August 16, 2010
by Bill DeRouchey

Introducing Bill DeRouchey

Bill DeRouchy posing in front of a wall of leaves.

Banking shouldn’t be difficult. Banks shouldn’t be your enemy. Like too many American industries, the finance industry now wields confusion as a weapon against their customers. I’m proud to announce that I’m joining a team that’s building a simplified banking service that really delivers a service, not yet another source of confusion and frustration.

Hi, I’m Bill DeRouchey, the newest member of the BankSimple team. I’ll be working to make sure the BankSimple experience lives up to our promises. In industry-speak, I’ll be the Creative Director, focusing on our user experience and brand. Stripping away the jargon, it’ll be my job to uphold the “simple” half of BankSimple. It’s essential that everything we do and say as a company feels as effortless to our customers as having a conversation. It’s my mission to hold us to that standard.

It’s my firm belief that one of the keys to success is avoiding the artificial, uniform face that most companies present. Success means being an accessible collection of genuine people that incidentally comprise a company. That’s why the idea of joining this team captivated me. It’s not just the amazing technology, or the product ideas that will rethink banking. It’s the willingness of Josh, Shamir, and Alex to speak publicly and bluntly about tricky subjects like banking and personal finance. They speak about the world of money like real people, and that made me want to join the team.

Most recently, I directed the interaction design team at Ziba Design, a globally-respected design firm focusing on consumer experiences. At Ziba, I was designing products, software, and websites. During that time, I served two years on the global board of directors of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), where my primary contribution was acting as co-chair of the Interaction10 conference. I frequently speak at conferences on experience design topics and have, amongst other subjects, researched the history of the button.

One topic that I’ve talked about over the last couple of years is particularly relevant to BankSimple: the question of how to design humanity into products and services. (You can view a talk I gave on this subject at Business to Buttons, about halfway down the page.) Essentially, I believe that companies can connect with customers by letting the personality of their employees shine through, communicating informally, and treating customers as peers. A great example is Zappos. There’s no question that when you interact with Zappos as a company, you’re interacting with real people. That’s hard to say about most businesses.

Now, instead of just talking about how more humane corporate design and communication would be a great idea, I now have the opportunity to make this happen from the start of a brand new company. As BankSimple grows, aspects of our character and personality will continue to shine through, as they already have on BankSimple’s blog.

Be reassured that being more personable doesn’t mean being silly. Typically, banking and other financial concerns are treated with all gravity and seriousness, and for good reason: there are few things more private, personal, and essential than money. That said, companies can be serious without being paternal, and straightforward while being supportive.

I hope you join us as we redefine banking. I plan on being very accessible to discuss product features, ideas, and improvements. Fundamentally, we’re reconsidering how we relate to money. Doing so is going to be exciting, challenging, and fun.

Thanks for reading.