Path 101: for your career

Sometimes, it takes you longer to realize things about your own business--especially somewhat obvious (in hindsight) business analogies.

I was thinking about, the personal finance site, and I never realized how similar our goals are at Path 101.

Mint is building a suite of free tools to help manage a mainstream problem that effects everyone--in their case, managing your budget.  Their target audiance?  What about... everyone who makes money?  Spends money?  Wants more money?  It's a pretty huge potential audience and we feel the same way about our career guidance site.  Path 101 is targeted at anyone who works and wants to figure out what's next.

Now, the argument could be made that not a lot of people who make money actually manage their money well, which is what I thought initially about Mint.  However, Mint is making their tools so easy that they're not just converting the beancounters, they're helping people who have never ever kept a budget before--introducing people to the concept of budging and personal financial management.  We want to do the same for careers.  Thinking about your career can be an intimidating thing and we want to shed some light on the process and make it easier. makes it easy for you to upload your financial data to the system, but moreover they give you a compelling reason to--to get recommendations and gain insight into your budget, the same way we want someone to get value from uploading their resume and other information.

This enables Mint to gain a tremendous information advantage from a business standpoint.  By working hand in hand with their users in managing their finances, they are the best positioned to broker offers from people who want to access those users.  That's ultimately where we want to be with Path 101.  By getting to know our users better, because we helped them manage their career, we'll ultimately be the best place to broker recruiter and employer access--particularly given that we'll know so much more about each user.

They're also using the network effects of having all that user data to improve the product.  The more Mint users there are, the more insight they get into trends and norms, which can, in turn, be presented back to the user in a useful, comparitive way.

It's a business and product model that no doubt works in other areas, too, but I feel like Mint is a particularly relevent comparison given the size of the potential market, the importance of this aspect of someone's lifestyle, and the focus on data.