The Next 26 Miles

Back in 2013 I got a call from a journalist who excitedly told me that he’d met the smartest people in Silicon Valley.

They were two brothers starting a payments company of all things, and the journalist wanted to write a story about them. He asked if I’d schlep over to the Mission to meet them as a favor. I never left.

Six years later, and we’ve built something I’m incredibly proud of. We scaled to millions of users across 140 countries, including companies like Amazon, Google, and Uber [1]. We grew to thousands of employees spread over five continents. We steadily grew the pie of who could participate in the online economy with Stripe Atlas.

Stripe is now one of the largest internet companies in the world, and a rapidly increasing fraction of the global economy runs on our infrastructure. We don’t sell ads or data; we’re an accelerant for the most dynamic and innovative companies regardless of where they happen to be located in the world. And while we’ve made enormous progress in a few short years, down here in the layer of infrastructure, change happens over time. Fulfilling what we set out to do will be a decades-long marathon, not a sprint.

But running marathons is hard. And running six of them back to back is harder. I’ve made the decision to go and recharge. Later this year I’ll be stepping down from my role as head of communications at Stripe.

Those who know me will have heard me emphatically proclaim things like, “when you consider the scale, the impact potential, the narrative, the team…..there’s no company more worth working for!” or “Don’t the lyrics of [some Hamilton song] remind you of early Stripe?!” I still believe both of those things. Especially the Hamilton part. [2] [3][4]

When that journalist reached out to me in 2013 I never thought I’d join, let alone have learned so much. Or that it would change my world-view (I’m much more optimistic than I used to be), empower me to think bigger, and prove that a motley crew of outsiders could accomplish basically anything they set their minds to.

I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve had, and for the colleagues who’ve become family. Stripe has supported me through a lot: a wicked battle with infertility, my subsequent victory and the birth of my little boy Winston, and even now as a new mom they’ve been ahead of the curve and generous with little things that have made a big impact on my ability to juggle it all.

Thank you to Patrick and John, who realized the value of good communications far earlier than most other tech founders do. They gave me the bandwidth, trust, and freedom to shape an early path that mapped to the scale of our vision.

I’ve had the privilege of working alongside the most talented comms people, many of whom have been at Stripe since the beginning, as well as new additions who have brought fresh perspectives but the same tenacity. Stripe has been one of the most special things in my life for a long time now, and much of that is due to you. I will be right with you in spirit, no matter where my bodily form may be (read: beach chair). I cannot wait to see what you do next.

To that end, I’ll be around for the next few months to help Patrick and John find someone truly exceptional to shepherd Stripe into the next chapter. Anyone who has been watching closely knows the opportunity available to Stripe eclipses the (relatively) small amount that has been built to date. A company like Stripe comes along once in a decade. Its impact, I’m quite certain, will be felt well beyond.

[1] When I joined, one of our favorite user stories was actually a parking garage in Portland, Oregon. I kid you not.

[2] Ok, hear me out. Imagine that NY = Stripe:
“Look around, Look around
The revolution’s happening in New York…”

[3] Yes, I do realize this is a bit much. But you’ll indulge me.

[4] “Immigrants, we get the job done.”