Whenever I see a tree that is climbable, it must be climbed. Sometimes when I'm on a run, I'll just run up a tree, jump on a branch and swing off. My favorite tree, in Saratoga, gets me a good 75 feet up.

-Aaron Patzer
Aaron Patzer

I've actually started a number of businesses in my career. So I'm 28 currently, but when I was about 16, I started building Websites, and that's how I put myself through school. I went to Duke with a degree in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, and then to Princeton.

Aaron Patzer
The other big factor in building trust quickly is site design quality. Mint.com has one of the best graphic designers ever (Jason Putorti) - he cares about every pixel, all the fonts, all the transparencies and effects. And that shows instantly. People do make judgments of trust on appearance - in the real world and online.
Aaron Patzer

Be careful not to start a company that really belongs as a feature of another company, like the 25 Twitter URL shortener companies out there. Pick a real problem that's here to stay.

Aaron Patzer
It's okay to doubt yourself, it's okay to feel down; just never give up.
Aaron Patzer

I'm typically a 'just drink water' kind of guy. I was a bodybuilder in high school, so I used to - food to me was, 'there are this many grams of carbohydrates and proteins, and I need these micronutrients in order to grow and be fit,' and I ate in order to live and not live in order to eat, and I think most people are the opposite.

Aaron Patzer
I have always thought of myself as an inventor first and foremost. An engineer. An entrepreneur. In that order. I never thought of myself as an employee. But my first jobs as an adult were as an employee: at IBM, and then at my first start-up.
Aaron Patzer

Mint's business model became, 'We'll go for free, and then we'll find these savings opportunities for you.' You know, better interest rate on your credit cards, when should you consolidate your student loans, when does it mathematically make sense to refinance your mortgage, and Mint figures all that stuff out for you.

Aaron Patzer
Before Mint.com, I was a long-time user of 'Microsoft Money' and Intuit's 'Quicken.' Both were powerful tools, loaded with features and functionality around taxes, investment, budgeting - too feature-laden, in fact. They took hours to set up, forever to learn, and an hour a week to maintain.
Aaron Patzer

Kevin Systrom of Instagram used to work for us as a consultant in the early days of Mint. I knew him a long time ago. Maybe I could have gotten in there. But with photo sharing, I don't know if there's an obvious business model. I don't think there's a competitive, sustainable advantage.

Aaron Patzer
Recessions are great because they unlock the best people.