course, while checking out a blog, itâ€™s important to be selective and to make sure that the blog content is related to unit trust investing or finance. Itâ€™s the same thing with the news sites. A lot can be achieved with just a simple email. Another interesting fact: I wrote a lot of those emails while watching F1 races Usually somewhere between lap 15 to 45 where thereâ€™s less action. It doesnâ€™t actually take a lot of time to do that, just go ahead and get started with it!
Thatâ€™s the main marketing approach I guess â€“ I actually come from a product development background. Like all developers, we have the â€œbuild a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your doorâ€ mentality. Hopefully fundprice.my has something better to offer to the public, and the long-term growth of the project will depend on it continuing to be a better mousetrap!
In summary, fundprice.my is really a simple site with the simple goal of helping people overcome problems with getting unit trust prices. Hopefully the growth and momentum indicates that weâ€™re heading in the right direction. Please do check it out at http://fundprice.my, and let us know how we can continue to simplify the investing experience. Thanks for your time!