Bunq freeloading: joint accounts now cost at least 59.9% more, your privacy doesn’t matter either

My wife and I joined Bunq a couple of months ago. Bunq is a fairly new European bank, based in the Netherlands. It’s one of the new breed of mobile-first banks that offer a more modern experience. It has a neat mobile app with some clever features like dynamic sub-accounts, spend tracking, better credit card control and more.

Their slogan is “bank of the free”. Whilst other banks might not charge you to open an account or use it, Bunq actually does charge for its account. However, the “free” part, as far as I understood it, is that by paying bunq, they can provide a service to you, rather than find ways to monetize you (e.g. by advertising, selling your data).

As you can see from the marketing spiel, they value transparency and don’t do any dirty business.

Until they do…

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The cup-of-coffee pricing fallacy

If you’re lurking on HackerNews, or are interesting in entrepreneurship, you might occasionally bump into something like this

Starbucks coffee is $2.45 + taxes. $100/mo is less than a cup of coffee a day.

And it’s very tempting — and somehow logical — to consider how much money we might spend without thinking too much about, and conclude that we should be willing to do the same with online services.

This coffee costs just like a cup of a coffee

And for some services, we might actually think in similar terms. Hey, my Netflix is only 4 cups of coffee per month. Amazon Prime maybe 2…

But why aren’t we spending it just as easily on other online services, software licenses and apps?

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SEO optimization for suckers

There’s a famous Jewish, Yiddish phrase:

Man plans and God laughs.

I think the same applies to SEO and Google nowadays.

Man SEOs and Google laughs.

I was always a bit suspicious of SEO, and let’s face it, the sea of snake-oil SEO salesmen doesn’t help to establish credibility here, does it?

But I think that I’m becoming even more cynical of it every day.

The problem with getting good advice for SEO is that there’s no money in telling you “Don’t do anything”, “It’s a waste of time”, or “Focus on valuable content for your audience”. But there’s tons of money in doing a site audit, in telling you about best strategies to extract link juice, or why alt tags for images are important.

But it works

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why I stopped using Intercom

This post has been on the back of my head for a couple of years now. I think we actually switched-off Intercom in 2016 or so… But the reasons should still stand now, or might even be stronger. Of course, things might have shifted, so please forgive me if some features are totally different by now.

For those who don’t know intercom.io (now intercom.com), well, I think you probably do know it, but maybe not by name. It’s the technology (or company) that adds those little “bubbles” on websites, with friendly faces offering to help.

How intercom works (taken from intercom.com)

Of course, intercom.io isn’t the only one now, and there are a few competitors in this space. The principle is pretty similar though. I think intercom was the most successful company doing this, or the first, or both. But it’s not really important. It’s mostly about intercom as a concept, rather than a specific implementation.

TL;DR

The short, simple, and most crucial reason: it didn’t work. How do I know? We A/B tested it. Over a fairly long time and a large number of people.

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marketing lessons from the street market

When you walk inside the Ben Tanh market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, you’ll eventually end up inside the food area. There are probably hundreds of stalls selling local food. Lots of delicious Banh Mi sandwiches, noodle soups, fruit juices and summer rolls.

One thing that you can’t ignore however, is that as soon as you walk around, you’ll get approached by one of the stall owners. They’ll simply hand you the menu to choose from.

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