Growth5 Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mint.com: Solving Real Problems

Mashable conducted the following interview with Mint.com CEO Aaron Patzer. I have always been a fan of mint.com and here are my takeaways from this interview.
"Trust is, at its core, kind of an emotional thing. If you’re walking down a dark alley and you see a person ahead of you, you have a reaction based on appearance, demeanor. Websites have the same thing — a personality, an appearance. So the biggest thing for us was getting that right. Mint.com [as a domain] is short, which is implicitly expensive and more trustworthy. And the design was pixel-perfect. It looked good, it looked like a system you could trust, and we had all the 128-bit, bank-level encryption. Only 2% of people read about that [security] stuff; the vast majority of people make a decision based on the quality of the site."
One of the hurdles that mint.com faced from the very beginning was the fact that many believed that no one would trust a startup with their personal finances. Mint.com designed their site as if it were to be trusted. 
"Over a three year period, I did about 550 interviews with press from TV, radio and magazines and made myself as accessible as possible to the bloggers and the media. In the beginning, I would take an interview with anyone — there were a few high school newspaper interviews! All that press got us really great exposure. Press is free, and it’s the most effective type of advertising … it sticks a lot more."
Because they couldn't afford banner ads or other forms of advertising, Patzer took his story to the masses and it worked. Nothing better than free advertising.
"Solve a real problem. You don’t start a company because you want to be an entrepreneur or the fame and glory that comes along with it. You become an entrepreneur and you create a company to solve a real problem. And by real problem, I mean a problem that is going to exist down the line."
What problem are you going to solve?
“Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win. By fearing to attempt.”
Shakespeare quote that Patzer keeps over his desk.

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