Madison White on going global

Mar 13, 2019 · 2 min read
Madison is a software developer on Stripe’s Country Expansion Engineering team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She currently works in Dublin.

At other companies, expanding globally means mostly fitting your product to another market. This may include translating websites, hiring market experts, or addressing some different regulatory processes, but fundamentally the product is the same.

At Stripe, the problem is a lot more complex. The way people think about money is both cultural and very specific. Even in Europe, each country has distinct and standard ways to pay. In Germany, most transactions are still done in cash. This means that if we were to implement the US version of Stripe in a new country, this may not meet the needs of our users.

As an engineer working on European markets, I find this type of complexity both intimidating and inspiring. For example, I recently worked on a feature for the French market and had to write code based off technical documentation written in a language I don’t speak or write. And we are in a business where small differences like “truncating” vs. “rounding,” really matter, so we can’t just guess. Luckily, at Stripe, we have amazing native French speakers who were very willing to help confused engineers. It was simultaneously hilarious and frustrating.

But the most interesting part about implementing new European features has been finding ways to improve the Stripe platform overall. Most Stripe engineers work in the United States, but as an engineer from our European hub in Dublin, I have insight into how products in Europe need to be built. I can push Stripe’s code base to be more flexible in the ways that uniquely matter in Europe and rethink the abstractions that Stripe currently uses. This work will ensure Stripe is in a good position to react quickly to changes in the future and move even faster when it comes to supporting new features. I’m working to make Stripe better in the region where I live and through that work, Stripe becomes better for our product — and our users — all across the world.

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Life at Stripe

Stripes around the globe are working together to increase the GDP of the internet.

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