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How Mint Beat Wesabe (okdork.com)
58 points by wensing on Oct 14, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

I love getting this type of insight from someone that was there during such an important time for Mint.

A couple of questions:

Authority. We got thought leaders in personal finance to back us.

Can you give one or two examples of how you guys accomplished this?

Dave had a the killer idea of the content network (blog) which was a HUGE traffic generator and still is to this day.

Do you mean the Mint blog or were there others? If others, how many of them?

Luckily, I was writing in personal finance for a few years before I joined Mint so I knew most of them. Some of them included Ramit at http://iwillteachyoutoberich.com, Cap from http://stopbuyingcrap.com and Jim at http://bargaineering.com to name a few.

We just went and interviewed the guys above or asked thme for guest posts. You have to think how to serve their interests (traffic / exposure / relationships with a potentially cool company).

Yea, the Mint blog.

We just went and interviewed the guys above or asked thme for guest posts. You have to think how to serve their interests (traffic / exposure / relationships with a potentially cool company).

That totally makes sense. But if this is early in Mint's history then what's the benefit for them? I'm assuming it's not traffic or exposure since they already have it, right? This is a situation that applies to a lot of startups. What do they have to offer early on?

Everyone will do an interview. They want the links and possibly free traffic for minimal work. It did help that I personally knew them. Once you get interviewed, you are pretty likely to promote it if it's a good reference.

The issue is most people approach it with generic template emails and crappy questions.

I like that you shared the apathy and Excel insights. I learned this early on too. Even today in the PF space, I'd still say that's true and shouldn't inhibit anyone from trying to create something cool.

Thanks for adding the PR point too. I get tired of hearing the "Mint didn't spend money to attract users" line.

this is a really great article and should be required reading for anybody thinking of starting up a company -- or considering joining a starup.

I think the domain name ( mint -vs- wesabe ) is responsible for more of the Mint victory than people want to admit. I know when I try and turn people on to new services, that seemingly petty little detail has been the primary reason whether they adopt it or not. That fact of life kills you inside when you put so much blood sweat and money into a company - only to have people talking about how to pronounce your name in blog comments rather than what cool stuff you can do.

It seems so simple. Yet I'm sure a lot of Marketing dudes get caught up in the hype that ends up being the "wrong community."

Say my customer is a bit of a laggard, What would you recommend doing to break through the traditional PR clutter in a very web 2.0 world? Is there a way to connect the two that makes sense and might provide value/ROI?

Thanks Noah.

Really good and insightful post. Looking forward to the design post though you mentioned.

Noah, excellent breakdown as usual. And I totally agree with your take (vs. Wesabe's post-mortem post).

I'm going to send your article to like a dozen people right now, that I preach this stuff to and don't believe me :)

fascinating. no one ever explained to me in the thread about why wesabe failed, how the freaking name is pronounced.

how much $ did wesabe raise? (I'm too lazy to go to crunchbase)

$4M Series A: USV (lead), O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. http://blog.wesabe.com/2007/06/20/wesabe-raises-4m-in-series...

$700k seed: O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. http://techcrunch.com/2007/02/28/wesabe-gets-money-from-tim-...


Not sure about how much they raised. I know O'Reilly alphatech (sp?) backed them among others.

Very interesting article.

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