Early Culture Beliefs at PayPal

I recently came across a great response on Quora about the strong (and unorthodox) cultural beliefs held by the leadership team at PayPal.

Keith Rabois, an early PayPal executive, listed a few key elements:

  • Extreme Focus: everyone has exactly one priority to work on.
  • Dedication to individual accomplishment: Most innovations at PayPal were driven by one person.
  • Refusal to accept constraints: If you couldn't solve the problem, someone else would be soon assigned to do it.
  • Radical transparency on metrics: All employees were expected to be facile with the metrics driving the business.
  • Meritocratic opportunity & opposition to traditional general management: under-performers were replaced by people according to their technical proficiency at a given role (i.e. the best engineers would manage engineering)
  • Vigorous debate, often via email: important issues were resolved through vigorous debate, not by official edict.

The rest of the responses are insightful, too. I think it would've been fun & exceptionally exciting to be at PayPal during those early days!

Related: Why did so many successful entrepreneurs and startups come out of PayPal?

Hello! I'm Kyle Fox. I'm a hacker, designer, and entrepreneur who loves turning rough ideas into shipped, delightful digital products.

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