Dwolla founder Ben Milne: ‘Life is a fire hose right now’
Screenshot from Mashable.com
In the hours following Mashable's December 22nd coverage of Dwolla – "Send & Receive Money From Twitter & Facebook Friends With Dwolla" – I sent an email to Dwolla founder and CEO Ben Milne with a few catch-up questions. Fifty-two minutes later, at 12:06 a.m., Milne replied. After a short greeting, he wrote:
20 minutes ago I was asleep. I got a text that said we hit mashable. I doubt I'm going to sleep soon. That's kind of how life has been the last few weeks.
Needless to say, this past month has been quite a ride for the Dwolla team. "Life is a fire hose right now," Milne wrote at the end of the email.
After nearly a year in limited release (only accepting users in Iowa and California), the Des Moines-based startup released its 25 cents-per-transaction cash transfer platform nation-wide on December 1st. Since that launch, they've received quite a bit of local and national attention, from an AP article the day of the launch to a WOI-DT ABC 5 telivision story a couple days ago titled "DWOLLA Catching on at Mars Cafe."
If you follow other individuals from the Silicon Prairie on Twitter, it's been hard to avoid hearing about Dwolla daily. Earlier this month they kicked off the The DwollaX Experiment, a contest that enters a user's name every time he or she passes any amount of money to another user on Dwolla, which has given users an extra incentive to ramp up their usage. The winner will either be awarded $2,500, or if they choose, they can donate the money to charity, at which point Dwolla will double it. (And very cool: Dwolla is encouraging a donation to charity: water, which is the cause we donated to at Big Omaha.)
Outside social networks – and literally outside – people are seeing Dwolla. Throughout Iowa and in a few surrounding states, photos of people wearing Dwolla shirts are showing up above gas pumps on Info2Go digital signage (left, photo by Milne via ow.ly). Dwolla also made a random appearance in a stock photo on a December 18th USA Today article: "Don't be shy: Now's the time to boost your Web presence." And according to @Pettipoole on Twitter, Dwolla is primed for the next edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "@dwolla makes for a good verb, which is probably a big key to success via cultural lexicon adoption."
In my email to Milne on December 22nd (the day of the Mashable coverage), I asked Milne to provide brief thoughts on several recent events. Here are his answers along with images that correspond with the events:
Silicon Prairie News: San Francisco Business Trip, December 14-15
Ben Milne: Eye opening. I think initially I didn't expect anyone to talk to us. Once they started talking, and communicating, conversations just took off. I can't wait to go back.
Screenshot from twitter.com/bpmilne
New Screencast & Explanation Videos
Milne: First two steps for us in a new educational plan. We know our core market is built around supporting and educating consumers, merchants, developers, and now banks. These videos will play a really major part in this.
Video from dwolla.org/blog
Recent Press: "Dwolla in the News"
Screenshot from news.cnet.com
Milne: Step 1 to supporting the shopping cart integration. A big part of our roll out plans is supporting plugins directly for top open source platforms.
Lots of new modifications for our internal API's to push the social features and some geo-location stuff out into the new mobile applications as well.
Screenshot from dwolla.org/blog