Farewell Stripe: reflections and thanks

Context: I’ve been lucky to call many teams home at Stripe over the past ~four years—from product and engineering, to payments, the leadership team and everyone across APAC, I’ve learned a great deal from every one. After a decade of working in high-growth at both Facebook & Stripe, I decided to move on. This is an edited version of my internal farewell note.


I joined Stripe to learn about an entirely new product space, make a big impact, and work with great people. Years later, I feel like we have both accomplished so much and also barely scratched the surface — the impact and quality of the team only grows bigger and better every day.

Thank you to everyone I’ve had the privilege to work with and support in one way or another, and to the global Stripes for making me feel at home in every office, while reminding me how much potential we still have to explore.

Below are just some milestones and projects that I was lucky enough to be a part of over the last ~four years. It’s incredible to see how far we have come.

APAC & Global

I started my Singapore rotation last September, and what started with “a few months” quickly expanded as I saw how much potential we have in APAC. Eng/product grew into a full team, we launched a new country (Malaysia), and we’re working with exciting companies across the region that push us to move faster and be better.

What we’re trying to do is difficult, but it’s also uniquely ambitious. We have a real opportunity to redefine the industry and set new standards for technology across the region.

  • We’re building for APAC from APAC, with a localized development team: Every global leader I’ve met is visibly excited when I describe what we are doing and why. Many have spent years sending product requests to other offices (with limited success) or struggling to communicate in both directions. For us it’s still early, but it’s working — our Malaysia beta was launched with many cross-functional team members working together locally.
  • We’re at the nexus of a global movement in digital payments. I’ve used GrabPay in cafes, taken GOJEKs in Indonesia and Singapore, pretended to pay with Konbini in Tokyo, and tapped through multiple OTP/redirect loops ordering food on Swiggy in India. China famously leapfrogged credit cards, going straight to digital wallets like Alipay/WeChat Pay; they’re doing the same with traditional credit scoring systems (e.g. FICO) and developing social/online ones. Everyone is both watching what’s happening and trying to guide the future — the Japanese government is incentivizing cashless payments, India Stack defines universal payments/identity APIs, payment methods like AfterPay from Australia are expanding internationally, and sweeping regulatory changes are underway across the region.
  • Stripe is well-positioned to enable businesses with our products and work with the industry to set new standards — great solutions or established best practices often don’t exist in the market today. Through both, companies have an opportunity to define what it means to transact (successfully & securely) online.

Payments & Applications

It’s hard to believe that in early 2018, the unified “Payments” group was still a young organization. As a member of the team, it was sometimes easy to lose perspective and not always feel the impact we were having day-to-day. As a client, I’ve been lucky to see this from the other side. Teams and people consistently go above and beyond to help nimbly step through shared systems and deliver product value — even as they actively maintain and improve core infrastructure.

The Applications org was created in 2017. I still remember our excitement when we built dashboards to track our first per-product growth goals for brand-new products like Atlas, Sigma, and Radar. It’s also inspiring to see how much Connect has since expanded into advanced fund flows and ways to onboard and verify platforms and marketplaces.

Engineering & Product

When I joined Stripe in 2015, I was intensely motivated by how quickly the business was growing and how much we could gain from strong organizational foundations. What followed was a furious period of sponsoring organizational “v0s” — from Incident Review, to eng recruiting, to Product Briefs / the development playbook and the original product management team, to /dev/start [Stripe’s eng onboarding program], to our first engineering ladders and levels. Along the way, I’ve been consistently humbled by the passion and dedication Stripes have put into these projects. I’ve seen how deeply people care about what we do and how we do it, how they embrace iteration and feedback, and are quick to volunteer to make Stripe a better place to work.

It’s easy to forget what you did yesterday, let alone last year — it can also feel as if your work disappears as the company grows and moves on. I think it’s quite the opposite. I hope as you all push to make the organization better, you take the time to recognize and appreciate the people around you, and realize that even if you don’t see it now, the impact of your work will only compound over time. While v0s can and should get rebuilt again and again until they’re almost unrecognizable, they’re the underlying foundations of what we have today and necessary, important stepping stones.

Community

Special shoutout to all the Stripes who’ve worked to build strong communities, often contributing to I&D and ERGs on top of their other work. Thank you especially to the people who’ve led women in tech efforts (hard to believe our first gathering in 2015 was a one-off dinner for 10 people!) and Equate — I’ll remain an enthusiastic supporter and advocate wherever I go.


Further reading: For background on some of the organizational v0s mentioned, see https://stripe.com/atlas/guides/scaling-eng & principles behind it. For learnings from Singapore, check out this series on APAC as a region, engineering culture, and India’s infrastructure.