Tom Blomfield: the man who made Monzo


(Peter G) #1

This is a fun read.

(Edit: big apologies for posting something behind a pay wall. You should be able to sign up for free to read a few articles a week - thanks @brandscill - or try the link from @sacha below. Failing that, here’s some more commentary inc quotes from me)

Favourite bits:

Monzo gives the journalist’s daughter a revelation on her exactly where her money is going (emphasis mine):

I asked my youngest daughter, a student. “Because it tells you exactly where your money goes,” she replied. “For example, I discovered I was spending rather a lot on fish.

The slightly bewildered yet appreciative tone of the article as the journalist discovers things like the terms and conditions:

The T&C’s informed me that henceforth Monzo would contact me ‘in English and emoji’

@tom comes out rather well, I have to say.


#2

Can you paste the article here? No access to The Times


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #3

copyright rules would say no :slight_smile:


(Peter G) #4

Oh sorry - I’m not a member and it just worked.

I’m not sure that I can just paste it with copyright and stuff. I’m out at the moment but might be able to share some other quotes later…

(Edit: very sorry for not checking properly earlier - it must be incredibly frustrating :pensive:)


#5

Thanks :slight_smile:


(Brandon Billingham) #6

You get 2 free articles a week if you sign up.


(Sacha) #7

Try this URL, I’m a subscriber so you should be able to read this link


(Peter G) #8

So I promised some more on the article for those who don’t have access. Again, I’m sorry for not checking that that it was behind a paywall, but as @brandscill points out you can read a few articles a week for a (free) sign-up.

So, here we go.

It’s effectively a biography of Tom, entwined with a brief history of Monzo.

It starts with the author wondering why Monzo is so popular. He frames himself as a bit of an outsider, with Monzo being a more millennial thing (my words, not his). He turns to his daughter to discover Monzo’s popularity.

She tells him that “Monzo tells you exactly where your money goes”. And reveals that it has helped her uncover her disturbing fish purchasing habit.

The rest of the intro almost reads like an advertorial - overseas withdrawals, simple overdrafts, quick and easy sign up etc, followed by a comparison with the big banks:

Small wonder that the conventional banks, beginning with the HSBC beta scheme, are starting to offer a similar product. Too late, maybe?

(I think this might be overstating the HSBC beta app somewhat. Monzo’s a full stack bank, rethought within the limits of regulation. HSBC’s app is, well, an app. It’s a channel rather than a fundamental rethink. But I digress…)

The journalist applies for a Monzo account, makes some amusing asides about the design and heads to Monzo HQ to meet @tom

Apparently Monzo are moving shortly (“but soon he will be moving into fintechville”) - this is news to me. Unless it’s just Tom moving house.

Speaking of Tom, we’re into man crush territory:

He is fair-haired, blue-eyed, small-featured and charming without being in any way smarmy. In fact, the man is like his own app – compact, easy to use and gives you the information you ask for without any fuss. He is a very good communicator. He is almost effortlessly visible.

Later, we’re told (with almost comical understatement) the journo “likes him”.

From thereon in, it’s a bit of a chronology of Tom. Upbringing, schools, family (sad fact that his mum passed away last year), training in law, early career as a management consultant then working at GoCardless and being sacked from Grouper. It touches on his time at Starling:

The terms of Blomfield’s departure mean he can’t talk about any of that, satisfying himself (and frustrating me) with the promise that “there’ll be a fun book in it one day”

I’d buy that book. Actually, I’d love to write that book.

The rest of the article is mostly about Tom’s passion and plans for Monzo. But not before the man crush takes a sinister turn. Talking about Tom still meeting up with Starling’s chief exec:

'it is actually hard to imagine Tom Blomfield falling out with anyone – but then that’s just what baffled relatives always say about serial killers or people who’ve run off to join Islamic State.

Maybe I don’t want to write that book after all. Actually, no, I’d take that risk. As long as I don’t have to go to Iraq.

The last bit is about Tom’s passion for financial inclusion. And diversity and inclusion more generally. But you’ll have to consult the article for that!

The tl;dr: Tom’s a lovely chap who has created something special.

Fin


#9

Sterling work - thanks very much :+1:


#10

Thanks. Great read but you normally can’t go wrong with David Aaronovitch

Pity he mentioned the forum in that context :no_mouth:


#11

We’ve been looking at an office move because we have so many people now!


(Stephen Clarke-Keating) #12

Speaking of Tom, we’re into man crush territory:

Can you blame them. Everytime I see his picture I’m like…


April Open Office Streaming here from 7pm