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Meet Tina Hay of Napkin Finance in Century City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Hay.

Tina, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
An LA native, my background is a diverse mix encompassing film, technology and finance.

My latest venture is Napkin Finance, a multimedia platform where readers can learn everything about money in 30 seconds or less. We help people of all ages to learn finance in a visual, simple and fun way. I am excited for the launch of our new book, Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less from HarperCollins on December 30, available wherever books are sold.

The inspiration for Napkin Finance was my own struggles as an MBA student at Harvard Business School. I come from a liberal arts background and it was very difficult keeping up with the former bankers and consultants in finance classes.

I am a visual thinker, as are many other people. Visual thinking is a classic concept. Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Galileo, Freud and Mozart all used methods of visual thinking to generate solutions to the problems they faced.

For my own purposes, I have always sketched images to help break down complex topics, especially dealing with money and finance.

I started sketching different topics on napkins as a personal tool and passion project but saw that the napkins seemed to resonate with quite a few people. What started with one napkin has grown into hundreds of illustrations.

Napkin Finance now reaches over 80 million households through our collaboration with banks and financial institutions. The company is also international through our work with the largest bank in Mexico.

Supporting our mission to empower, educate and entertain, Napkin Finance has partnered with organizations including The White House for Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room and Reach Higher initiatives as well as numerous non-profits, schools and Universities. The company has most recently partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide financial resources for athletes.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are always struggles in starting a new venture. I think of it as a roller coaster. The toughest part is building a great team. With a great team, everything is easier. For Napkin Finance, I am very lucky to have an amazing mix of creative minds and financial experts that come together to build our unique content.

One major challenge is saying no to opportunities that don’t align with our vision and making sure we are focusing our time and resources in the right places.

Please tell us about Napkin Finance.
Napkin Finance is a financial education platform that aims to empower readers by simplifying money and finance. Through infographics, videos, and other multimedia, we break down financial concepts with easy-to-understand visual explanations. This is also reflected in our new book from HarperCollins – Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less, which includes bite-sized lessons covering investing, credit scores, blockchain, and more.

Our unique approach is to combine this simple premise—that most people learn better from pictures than they do from words alone—with deep-seated financial expertise, a meticulous focus on design, and a commitment to always keep our content as simple as possible. This interdisciplinary approach lets us create memorable content that can cut through the noise and reach readers where they are.

Our competitive advantage is our focus on visual learning and radical simplification, and our ability to distill topics from an unbiased point-of-view.

I am most proud of the philanthropic work we do. We are a social enterprise and we have dedicated time and resources to the causes we care about from the very beginning. The most rewarding aspect of the business has been the work we do for students and people who don’t have access to the resources and tools they need to make smart money decisions.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, there are few things I would do differently. I believe we have been able to build a memorable and unique brand by being disciplined in our approach, producing high-quality content, and making sure we have great people on board to make our vision a reality.

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