Whether this product will truly be able to steal any market share from Intuit, well, I’m not so sure about that. There’s a class of small business owners for whom Blinksale will be too simplistic. One thing I learned in starting up Behavior is that the intricacies of bookkeeping can get fairly complicated fairly quickly, even in a tiny enterprise. At least in its current state, Blinksale doesn’t seem to suggest remarkable scalability, though there could well be plans to add more hooks and features shortly after launch.
Still, there’s at least another group of users for whom Blinksale will be perfect: independent contractors who create invoices on an ad hoc basis, sometimes turning out serially numbered invoices using programs as ill-suited for accounting as Microsoft Word or even QuarkXPress. These users basically improvise their own invoicing systems, and having the benefit of the coherent, elegant feature set of Blinksale is likely to be a welcome improvement.
Which makes Blinksale another example of designer-engineered software products, brought to life in part thanks to the power and elegance of Ruby on Rails. Blinksale was clearly developed neither by hardcore software engineers nor certified public accountants, but rather by design-minded individuals. It bears these origins in its limitations, but if you forgive those, it’s hard not to commend the fact that it’s a kind of software product that would have been impossible a decade ago: a superbly interfaced feature set targeting an under-served market. It may not beat the shit out of Intuit, but I hope there will be many more like it.