Mint: A Year in Green

According to Green Means Go, Mint was released a little over one year ago amidst a flurry of posting by beta testers eager to share what had been our little green secret for close to six months. Today marks the first successful year in business for myself. Over the course of that year I’ve released 25 updates to Mint which is now at version 1.29. Those updates include a complete overhaul of the Pepper API (a handful of third-party Pepper had already been created using the undocumented launch API). I even added support for black sheep Win IE.

Checking in with Peppermint Tea, “a civilized collection of Mint plugins,” there are twenty-seven third-party Pepper available—two of them released in the past week—in addition to my own Default, Backup/Restore, Local Searches, User Agent 007, and Window Width Pepper. There are plugins and scripts for integrating Mint into popular blogging tools and CMS like WP-Mint (Wordpress) and Mintspy (approximate English translation) (Movable Type). The Mint Forum has a number of stickies explaining how to configure Mint using familiar terms from the config files of your favorite blogging software if you’re the DIY-type.

Before leaving Silverpoint, I lined up a number of freelance gigs. Mint was meant to be a small source of reoccurring income. The price and supported browsers were chosen to limit the potential audience and keep support manageable. In the weeks following launch I discovered that I had severely underestimated the demand for a well-designed, focused, extensible stats package that runs on your own server and is immune to referrer spam. So much so, that I was fielding questions and support and tweaking for fringe server configurations nearly 18 hours a day for the first couple weeks. I had to excuse myself from the freelance gigs. When I slept it was on the love-seat in my home office. Before I was able to set up the Mint Forum I was tempted to take the Purchase page offline just so I could catch my breath. Then there was the rampant (and still lingering) piracy.

I had the opportunity to speak about Mint’s success and what I took away from it at Cre824, the inaugural Future of Web Apps Summit (as a jet-lagged zombie), and SXSW. There were articles, interviews and podcasts with .Net, Web Designer, Treehouse Magazine, Rails Podcast, and the Web 2.0 Show. Then there was the Making of Mint workshop that never saw the light of day.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a handful of Pepper developers in person at these and other events. The community that sprung up around Mint is smart, friendly and generous. I’m not just talking about the Pepper developers but Forum regulars who maintain Mint-related sites or just pop in to help a Mint newb every now and again. Not to be overlooked are the satisfied customers who share their appreciation of all things fresh with others.

Mint has been a competent source of income for a household of two for the larger part of the past year. It has survived Measure Map, Crazy Egg and two brushes with Google Analytics. Mint is still selling strong into it’s second year. There have been ups and downs and there will always be alternatives and detractors but it doesn’t look like Mint is going anywhere anytime soon.

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Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
September 6th, 2006 at 3:34 pm
Categories
About
Mint
Silverpoint
Event
Comments
047 (Now closed)

047 Comments

001

Congrats on all your success, Shaun!

Author
Joshua Lane
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 11:37 am
002

From the very beginning, I knew that Mint would not just be “some web app.” It was more than that. It was awesome. Actually, it still is!

Author
Hans
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 11:50 am
003

Congratulations. For at least meiert.com, I still prefer Mint over Urchin and stuff - though 50% praise belongs to the Pepper developers (Pathstats, anyone?).

On the whole, Mint is one of the best low-cost web analytics solutions available.

Author
Jens Meiert
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 11:53 am
004

I can see now that I need to devote more of my time towards pirating Mint and shepherding your downfall.

Author
Jason Santa Maria
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:01 pm
005

Thanks Josh.

Hans, crazy buzz-building, /tmp/ directory-diver. First person to purchase Mint. You rock.

Agreed, Jens. The other 50% of praise is divvied up between Hans and the beta testers, the Fellowship of the Mint.

Stan, every time you make a comment like that I step away from the computer and play video games. Just to spite you.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:17 pm
006

Congrats! As one can see, there are many reasons why Mint has survived for as long as it has. You’ve done a very good job Shaun.

I still haven’t bought a Mint accont myself but I’m planning to. Since I recently got Paypal and all I think its more or less a neccesary thing to have when you want to keep track of your visitors.

Author
Kalle Persson
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:19 pm
007

Thanks for everything so far and I hope Mint sticks around for a long time. If I’m lucky you’re secretly working on Doublemint, which will double our fun.

Author
Wade Winningham
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:39 pm
008

Many happy returns, Mint, and congrats on all of your success, Shaun!

Author
Rob Weychert
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:46 pm
009

I have to admit once I heard news of Google Analytics I thought it would mean Mint’s demise is near. After using GA for about 8 months I turned to Mint and I haven’t looked back.

I still use GA for certain small tasks but I use Mint on almost a hourly basis on 2 of my sites.

The best $60 I’ve ever spent. Congrats and I hope your success continues.

Author
Chris Griffin
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:47 pm
010

That’s fantastic homie, I knew it would be a success. Can’t wait to hang out with you again this coming Spring at SXSW!

Mint forever!!

Author
Mike Rundle
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 12:55 pm
011

Congrats, Shaun. I’ll be giving Mint a go on my next project, and am psyched to see all of this stuff in action!

Author
M. Jackson Wilkinson
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:00 pm
012

Congrats on a great year, Shaun. You deserve it! I {heart} mint!

Author
Keith
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:03 pm
013

I’m glad I was able to help out keeping your family fed with my $120 :)

Bad pirates.

By the way use Analytics too but I love yours more.

Author
Sheldon Kotyk
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:26 pm
014

Heartiest congrats. I purchased Mint the first day it got released to the public and couldn’t live without it since.

Author
Hinching
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:35 pm
015

That’s a pretty impressive summary. Now I’m even more impressed with how you found time for Plazes. :) Keep it up, I know I plan on having some mint on all of my sites.

Author
Garrett
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:39 pm
016

I mean, I love Mint, but that’s almost a given considering how many sites I’m using it on. What’s more impressive is the reaction I keep getting from clients, who consider it the most easy-to-understand presentation of stats they’ve seen.

Thus, your success is of no surprise to me. And ignore Stan, he’s just jealous…

Author
Dan Rubin
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 1:57 pm
017

Well, I don’t honestly (and Obviously) think you have to worry about Crazyegg as being any sort of competition.

As Hiten will most likely find this post using his tracking-skills anyway, I thought I’d be the first to say that, Crazyegg isnt in direct competition with Mint.

Just so you know, which I think you already understand, the idea of Crazy Egg is to test and improve things on your website, including the design and placement of things, more then just give you data like Google Analytics or Mint.

Hiten Shah - Creator of Crazyegg

I’ve got 2 Licenses of mint already, a GA account, and a Crazyegg Pro account, and I only really use mint more than once a day, and Crazyegg usually in the morning. I wouldn’t ever give up Mint for any other app.

Author
Matt Johnson
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 2:03 pm
018

Mint isn’t just a stats program, Mint is a drug. One which I am very addicted to.

Thanks for that.

And I can’t help but wonder…What’s next? I know you have to have something up your sleeve.

Author
Elliot Swan
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 2:32 pm
019

can’t stop buying mint licenses. love it. addiction, mint is thy name.

Author
jasonlynes
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 2:36 pm
020

Thanks everyone.

Matt, I’m not worried about Crazy Egg as a competitor. It’s just lumped in with the other publicly-opined Mint-killers.

I see that they server different purposes and that Analytics appeals to a different type of stat checker than someone who would appreciate Mint, but those casting their opinions don’t necessarily see the difference.

Elliot, the next something up my sleeve is still somewhere in the general shoulder area and will come completely from left field.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 2:54 pm
021

Shaun, First of all, I love Mint and feel that your statement is very accurate:

those casting their opinions don’t necessarily see the difference.

We have run into the same sentiments, where people do not quite understand the pain we are trying to solve versus other “analytic” products. All we can do is keep doing what we believe in and hopefully these people will begin to understand the differences and different uses of each of the products.

Cheers to your success!

Author
Hiten Shah
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 3:21 pm
022

See. I told you that Mint thing wouldn’t amount to anything.

Author
Dan Mall
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 3:22 pm
023

Congrats on a great year Shaun. Mint is the most elegant, simple, and beautiful stats package out there. The interface is one of the best web interfaces out there for any app period. I look forward to future versions of Mint and any other projects you’ve got up your sleeve.

Author
Rob Goodlatte
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 3:26 pm
024

Wow, I can’t believe it’s really been a year since I freaked out like a little school girl at the release of Mint.

Any who, I’d love to here more about what you’re doing right now other than devoting time your time to Mint. I’m missing the more occasional updates.

Alex

Author
Alex Beard
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 3:27 pm
025

The pepper developers make the biggest difference. Fresh Mint and XX Strong Mint were the first things that caught my eye and drew me away from the drudgery that was webalizer. Mint lets me craft my own analytics and not depend on what Google and friends decide they do or do not want to count.

Author
Ernie Oporto
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 5:17 pm
026

Congrats!

Author
Miko W.
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 7:18 pm
027

Thanks for the Mint, Shaun! I bought my first lisence on launch day, and have used it on every project I’ve been working on since. Clients love it, as it’s understandable, and I get my widgets and RSS feeds. I never got around to make the Mint-vs.-Typo (RoR)-plugin I told you about in London, but maybe some time in the future, maybe in php. :-) Best wishes for the coming years!

Author
Geir Arne Brevik
Posted
Sep 6th, 2006 11:00 pm
028

Congratulations Shaun on a solid year. Look forward to new things in Mint and any future events on your horizon.

Author
Sam Brown
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 1:34 am
029

Congrats on year one Shaun. The first of many.

Author
Colin D. Devroe
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 4:09 am
030

Well done Shaun, you deserve all the accolades. Mint is better than I ever thought it would be, and has become the first thing I check in the morning, the last thing I check in the evening, and the thing I check most frequently in between.

You know you have done something right when a community of people spend time and effort to contribute to it, and that community is probably one of mints biggest assets, lets hope they keep churning out great stuff!

Author
Stuart Frisby
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 5:11 am
031

I happily install Mint on each new project that comes along and would frankly feel lost without it now. All I ask is that when Yahoo or Google come sniffing around (and they will) please resist the urge to sell out for just a little while longer.

Author
Kirk
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 5:38 am
032

All I ask is that when Yahoo or Google come sniffing around (and they will) please resist the urge to sell out for just a little while longer.

No worries there. They couldn’t pay me enough to give up the freedoms I enjoy working for myself. Trade daily lunches with the wife for ridiculous real estate prices and how long a commute? No thanks. :)

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 5:44 am
033

Many well-deserved congrats Shaun. You’ve become a role model for designer, developers and freelancers everywhere.

Author
Jonathan Snook
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 6:28 am
034

I must admit I was a bit saddened last year when you told me you’d be doing Mint full-time. Design inspiration hasn’t been the same without your freelance design work displayed in full glory, apart this site and haveamint.com.

However, I probably speak for many when I say you couldn’t have made a better choice. Here’s to another minty year…

Author
Cameron Moll
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 7:14 am
035

I

Author
web
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 7:14 am
036

Congratulations, Shaun! You’ve delivered a great product that this group, and many more, just loves.

Author
Chris Peterson
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 8:03 am
037

Grats Shaun ! Its a great product !

Author
Tim Thiessen
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 8:16 am
038

Shaun: The success is well-deserved. Mint is such an integral part of my day now, I don’t know what I would do without it. Thank you for putting the hard work in and for selling it at an affordable price for the rest of us. As for the pirates, walk the plank (har har).

Author
Nathan Smith
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 2:53 pm
039

As everyone else has already said, congratulations and thanks for a wonderful product.

Author
Scott Orchard
Posted
Sep 7th, 2006 8:23 pm
040

If lifelong dream #317 is having something you’ve created grace the pages of Wired magazine, then what number is Total World Domination? I’d vote for you as president…or at least town mayor…or something. LONG LIVE MINT!

Author
Jason Beaird
Posted
Sep 8th, 2006 2:46 pm
041

Congrats. It’s great to see a one-man operation with so little overhead be so successful.

It was great to meet you. Ping me some time.. :)

Author
Andrew Sutherland
Posted
Sep 8th, 2006 5:42 pm
042

Congrats Shaun, there are 3 licenses under my name and there’s a reason for that. ;) Here’s to another year of showing the world what the best web statistics program out there is.

Author
Bryan Veloso
Posted
Sep 8th, 2006 6:44 pm
043

Congratulations on all your success, and following the much urging by Andrew I finally purchased a copy of Mint for my site.

From all the success, there is only one thing I would like to see, that being the ability to purchase unlimited liscense, or if you’d rather not do that at least allow us to purchase several liscenses for a reduced rate.

Author
Neil Kelty
Posted
Sep 9th, 2006 5:59 pm
044

Congrats Shaun from everyone here at pMachine!

May your 2nd year be even better than the first.

Author
The pMachine Team
Posted
Sep 11th, 2006 3:32 am
045

Congrats Shaun!

Hopefully you can get a well deserved break.

Author
J. Curtis
Posted
Sep 11th, 2006 5:13 am
046

Congratulations. It’s been a great change for me, running Mint. Of course, now that I’ve got it, I wish for something even better :) Hopefully your success thus far will ensure new treats to come.

Author
Daniel Jalkut
Posted
Sep 11th, 2006 7:13 am
047

Shaun: great work on Mint. An absolutely addictive app. Bravo.

Author
Brian Oberkirch
Posted
Sep 11th, 2006 1:34 pm