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!