Naive Optimism: What Your First Bank Account and Your Website Have In Common

“You want anything to drink? Tea? Coffee? Water?”

The smile on your face feels frozen, slightly awkward, but you say water is fine. And hope you don’t seem as jittery as you feel. While you wait, you clasp your hands in your lap to keep them still.

“Thanks,” you say. A little too brightly.

They’re back and talking, behind that desk there. You’re nodding along, wondering when it’ll happen, if they’re going to tell you you’re not suitable after all. But they don’t, they say you can have all these options you never expected, and you go ahead and agree because hey, you can right? You’re ready, right?

They hand you a contract, pages of terms and conditions, which you dutifully pretend to read. You definitely try. There are things that look like words on them, and if you could just get that hammering to stop for long enough you might understand what they said. The hammering of your heart, that is.

Eventually you internally shrug, and say yes it looks fine, no you don’t have any questions, and sign it. Congratulations, you have your first adult checking account with overdraft and credit card.

I picked on banks, because most of us use them somehow. Or have. Or have heard about them.

We all know what it’s like to not quite know what we’re agreeing to there, and hope its good. Got a credit card? You remember the giddy excitement at YAY having a Real Grown Up credit card. Free money, if you didn’t learn better elsewhere. Legitimacy, if you did.

And sure, you maybe don’t have the best interest rate but what would that matter? (Oh naivety) That overdraft looks pretty sweet, huh?

Off you skip, merrily into your adult life, and only later realise where your errors in understanding were. Maybe after a small mistake, maybe after ten.

Next time around, it’s a very different experience. But we’ll talk about that another day.

Your website is like that first adult checking account, that first credit card, that first overdraft approval.

You know you need one. So you go out and get one.

You probably don’t look too closely at the particulars, so long as it looks good to you and has the things a website should have.

You don’t know what questions to ask or what you should be wary of.

You sure as heck don’t know what makes a good one from a bad one, except for odd snippets of information you’ve heard from your Dad the accountant or that one guy on the internet that seemed to know what he was talking about.

Then later, you learn, that it wasn’t quite what you’d hoped for and didn’t exactly do what you needed it to.

Maybe that’s just how websites are?

Maybe you just need to know a little more going in.

Maybe, you need someone to help you figure out what you really need, then help you get exactly that.