Sunday, January 27, 2008 resuccitates a failed concept

Mint has been getting a lot of good press, kudos to them for that. But the idea is not new. It was tried during Web 1.0 by, a division of Ameritrade. I worked there for a couple months.

OnMoney tried to make a business as a website where you got manage all your financial data: banking, insurance, investments. Total net worth, with articles from experts advising of all of this.

After I left, I heard they got the results of an $80k usability study: "You've got some great tools that *no one* knows how to use."

OnMoney went on to blow a big wad on a Super Bowl commercial. Not too long after, they closed shop.

Hurdles Mint will need to overcome:

- consumers don't know they need these tools. They aren't fun and sexy. You going to give me a facebook app that lets my peeps know "Steve has maintained a positive balance for 6 weeks in a row!" People -- not the Ivy school grads that fund and launch startups like this, but real live real-world people -- don't talk about finances to their friends. So how go you get a community, how do you spread the word?

- all my financial data in one place? No way I'm going to trust anyone with that. Mint needs to prove to the world that they have a 100% bullet proof infrastructure that the NSA and hackers all over the world agree is insurmountably robust. New code just can't do that. So I'll wait 10 years and if they are still around, then I'll assume their code is good. Can they wait that long?

They could put all their code open-source to address the security concerns, but I'm not sure their business model can support that.

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