Indeed, it’s obvious that a private business needs to generate revenue in order to survive.
I asked about USP because you stated that we didn’t have one any longer, but you didn’t elaborate on what that was.
I actually do not believe that a USP is a requirement in order to build a sustainable successful business.
In fact, I think it’s somewhat of a red herring.
Does Netflix have a USP compared to Hulu or Amazon Prime? Does Spotify have a USP compared to Apple Music or TIDAL? Does Pepsi have a USP compared to Coca-Cola?
I’ve said it many times - focusing on this feature or that feature is not why customers love Monzo. Rather, we seek to build the most delightful and easy to use system to encourage control and mindfulness over one’s financial life. It’s why you can measure our “stickiness” - much like Instagram - in the amount of times our customers open our app per day, while other companies will need to measure per week.
So, for example, we didn’t invent budgeting. Neither are we the place for power users who want to granularly and meticulously tag and manage every single transaction. There’s software out there that can do such things very well. But, for the average user, our budgeting is a massive step up from what they’re used to - and it’s automatic, in-built to the same place where their money already lies, and requires minimum effort to have a mental overview of what you’re spending and where.
We have a company culture that is progressive and inclusive. This led to things like building the Gambling Block, which we intended as the absolute opposite of a USP - the idea of it was that we hoped others would follow suit. They have, and lives have been changed because of it. An earlier example was that we did away with both titles (our system has no concept of a title) and the requirement of cards to have “Legal Names” on them. Again, this is a culture of inclusivity because we saw the hoops that, for example, our transgender friends and colleagues had to jump through with other banks when faced with mandatory title selections and cards which had the name they were born with on but not the name they go by in their day-to-day lives. Once again, deliberately not a USP - we want others to do the same.
I enjoy (both as a customer and a staff member) that we value transparency, that we hold our hands up when things go wrong and learn from them, and that we strive to communicate in simple language that people understand, one great example being our terms and conditions.
And I like the little touches that make people smile. I remember going to Taco Bell, and when the notification popped up, it had next to it. Someone went out of their way to do that, and many other similar ones, to bring a little bit of joy to people’s day, and to make money, spending, and budgeting just a little bit more delightful, and less scary.
So TL:DR, if I had to pick one thing? I’d pick the culture that has and continues to allow many incredible, customer centric things to be built. The culture that isn’t afraid to tell you why and how mistakes were made and how we learned from them. The culture that cares about inclusivity, diversity, and equitable, not just equal, scenarios.
But I damn sure don’t want that to be a USP. I want it to serve as an example. And from seeing the reactions and delight every day from new customers, I know that that’s exactly what is happening, and I couldn’t be more proud.