Making Aaron Patzer on the one-click future of personal finance


"Nice shirt." That's the first thing CEO and online finance wunderkind Aaron Patzer said to me when we sat down in a small conference room in the company's offices in Mountain View, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. My shirt was lime green. Patzer also wore a green shirt. The office was decorated with green touches, and many of the other staffers wore green. I'd had no plan to wear a green shirt -- hadn't even really thought about it. But apparently, Patzer's mental tractor beam had reached me in my San Francisco office.

Which is not terribly surprising. In a valley of hyper-focused achievers, he's one of the more focused people I have ever met. During a span of roughly two years, Patzer had completely upended the staid and massive personal-finance software movement.

He had also scared the incumbent giant Intuit (INTU) into buying Mint for $170 million in September. (As a measure of the hotness of Mint, a vocal-yet-influential minority castigated Patzer for selling out cheap -- in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 50 years and for an all-cash offer.) The deal was completed on Monday.