Google Analytics is the famous option. And probably the most fun. I really like watching the “realtime” view on the world map.
The data is certainly imperfect, but in theory, you can see what pages users visit, how long they stay, whether they scroll, what cities they’re visiting from, what source brought them to you, whether they’re new users or repeat visitors, whether they’re on phones or regular computers, etc.
Google Console is perhaps less well known and centers less around what people are doing on your site and more around what brings them to your site in the first place (and how Google itself views your content). I suppose this is the service for all the people obsessed with SEO?
I’m personally not trying to optimize anything at the moment, so I mostly just check to see what search terms people are using and which ones cause clicks and how that shifts over time.
Note: as far as I can tell, it only starts tracking this data once you enable Google Console, so if you’ve just set up your site and you’re not really diving into any sort of metrics yet, you should still consider getting this set up from the get-go so you can look back at the data later on.
Also, because I’m not trying to do anything in this space, I actually haven’t read much about what’s even going on here, so these are just my vague impressions:
There are strategies for having your content be more likely to be viewed as relevant by Google’s search algorithm, and it can take time to cause changes in Google’s view of your site because it seems like you’re at the mercy of somewhat random allocation of Google’s crawling/recrawling capacity over weeks and months.
If you already have high quality content that you think will be viewed favorably by the crawlers (and that your pages have the right sort of metadata), then making sure that Google has a sitemap with all your pages is perhaps the next step. (You can see how many of your pages are being included or excluded, which have been crawled, etc.)
(One thing that seems a little odd is that clicks will happen on pages that don’t really seem to be coming up in search results (not getting “impressions”) — not sure what that means about what’s typically happening. One thought I’ve had is that Chrome sometimes guesses at what you’re looking for without you needing to complete the official google search (maybe I’m thinking of cases where you have the site in your browser history?), so maybe those queries don’t end up counting?)
Libraries are wonderful places — beyond just checking out books, they often offer classes, are a hub for finding out about local offerings, legal support, etc. And they’re a place you can work without noise or an expectation to buy anything.
I have many library memberships from different communities and I can take advantage of varied online offerings ranging from audio books or e-books to digital collections of magazines (e.g. consumer reports) and academic journals. So whenever I move, I go check out my local branch and add a new membership to my collection.
(Also, even if your local branch is small, they will often have a program where you can request a book from anywhere within the system and they'll send you an email when it's ready and waiting for you at your branch).
(And also, some have a specific branch with household tools—a "Tool Lending Library" with shovels, drills, crowbars, etc. so you can tackle projects at home without needing to invest in tools that you might only need once!)
This is the place I send people to get started with
Note: not every library offers hoopla, which is another reason to collect library cards along your life’s adventures.
(there’s also an app!)
The Way Back Machine "Internet Archive"
It's a nonprofit dedicated to automatically archiving websites — you can use it to try to find content from an older version of a website that has subsequently changed or been removed.
The Wayback Machine is an initiative of the Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Other projects include Open Library & archive-it.org.
This is a similar service:
I have a board with one of my besties and it’s been a really wonderful place for us to share longer-form content and handle threading and topic changes and photos and links to things in a way that was becoming pretty impossible with just text messaging.
Almost put this in coordination/teams because we use it all the time. The sad news is that they’re being acquired by Adobe, which often marks the end of innovation 😕
Essentially any music at the tip of your fingers. Surprisingly good "radio" playlists that start from a song you're into. Excellent curated playlists (e.g. "mood booster" or "chill vibes" or "dinner with friends").
You can have up to 6 accounts on a single household/family plan.
You can navigate around the globe, listening in wherever strikes your fancy.
(also good for reading before bed when they might nod off and need a recap, or where they can’t start when you do, but can see that you’ve begun reading and can hurry up and join in).
I got started because my family is often on different continents and it worked well for free international texting. It supports group chats with photos and video and easy “reply” to specific messages. I love seeing updates from my scattered family members trickle in as people see beautiful sunsets or eat delicious foods or catch their dog doing something adorable. (Bonus: they now feature end-to-end encryption)
Update: my family switched to Messages because we now all have iphones, there was some concern about whatsapp’s connection to fb, and the live photos are clutch for my dad’s obsession with birds 🐦
Niche usage for managing teams when doing construction or otherwise needing to show people things irl.
(for overcoming the auto system volume lowering on a Mac during facetime calls)
Really great way to keep things moving when schedules don’t align and also great for content that you might want to share with others down the road. I’ve had friends use them for explaining complicated spreadsheets that are usually a pain to revisit months or years down the line.
Public libraries often have a bunch of their print books which are useful when you’re e.g. starting a nonprofit, but their online resources are also good.
Legal Encyclopedia, Legal Forms, Law Books, & Software
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If you need to translate content in another language, google does a great job within your browser. If you have content from Slack or Whatsapp, you can open those apps via your browser and let Google Translate do its work!
For phrases: linguee.com maps bilingual newspaper articles to each other. You sometimes have to dig to find the option (maybe it’s that you have to scroll down past the suggested translation?). This is how a friend of mine finds weird science phrases when she needs them. They also show you the source articles so you can get at country specific things by checking if the newspapers are in the right region.
For more human translations, try phrasing your search in a way that might show up on discussion boards, e.g. “como se dice [phrase in spanish] en ingles”
Also: google translate on your phone can read text via the camera and translate e.g. a menu in real time
My friends analyzed voice-to-text transcription and found Otter to be the best.
Podcast transcription services comparison
In case you haven't heard, I started a podcast about 15 months ago called Clearer Thinking with Spencer Greenberg . The format is that we invite brilliant guests to bring 4 or 5 "ideas that matter", and then we aim to have a fun, intellectual discussion about those ideas.
Importantly, there’s both a critic score and an audience score (a few of my favorites are really low on the former and really high on the latter). And there are also convenient lists and filters for finding something good on a particular streaming service. (Though Reelgood is a better dedicated service for narrowing options to your particular streaming options—I just wish they had both of the rottentomatoes scores.)
You can log what services you have so that it only shows stuff streaming for free.
You can also log which movies you you’ve already seen and what movies you want to see.
Reelgood | Where to Stream Movies & TV Shows on Every Service
Feedback Browse, search, and watch TV & Movies from over 150 services, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, Prime Video, Free Services and more! LEARN MORE ADD YOUR SERVICES Top 10 This Week Don't miss the most popular streaming content across every service.
Good Judgment Inc
Copyright © 2020, by Good Judgment Inc. Good Judgment®, Superforecaster®, and Superforecasting® are registered trademarks of Good Judgment Inc. This presentation is solely for informational purposes. The information contained herein are not to be construed as legal, business, investment or tax advice.
US Economic Experts Panel - IGM Forum
The IGM explores economists' views on vital policy issues via our US and European Economic Experts Panels. We regularly poll over 80 economists on a range of timely and relevant topics. Panelists not only have the opportunity to respond to a poll's statements, but an opportunity to comment and provide additional resources, if they wish.
what3words is an app that has assigned a three word sequence to every 10’x10’ square in a grid that covers the whole world (available in a number of languages as well). I found out about it on the way to not-
Note: I had a hard time with it when there was no reception, but I don’t know how gps/my iPhone’s built in compass is meant to work without service.
5 free pages (and maybe 5 more if you join via a referral link?)
Allows you to easily send or request $$ from your friends or housemates for splitting bills (I've heard of other services for this that my friends like, e.g. CashApp)
Low fees, automatically gets less aggressive over time.
Consumer Reports is a nonprofit and is the most reputable company in the space — they care about reliability and safety and try to stay at arms length from manufacturers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Reports
They’re perhaps most well known for their thorough annual ratings of new and used cars (but they’re also the best for appliances). It’s almost unthinkable to buy a car without checking that year/make/model with CR. (Anecdote: I once bought a Honda Odyssey for a group I was working with; CR said that year had bad transmissions, but the seller had replaced the transmissions just a year or two prior, so I went ahead and bought it anyway—within a year (which admittedly involves hauling a fair amount of drywall into the Oakland hills), the transmission failed again: my guess is that they replaced it with another one from that year. Moral of the story: trust Consumer Reports when they tell you that a particular year has a particular problem.)
You should be able to get access to a digital version of the product ratings that are published in their monthly magazine through your library membership (e.g. Ebscohost). Some libraries offer a subscription to their website as well (another reason to collect memberships!)
They also have some amount of free purchasing advice online, e.g. this guide for what month is best for buying particular products: https://www.consumerreports.org/shopping/best-time-to-buy-things/
Wirecutter: New Product Reviews, Deals, and Buying Advice
Reviews for the real world. Wirecutter is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more by Joshua Lyon Adult Fans of Lego, or AFOLs, are a growing number of enthusiasts who say that playing with Lego isn't just for kids.
Wirecutter (now owned by the NY Times and paid for via affiliate commissions when readers buy things + using a paywall for some content) isn't as reliable as Consumer Reports — they don't do as much testing and they seem to be less price sensitive (maybe in part because they are getting a % of the sale). But they're a good place to start when looking for objects you're interested in (they cover electronics, household furniture and kitchen supplies, even clothing and interesting toys and gifts; but for large appliances and car reliability ratings, you should definitely rely on Consumer Reports).
I also like their guides which can give you ideas for gifting or help you create a good emergency preparedness kit.
There are many different faces of America’s Test Kitchen: a quarterly magazine called “Cooks Illustrated,” a show called “Cooks Country” and a show/website/series of cookbooks under the “America’s Test Kitchen” brand. They’re like Consumer Reports, but for food and all related things.
Some portion of all of their offerings will contain product reviews of things like sous vide cookers or spatulas or knife sharpeners, “taste tests” of particular brands of things like black pepper or fish oil or chocolate chips, tips/techniques for frying taco shells or thinly slicing raw meat, and their main focus is the testing and development of foolproof recipes.
One thing that I really love about them is that they’re very explicit about what their target is, and they explain the ways that their experiments failed, such that if you actually would’ve preferred the crispier version of their chocolate chip cookies, you can follow that path instead of the one that led to the ones that were soft on the inside with a cracked outer layer that they were aiming for.
They try all sorts of things so that you don’t have to: vodka in their pie crust, mashed potatoes in their pizza crust, browned butter in their cookie dough. And they’re thorough enough that I can pretty much rely on them without needing to find something similar on the internet with a bunch of stars to make sure I’m on the right track.
Even for something as unique as homemade kimchi, their instructions led to fantastic results (though I think they might’ve made a salt conversion error when they copied the recipe from their Foolproof Preserving to their Cooking for Gut Health book because the original had the recipe denominated in Morton’s pickling salt which is much denser than the two main brands of kosher salt — I have the correct amounts on my
I used to gift the red three-ring binder version of the “America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook” which has now been out of print for a long time (you’ll probably find it at most of my friend’s houses). It might still be the best combination of format and content, but there are newer ones that might be more relevant at this point. This is the original source of my
I also have the tome that is The New Best Recipes from Cooks Illustrated (a little bit more like an encyclopedia — less accessible, but more thorough in the explanations of what worked and didn’t and with drawings instead of glossy photos).
And since I started needing to make specialized food, I’ve been really getting a lot of value out of the
Unfortunately, while the advent of online user reviews have made making purchasing decisions easier, they are also being exploited by unscrupulous companies who can pay for good reviews. ReviewMeta is a free tool that sifts through the reviews and outputs a report to help you determine the true score of any given product listed on Amazon.
ReviewMeta.com - Amazon Review Checker
Have you ever purchased a 5-star product on Amazon that turned out to be a complete piece of garbage? Sadly, virtually everyone has had this frustrating experience... and more than once! One of the reasons people love shopping on Amazon is that you can see all of the product ratings and reviews left by other shoppers.
Amazon price tracker, Amazon price history charts, price watches, and price drop alerts.
Our free Amazon price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop, helping you decide when to buy. Don't shop at Amazon Canada? Choose your preferred Amazon country here. Check out these recently popular deals on camelcamelcamel. See what Camel users have been buying lately!(more info) Big price drops!
camelcamelcamel shows you graphs of a product's price history over time and can give you a sense of whether you're overpaying for a product because the regular vendor is out of stock at the moment or whatever.
But you can also use it to ping you via email when a specific item you're interested in drops in price.
If you put something in your Amazon cart, whether you leave it there or save it for later, if you come back the next day and an item in your cart has dropped $32 in price, Amazon will show you an alert. This is probably not a very efficient method for looking for sales, but you could e.g. put your Christmas wish list in your cart and then periodically check in during Black Friday or Amazon prime day, scouting for big price drops.
They’ll let you set a price for an item you’re interested in, which will email you anytime the price on Amazon drops below that price.
This is the best place to check before buying an Apple product — it will tell you when each product was released and whether an update is expected soon.
MacRumors Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy iPhone, Mac, iPad
This page provides a product summary for each Apple model. The intent is to provide our best recommendations regarding current product cycles, and to provide a summary of currently available rumors for each model. This page is based on rumors and speculation and we provide no guarantee to its accuracy.
They produce their own prepared foods (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, etc) and they’re generally delicious, healthy, and reasonably priced, even for fancy things like exotic cheeses, cut flowers, or organic meats. Even their sweet treats are better than what you can find almost anywhere else.
If I could only shop at one grocery store, this would be it. (Their workers are friendly and well-treated, which is a bonus.)
See also: TJ’s section of as well as my actual TJ’s shopping list.
Furniture, Home Decor, Rugs, Unique Gifts | World Market
Shop World Market for top quality furniture, affordable home decor, imported rugs, curtains, unique gifts, food, wine and more - at the best values anywhere online.
A global import store with all sorts of things, from wall art and furniture, to dishes and toys, to (maybe my favorite) sweet and savory snacks from around the world. I sometimes daydream about having a party where we all just go and pick out dozens of exotic foods to try.
If you have a foreign friend living in the US, you might be able to surprise them with a favorite treat from home, and if you come home from a trip abroad and didn’t have enough room in your luggage to bring everyone foreign treats, you can sometimes fake it with a quick trip to Cost Plus World Market (which is a little bit sad, but still probably a good feature of the world).
I have a few particular items I source from there
Home Furnishings & Home Goods - Shop Online
Find affordable furniture and home goods at IKEA! Discover furnishings and inspiration to create a better life at home. Shop online or in store!
A Swedish furniture company with modern designs at very reasonable prices. Most things require assembly at home, but they also have lovely textiles (duvet covers, curtains, rugs) as well as dishware and home decor including art and lamps and plants.
Materials can vary and I would assume durability varies with it—when possible, I tend to avoid furniture made out of ~particle board. (But for a dorm room, it’s probably fine.)
Walking around their floor of sample display “rooms” is a pretty fun activity.
An impressive and secretive family-run Italian candy manufacturer (a real life Willy Wonka). They introduced the use of hazelnut as a cheaper alternative/additive to chocolate. They invented Nutella, Kinder surprise eggs (and the rest of the Kinder line), Raffaello coconut balls (particularly delicious stored in the freezer), Ferrero Roche, Ferrero Küsschen, even Tic tacs! (In the last ~five years they’ve been on an acquisition spree that boggles the mind 😬)
Instead of paying for international shipping by sending a package directly, or by having a vendor in the US ship it for you, consider using a service in the country where the recipient is located. For sending things to Germany, for example, you can purchase through amazon.de or ravensburger.de.
Often the selection will be different and sometimes the thing you want will not be available (or will be overpriced), but if the product is actually manufactured on that side of the world, there might be more options and better prices (Ravensburger puzzles is a perfect example — during the pandemic, there were zero puzzles available on the US website and only limited supply and high prices on amazon.com, but on the German equivalents, there was ample supply, low prices and often free shipping).
And if you don't speak the language of the country you're sending to, remember that Google Translate should be able to make the websites accessible to you anyway.
SFMOMA Museum Store
The SFMOMA Museum Store offers the finest selection of modern and contemporary art books, as well as innovative design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry and apparel, educational children's books and toys, posters and stationery, plus our exclusive line of SFMOMA signature products.
Two tips for the SFMoMA:
- If the item is out of your price range, use it as inspiration and look for something similar at other vendors.
- The international terminal of SFO has a brick and mortar store for in-person browsing.
MoMA Design Store | Modern and Contemporary Home Décor, Art and Accessories
Classic modern and cutting edge design products for adults and kids, including items produced exclusively for the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and items represented in its collection.
Etsy is a marketplace for individuals to sell their handmade wares (as well as resell antiques and other things). Some of the things are really lovely and the odds are much better that you’ll be able to find something unique or even something you can personalize.
I sometimes browse their stuff just to remind myself that there exists a world beyond Amazon.com. I have some really fun journaling/calendar/list-making stamps from there.
Cost Plus World Market
I’ve said more about Cost Plus above.
I use two primary methods of coming up with gifts:
- Practical life improvements:
- I pay attention to the person’s routines and look for places that they could be improved. If they have trouble sleeping, if they drink coffee, if they dislike shaving, if they have a commute, if they sit at their workstation all day, if they take a lot of calls, if they walk their dog, if they travel a lot, if they don’t have time for X (cooking, cleaning, shopping for clothes, fixing something in their house, setting up nice lighting, etc.), if they live in a place with harsh winters or hot summers, etc.
- Tons of things come up once I visit them in person (so you might want to take notes if you’re wanting to stick to the traditional gifting moments throughout the year); it can be hard to know what’s missing from afar.
- Things that spark joy:
- I look for things that spark joy for them as we interact over time.
- Maybe this is a particular hobby, maybe a love of animals, maybe a favorite movie or character from a book, maybe it’s an activity or a set of people to visit with or maybe something that communicates a type of care or affection.
- I look for the things that spark joy for me that they might also enjoy.
- This is sometimes drawn from more universal practical life improvements, e.g. my , from a food that I really love, sometimes something that I might be able to share with them, e.g.Rainbow motion-activated toilet nightlight, or a luxury item that they might not splurge for themselves like the Ember mug (seeTide Pooling) .Thermal mugs
This is where I find most of my gluten-free and low-FODMAP items. They have great prices on gf pastas and Fody products. Here’s a referral link for 40% off your first order.
Calendly (for allowing other people to book slots in your calendar based on what's available)
Free Online Appointment Scheduling Software - Calendly
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When2meet (for allowing people to input their availability manually)
When2meet helps you find the best time for a group to get together. It is a free survey tool that is quick and easy to use.
I've never used Doodle, but I know other people use it and like it. Maybe it allows for preferences rather than just availability?
Free online meeting scheduling tool
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World Time Buddy for seeing how time zone's overlap with working/waking hours
World Clock & Time Converter
World Time Buddy (WTB) is a convenient world clock, a time zone converter, and an online meeting scheduler. It's one of the best online productivity tools for those often finding themselves traveling, in flights, in online meetings or just calling friends and family abroad.
While it works just fine in a browser, I highly recommend downloading the desktop version.
The presenter puts a QR code up on the screen and everyone joins the poll by scanning the code. No sign-in required, fully anonymous. You can see in real-time how many people have responded before switching to the results of the question and (depending on your purposes) eventually highlighting the correct answer. Can be used in other ways, but my team mostly uses it for multiple choice.
Slido - Audience Interaction Made Easy
Slido gives you everything you need to engage your participants, capture their views and make everyone feel connected - whether you're running a team call, training or an all-company meeting. The attendees can join without any logins or downloads, and the setup for hosts takes only minutes.
My primary work use for Dropbox is having a shared filing system where other people can instantly have access to anything I’ve put in the relevant folder.
My primary personal use is basically as extra storage for my laptop without losing any of my organizational systems. with a paid account, once you integrate Dropbox on your computer (rather than just using it via a browser), any folder or specific file in your Dropbox folder can be designated as “online only” or “available offline” and you can toggle between the two options in order to quickly (depending on your download speeds) take a rarely-used set of files from purely cloud storage (not taking up any space on your hard drive, while still being listed in the proper place and openable/downloadable) to being locally available like any other file on your computer. And once you’re done with a project that needed that archive or that set of files, you can move them right back to “online only” and free up that hard drive space.
Because it’s in the cloud, it’s also a handy way to give access across your devices. E.g. I have a scanning app on my phone that allows me to save to a Dropbox folder and so I can then easily grab that pdf and attach it to an email I’m writing on my laptop.
All my screenshots are saved to a folder that’s in my Dropbox as well, which allows easy access and also allows me to keep those files “online only” so they don’t take up space, since they’re usually just for reference.
Apart from sharing a folder or nested folder system with individuals via adding their email, any file or folder in Dropbox can be easily shared by right clicking to get “the Dropbox link.” This is a good option for larger files, since some messaging systems will degrade the quality when sending and some systems will have a file size limit and some people won’t have unlimited data for receiving and downloading something big on their mobile devices.
Note: when I’m looking for something that wasn’t filed (e.g. a particular screenshot), I usually use the trick of clicking on a file and using the space bar to quickly preview it and then using the arrows to sift through the files in the likely time period. This works much slower when the files are “online only” so it might be worth syncing that folder or likely set of files before starting your search. But if you know what doc you need and you’re using the space bar to just look something up quickly (I do this to check my company’s EIN as an example), I find it’s not necessary to download the file, it just takes an extra second or two for the preview to come up.
This is a referral link that offers gift card rewards if you end up going with them.
I’m not even sure what their closest competitor is these days—they handle all the state and federal withholding and filing, make it easy to deduct properly for medical benefits or other things like gym memberships.
Maybe most importantly beyond those basics, they integrate smoothly with my accounting software, Xero, which makes an otherwise pretty complicated bookkeeping chore, a breeze.
One caution: their support, while friendly and potentially convenient (chat, email, and call-back options) if your issue is minor, has been taking a very long time to resolve issues over the past year or so. Weeks rather than days. Not a big problem for me, though it does mean I need to act as soon as I suspect something might be not-quite-right.
For convenience, you can also use them as your insurance broker, which I do for workers comp, but I find their one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t get me the best plans or rates for medical or dental (the best plan at the moment seems to be Humana which offers a no cap option for dental(!)), so I have a local and very responsive agent and I manually enter the withholding details when I make a new hire. They tried to have me integrate our policies in 2021 in a way that would’ve stolen the commissions from my agent, and have recently claimed to have an integration that won’t do that, but I haven’t had the time to check as carefully as I would need to.
I love Xero—cloud-based, intuitive, affordable, lots of reporting options.
(I have had one vote for adding Xero guides here, but in the meantime, feel free to ask me questions if you get started but have trouble figuring out where to look for what you need)
Re: alternatives: The accountant who argued against moving to Quick Books complained that QB has a ton of formatting in their csv exports that makes it much harder to quickly move to excel for more data processing. I can’t verify anything about QB, but I do export data from Xero all the time (especially the detailed transaction report) and it works great.
I have a lot of crypto transactions to process, and it took me 3+ years to find an accountant/consultant who could advise me well enough to integrate those transactions into Xero (basically by creating a new account for each cryptocurrency), and it took another year before I discovered that while Xero doesn’t support sub accounts (which is still a bummer for the income statement), it does have a toggle option in the new Balance Sheet report that allows you to consolidate arbitrary groups of accounts, and you can add -1 -2 -3 or whatever you want to your chart of account codes, so you can e.g. create a separate USDC account for every single wallet or exchange in order to be able to much more easily reconcile those accounts at the end of the month. Most accountants wanted me to create a clearing account for any exchange, with a MJE at the end of the month, and I think that’s because Xero might be unusual in being able to designate any account as a payable account. I can literally mark any invoice or bill as paid via any of my accounts, which works beautifully for stablecoins that don’t need any extra calculations for gains or losses.
(Word on the street is that as we get larger, someone is going to convince us to switch to NetSuite)
The basic idea here is that the old system of “moving” funds internationally from an account at a bank in the US involved many steps to get to a bank across the ocean and then ultimately into the recipient’s account.
My understanding is that by having bank accounts around the world with people wanting to move funds cross-border in many different directions, Wise could ~match sets of transactions so that when I request a UK transfer, they can take funds already in the UK and just deposit them domestically in the correct account. And they can keep my funds in the US to do the same for a UK customer who’s trying to get funds to someone in San Francisco.
Apparently all services have a referral link at this point. This one gives you a fee-free transfer.
They have evolved over time and now also offer multi-currency accounts to individuals which a lot of foreigners seem to use to e.g. receive USD in an almost PayPal like way.