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vangogh
06-13-2010, 12:42 AM
This video is from the Future of Web Apps Conference as the presentation is from Aaron Patzer, who was the founder of Mint. If you're not familiar with it, Mint (http://www.mint.com) is an online application to manage all your money. It connects to all your financial accounts and offers advice on how to better manage your finances.

The video itself is titled, How to Take your Start-Up to the Next Level (http://vimeo.com/10536382). It's about 30 minutes and Aaron walks through the success of Mint from a simple idea to the point where he was able to sell it to Intuit for $170 million.

He talked about 3 phases in the life of a start up beginning with how to validate your idea is worth pursuing and building a prototype. He then moved on to developing an alpha and beta of the application and building the initial customer base. The last phases deals with scaling the application and growing the user base.

While the talk is mainly about web apps, I think any business can still profit from the advice.

Enjoy.

Spider
06-13-2010, 02:52 PM
Excellent! I found it very useful and interesting. Thanks for posting the link, VG.

vangogh
06-13-2010, 03:14 PM
Glad to. One of the feeds I'm subscribed to posted it and I finally had a chance to watch yesterday. Definitely worth the half hour it took to watch.

One of the things I found particularly interested was the advice not to keep quiet about your idea, but to tell as many people as possible in order to get feedback. Mint didn't start out to be a money management application. It became that after feedback for the original idea showed it was mainly the financial aspect of the idea that people were interested in. Imagine had Aaron not shared his idea. He could have built an application no one cared about or used.

Spider
06-13-2010, 07:00 PM
...One of the things I found particularly interested was the advice not to keep quiet about your idea, but to tell as many people as possible in order to get feedback. Mint didn't start out to be a money management application. It became that after feedback for the original idea showed it was mainly the financial aspect of the idea that people were interested in. Imagine had Aaron not shared his idea. He could have built an application no one cared about or used.I'm always telling people with an idea to talk about it to everyone, even if - especially if - they are afraid it will be stolen. Here's one such occasion from last year --
...I say, if you have an idea and really want to do something with it, just start talking about it, looking for ways to make it happen. No-one is going to steal it. Anyone with the drive to do anything with your idea is too busy working on their own ideas...

It's only the people who will never do anything with their ideas that refuse to talk about them. The "Doers" of this world get on and "do" - and that involves talking about their ideas, refining them and making them happen.

Mint is a classic example of my basic philosophy.

vangogh
06-14-2010, 12:18 PM
I completely agree with you. How many times has someone come here or the old forum looking for advice about a new business idea and they won't say much of anything about the idea for fear someone will steal it.

Aaron says it right in the video. Ideas themselves are worthless. They're a dime a dozen. It's their execution that has value. I know you agree with this too.

Most people aren't going to steal your idea. And the few that will can just as easily do that after you've launched your business. If they execute better than you do they win. Sharing ideas more likely gets you the feedback needed to make the idea a good one.

Mint is the perfect example. It was originally planned as a more general way to manage your life. Non one Aaron told the idea to cared much or thought the would ever pay for the service. However many were intrigued by the idea of managing their money, which was only one small part of the original idea. The feedback led Aaron to drop all the stuff no one cared about and rework the idea for the one thing they did care about. And it's hard to argue against his success.

RMMarketing
06-21-2010, 08:09 AM
So many people hold their ideas close to their chest. Go to any Internet Marketing forum and you will see it first hand. These guys think they are holding a Top Secret mission to take over the world.

I agree with they saying "ideas are a dime a dozen". They are totally worthless unless you act on it. I tell clients all the time to tell everyone they can think of. Also, they should broadcast it to their email list and post it on their website. Once word gets out, they will be more apt to act on it.

Great find on the video Vangogh.

Rich

vangogh
06-21-2010, 12:39 PM
Welcome to the forum Rich.

People get so afraid that someone is going to steal their idea that they refuse to talk about it. Or maybe it's because they only have the flash of an idea and are afraid people aren't going to think it as good as they do. I'm beginning to think it's more the latter and the former is more the excuse.

You have to tell people to find out if anyone else is interested and to get the feedback you need. Imagine if Mint had been built as Aaron originally intended. He may still have ended up with Mint as we know it today, but think about all the wasted time building the first system.

phanio
06-21-2010, 02:49 PM
Aaron says it right in the video. Ideas themselves are worthless. They're a dime a dozen. It's their execution that has value. I know you agree with this too.

This is the Venture Capital moto - If you can't execute your idea, it will only remain an idea.

I have seen great management teams take marginal ideas and turn them into great businesses - it is about execution and the one that does it better wins.

Google just stoled MSN and Netscape's idea - but executed so much better.

Great post.

vangogh
06-21-2010, 08:21 PM
What I often funny is the people who insist their idea is the greatest thing since the wheel, but they won't tell you about and then when you finally drag it out of them it's the most ordinary thing in the world.

I have a great idea. I want to build a battery that never loses any of its energy and can power devices forever. Until someone can figure out how to do that the idea is 100% worthless.

Spider
06-21-2010, 09:21 PM
...I have a great idea. I want to build a battery that never loses any of its energy and can power devices forever. Until someone can figure out how to do that the idea is 100% worthless.What a fabulous idea. I think I'll steal it!

vangogh
06-21-2010, 11:23 PM
Oh no. I know I shouldn't have said anything. Now I'll never make any money off my wonderful idea. :)

Spider
06-22-2010, 12:51 AM
Ah, but in 30 years, when every device in the world is running on Never-ending batteries - and the Duracell bunny really does keep on going and going - you'll be able to cry in your beer, proclaim the unfairness of the world and dream about all the millions of dollars that have been "stolen" from you!

vangogh
06-22-2010, 01:30 AM
I'm already looking forward to that beer. It'll be constantly chilled in a frosty mug that's powered by my battery. I'll yell at whoever will listen how it was my idea and how the world conspired against me. And everyone in the bar will point and laugh at the crazy old man screaming at his frosty mug.

billbenson
06-22-2010, 02:34 AM
In the old days, companies were afraid to give out product brochures for fear their competitors would get them. The competitors always got them anyway...

vangogh
06-22-2010, 03:00 AM
It's funny isn't it. No matter what you're going to have to make your idea known public at some point. You can't patent or copyright an idea so once you release a product or service anyone else could duplicate it. What they might not be able to duplicate is the execution assuming you've patented it.

Zatch
06-22-2010, 04:24 AM
Most people aren't going to steal your idea. And the few that will can just as easily do that after you've launched your business. If they execute better than you do they win. Sharing ideas more likely gets you the feedback needed to make the idea a good one.



I definitely agree with you here. This reminds me of a saying "two heads are better than one". Getting feedback from others can really give you more ideas to make your first idea much better.

vangogh
06-22-2010, 04:35 AM
Welcome to the forum Zatch. Feedback is definitely important. It's easy for us to get lost in our own ideas and lose perspective. Having someone else tell you what they think can be a real eye opener and add valuable ideas about what you've done right and wrong.

Of course you should just blindly follow feedback either. You should listen to feedback and use it to make better decisions, but sometimes that better decision is to ignore what someone else says and follow what you think is right.

Zatch
06-22-2010, 12:54 PM
You are right it is not necessary all the time that you listen on what others say. It is still in your hands the decision to make and it is you who will face what ever it may come not them. .

Thanks for the warm welcome.

vangogh
06-22-2010, 08:23 PM
Glad to welcome you. Feel free to start an intro thread so everyone else can too.

It can be tough sometimes to decide whether to listen to yourself or the feedback of others. Both are appropriate at times. I think there can be just as much art to making that decision as there is logic.

Harold Mansfield
06-23-2010, 11:24 AM
Definitely a good video. I've really been getting into watching keynote speakers lately...The American Express Open conference on 2009 has some good speakers and also the Wordpress Camp (or what ever it's called) really had some interesting concepts about the future of blogging.

Good stuff.

vangogh
06-23-2010, 12:35 PM
I've noticed more good video in recent months myself. The hard part is when they're an hour or so long. You can't always find time to watch them.

Harold Mansfield
06-24-2010, 01:25 PM
Videos like that used to bore me, now I find them incredibly inspirational for some reason

Another good one I watched was from the last Worpdress Conference and hearing one of the managing editors for a news group out of New Jersey answer the question:

"How have you guys done with adsense. Is it still a viable way to monetize?" and the answer was, "No, I've never seen that you can make any substantial money with adsense."

It was 40 minutes into the video, but it made the whole thing worth while.

Here's another one that I have watched more than once and even quoted. It's Seth Godin and Tom Peters on Blogging at the American Express Open Business Conference from last year:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=livzJTIWlmY

And this one on Social Networking for Business:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0h0LlCu8Ks&feature=related
Both of these are pretty short. Just the meat.
There are a ton of videos from this series that are very good.

vangogh
06-24-2010, 08:44 PM
now I find them incredibly inspirational for some reason

A change in your priorities and interests I imagine.

Thanks for the links to the videos. Both are great. Seth really nails social networking, doesn't he? He and Tom both have good things to say about blogging too.

I'd encourage everyone to watch both. Each is about a minute and a half.