NOTE: This blog has been moved to

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My PayPal Update: PayPal Rocks.

The last three months have been a blur. The last blog I posted was right before joining PayPal. So I thought it would be good to give an update on my honest impressions about PayPal.

Here are my take-aways.

#1 PayPal is positioned like no other company to change the way people use money. 
I am really excited to be part of changing something that is so fundamental to the way the world works. I sensed that PayPal was at an inflection point. And now seeing the products we are working on has convinced me we can do this and we welcome the competition. At Netflix we changed the way people view movies. At PayPal we change the way people use money :-) I am totally stoked about our business future.

#2 The wisdom is in the crowds! 
I interviewed over 100 different people in the organization in my first 6-8 weeks. My theory was the "smarts" was already in the organization. My interviews confirmed this. In many ways my job is collecting the intelligence, distilling it, and connecting the right people and information together and ensuring that we remove friction, indecision and instead multiply the ability of our makers to make.

#3. Innovation is blooming all around the organization
I think this surprises colleagues of mine when I tell them that innovation is alive & well at PayPal. At PayPal's quarterly Leader's day they have a great tradition of every new leader (director & above) standing up and telling about where they came from, what's unique about them and what they will be doing. At the November meeting it took us over an hour to get through all the new people. I would estimate that 15-25% of the leaders were new. Either through acquisition or new hire. All this new blood brings in change with it. Couple the sparks from the new blood with the kindling of the wisdom in the crowds (to mix a few metaphors) and you have a roaring fire. I can assure you the PayPal you see on the site today and on merchant sites around the world will not be the same paypal you see in the future.

And the competition from our friends at Google, Square and many others is awesome. Thank God for good competitors. This is energizing and refines a company and makes it lean.

In fact I am in the middle of hiring for my head of UIE Innovation. This is a kick-butt role that partners directly with UED & Product in a lean & mean & collaborative manner to burn through as many ideas as possible and marry technology & innovation.

#4 The Technology Platform is being Re-Invented
Prior technology choices on the front-end have hindered productivity. Using XML/XSLT is a HORRIBLE choice. It is a curse that thankfully is being rooted out. We are migrating all of the products to a simpler architecture that supports true client side development. I am happy to report that my team and the infrastructure team are building strong alliances and we have a shared vision that is about making UI development as nimble as possible. We are building towards a rapid experimentation platform.

#5 My Leadership Team Rocks
Ok, so you might say "well you would say this because some of your leaders will read your blog." Regardless, it is true. I have never been as challenged by my leaders to be bold, make quick decisions, lead, allow no excuses to paralyze us as I have been here at PayPal.

I can't speak for the past at PayPal. And we certainly are not where we need to be yet. But I can assure you that we are unified on empowering an army of change agents. And we have the right vision, the right story that defines where we will be.

We are Hiring
How about it? Want to join me in this grand adventure? I am on the lookout for talented user interface engineers. I need strong developers. Strong computer science skills. JavaScript rock stars. HTML5/CSS3 aficionados. If you have the chops contact me at billwscott over on gmail.