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Ben Milne - CEO of Dwolla

Ben Milne, CEO of Dwolla, discusses his motivation in founding his company and the excitement of starting something new. Ben advocates for the idea that failure, which can happen in big and small ways, does not have to be your legacy.  Created by Kauffman Foundation.

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Video transcript

- My name is Ben Milne, I'm CEO of a company called Dwolla and Dwolla's kind of core purpose in life is to allow anybody with an internet connection secure access to their money and allow them to exchange it with anybody else who can receive it without paying interchange costs. So I had another company before, and essentially all the product we sold we sold online. I was loosing about $55,000 a year in credit card fees and I started getting really obsessed with I could get paid through my website without paying credit card fees. And so ended up evolving from that was doing some research about how money moves, kinda talking to a bank about theoretically how it could move, how we could pull it off. And the beginning of it was it was just what makes me really angry? And the fees made me really angry so how can I have a transaction where I don't have to pay fees? The transaction costs will never come down, and the security will never get better, and the problem that we see will never be solved by utilizing anything that currently exists. So now we just have to build it and figure out the moving pieces. Dwolla's a pretty straight forward business model. When you use Dwolla you pay for what you do on Dwolla. More transactions means more revenue, they're equally correlated. We just really stick to growing that and ultimately if we're successful in facilitating a lot of exchanges in a 30 trillion dollar market, volume will be followed by revenue and that will work just fine. The most satisfying moment in my life is every time we create something brand new that fundamentally changes the way everything works. So the first time we're able to hit send money and $1000 moves over the internet, and we just cut out a 30 year old problem for the entire market, like that is awesome. I think it starts with an overarching vision of what you're actually trying to do. If I said I want to paint this room purple, how I do that is I need paint, I need people, I need a few things right. Well if I want to change the way the world moves money, I need different things. My job then is to go find people who have the answers and ask the right questions and honestly celebrate their brilliance. Discovering that this idea is real and you get to see it work, that's hard to describe, that's a high that you just want to keep discovering which is invention leads to more invention. Failure is like an entrepreneurial tattoo I mean you get better over time at not failing as much, but it's still this element of luck and how you found yourself there with the right people to make something really brilliant happen and I just think that failure it's predictable. I failed at a million things right, but what people ultimately end up remembering is probably a few of your successes and that's kind of the things that I think we all strive to leave at the world.