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Stripe Home (stripe.com)
496 points by wgyn 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 151 comments

This is a perfect illustration of a company which is obviously genuinely thinking through its own process and operations from a set of values and principles. Most companies are going to use off-the-shelf products like Sharepoint and this type of off-the-shelf solution, usually being so poorly designed to the point of unusable, signals to front-line employees "we don't actually care about you guys using this to enrich your sense of community and collaboration, we just did it because companies seem to have these things".

Now contrast that to Stripe who's actually expending cycles and real labor to solve what they've deemed a real problem or at least a tangible goal for their org.

Stripe is an awesome company, I can only hope the rest of the industry will take notice of their culture and process. But even if the rest of the industry doesn't take notice Stripe will continue to attract better talent and get higher quality output from their people because of this type of care and consideration.

I would add most companies do not have the product/engineering/ux talent to approach this problem. Stripe is in the unique position that its talent can execute on several internal “projects” that each individually could justify an entire company to build. Most founders / leaders care deeply about their enriching their teams’ camaraderie and collaboration -- even if only from a cynical rational perspective of onboarding, productivity and retention efficiency (though I would argue from talking to many of them there is also a benevolent side to that). It is an hard problem to get right and Home nails several important details.

Disclosure: I am a founder of https://slab.com that is also addressing this as a scalable SaaS solution.

I'd suggest that if you are building a product like this, it really needs to work on-prem. Many companies will not host this kind of critical information outside their own network.

Seems like premature optimization. One can build a huge product based on the companies that don't mind, and adapt for on-prem later depending on feedback.

You can often tell when a product has been changed to do on-prem as well as the reverse. Those traces of transition can be painful for the developers and the customers. Like the other person mentioned there's a lot you probably won't consider in terms of features or compliance if you're not building for both.

There's also ops and support. Building something meant for a dedicated team to keep running is way different from something a team will do ops for as one of many things. A complex architecture (even if contained in a single VM) requires a lot more support from more capable support people on the developer's side as well.

You have to think through a lot there. It's not something to take on without careful deliberation but if you're sure you'll eventually need to do both you should strongly consider it. If nothing else make it part of every design decision and pay attention to operational overhead by your own teams because those problems might end up being customer problems.

It's not only an optimization problem.

Building Saas-first or on-premise-first leads your product toward distinct attractors (features, behaviours, compliance, etc.).

Perhaps using something like replicated.com if you don't want to do it yourself?

It’s not even possible to avoid on-prem. Stripe Home is clearly searching repositories.

I agree, but where would you draw the line between spending time/money on projects like this and needlessly reinventing the wheel?

I see a lot of startups creating internal software themselves (e.g., CRM's, email marketing systems, etc.) with a similar rationale based on "values and principles", where an off-the-shelf solution would be a much better use of resources.

Ironically, Stripe's core product is one of those off-the-shelf solutions that seems to be a good fit for a lot of startups, yet some still choose to do things the hard way.

I would argue that the product you see on the outside (Stripe) is a reflection of the work that gets put into internal only projects. In many ways, this sort of "build the things that people want to use" culture causes people to experiment, to hone their skills, and to develop.

Stripe landing pages almost always get tons of support on Hacker News. This isn't because they're just a good payment processor -- it's because their landing pages are unlike anything else in the industry. They could have slapped together a static site in Jekyll with custom styling and called it a day. Instead, they labored over a landing page that feels well designed with immaculate attention to detail.

Did they have to do any of this? Not really. But it shows on the outside -- and it works. Given that the world is filled with design that just copies Apple and Google, supporting creative R&D is a huge plus for them.

Internal tools are the best way to do that -- they let people experiment and learn without fear of consequences on the outside.

I see a parallel here with Square in its early days. They would do some finely polished internal projects like this, like beautiful information dashboards, and redesigned their website like every other month.

I don't want to be too cynical but it can function as a kind of elaborate PR and recruiting tool, as well as generally support the impression of the company being the Next Big Thing. As Square had to open up their finances and work on profitability, they got more focused on core product. I wonder if Stripe will follow.

I also wonder if there's something particular about payment processors.. maybe overcompensating? Is it part of the business model to kind of puff up a company around what should otherwise be a commodity-priced core service?

Good point. It really is a commodity service: treasury services and risk management.

And most of that should be fairly autonomous. The fat will eventually be trimmed. Just like at Etsy.

> I don't want to be too cynical but it can function as a kind of elaborate PR and recruiting tool, as well as generally support the impression of the company being the Next Big Thing.

Whether or not this is intentional, it's working that way. I've heard more guests on techy podcasts that work for stripe than google, maybe just because they're so enthusiastic about the culture that they always seem to bring it up.

> ..."build the things that people want to use" culture causes people to experiment, to hone their skills, and to develop

Maybe it depends on the size/stage of the company to some degree. In the startups I've been involved with (< 10 people), developers have little - if any - time to experiment with things that fall outside the core product.

Company hackathons (as mentioned in Stripe's case) can be a good outlet for that kind of creativity, but the kind of quality you mention ("immaculate attention to detail") doesn't come out of hackathons. The company's leadership still has to make those things a priority (which, by definition, deprioritizes other things).

Yes but at the same time, like they said in the blog post, this particular problem reared its head when they were approaching and passing 150 employees. At that point, yes, people can take some time off to work on a truly nice solution to a problem that, like others have said, mostly receives half-baked solutions.

It's interesting, we've talked to a LOT of companies about this as customer research for our SaaS product (https://carrot.io) and 150 is actually where this problem become unbearable. We see this problem first come up consistently at 30 people, become a major problem at ~100 people that starts to get lots of attention inside the company, and becoming a real hindrance and burning issue if not addressed at ~150+.

It's not at all surprising to us that both Stripe and Square have spent a lot of time and money on this problem to support their quick growth past 1,000 people.

You might be interested in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number if you aren't already aware of it.

In a company of “knowledge workers” building (or operating in) complexity the “wheel” is how you do collaboration and sensemaking.

“Reinventing” implies this has been done right for Stripe (or any such company) elsewhere.

better use of resources

Effectiveness in complex environments is not necessarily efficient.

> I see a lot of startups creating internal software themselves (e.g., CRM's, email marketing systems, etc.) with a similar rationale based on "values and principles", where an off-the-shelf solution would be a much better use of resources.

I've also seen companies drown themselves in custom ERP systems to the extent that it actually impacts their bottom line.

Point is - if these types of projects can produce an ROI and improve the bottom line, then by all means do them. But know what you're good at - and better, know what you're not good at.

I've also seen companies drown themselves in custom ERP systems to the extent that it actually impacts their bottom line.

Possibly OT, but heck, they do it with AWS bills that coincidentally often track pretty well what it would cost to colocate bare metal and employ sysadmins.

If the costs track but you don't have the management overhead then I'd consider that a win for the company.

Calling people "resources" and looking for the cheapest way out tells something about values and principles.

I know what you're trying to insinuate, but just to clarify, as the OP used it, resources seems like money, and cheapest means you are thrifty, you know, that things that a site like YC espouses in startups.

It's a gamble. But, there are other examples of this: the company that created Slack was trying to make a successful game when they realized their internal comms tool was more interesting. Will Wright was making a helicopter sim when he fell in love with the game's city-building tool.

They also created Flickr. Both Flickr and Slack were detours to market internal tools to outside customers on the way to making a game which never actually got made.

Why can't Stripe do the same thing? It's got this gigantic customer base of fledgling businesses; why not start building internal tools and then, once they're mature and battle-tested internally, offer them publicly to the growing businesses they already work with? It's an ingenious move.

Stripe is so profitable that anything else they make will look like a joke for the first few years. It is easier to pivot from an unsuccessful product.

Which he later went back to, Sim Copter

Nah, he finished the chopper game that Sim City grew out of.

"Wright continued to develop the editor for [Raid On Bungeling Bay] as a personal toy because he enjoyed it so much. He researched urban planning and realised that others might enjoy constructing and building cities themselves. The result was a more advanced simulation that eventually became SimCity."

- the Wikipedia page on RoBB, which also notes that it selling about a mullion units in Japan was a large part of what gave Wright the financial freedom to build Sim City


We're in the HR business and we don't offer a cool off the shelf app like this (we should! I took notes!)

I don't know if you would find a good off the shelf product that meshed with Stripe's vision. Some of the discrete pieces, document sharing and search, maybe.

I have a slightly irrational fear that companies that spend a ton of energy outwardly talking about their culture are the ones with the most insufferable culture.

My hypothesis is that these companies are overly obsessed with defining a “mold” of the type of person that belongs at the company, and if you slightly deviate from that mold then you’re disproportionately punished for it.

I think the Occam's razor perspective here is that an engineering job at most of these companies is 90% the same, same-ish pay, same-ish equity, sort of mission-driven-but-not-really work, etc.

What breaks a company out of commoditization is often culture and so companies will go to great length to demonstrate their differentiator.

(as a former founder and hiring manager at a bigger company who has spent a lot of time doing this in both settings)


Only certain companies though are able to execute and maintain this type of stuff, and even then it’s still questionable whether it’s worth it or not. I would love to see where Home is in 2 and 5 years.

I worked at a company that used its own homegrown timekeeping and HR tool. Over the years it became poorly maintained as people came and gone and the company (and its needs) grew. Eventually it was decided to jump ship to an "off-the-shelf" product and everyone loved it because it actually did what it was supposed to do.

I highly doubt employees are going to feel more loved because the company decided to build their own wiki and address book.

(I'm the author.)

If it's helpful context, Home has been around for two years and People (its precursor) was made in 2014. We now have a team helping shepherd it along -- you're right that an staple is curating so it doesn't become bloated. We intend to continue to share updates as we learn more, so hopefully others can learn from what works (and doesn't!) as well.

We use Bamboo HR and it does a lot of this but not all. Having a quality intranet is important and having it integrated is as well. We use multiple solutions to accomplish the same thing but obviously this looks great and functions great :)

Keep in mind some companies are savvier than others with respect to how they market themselves, and that the dirt hiding under a pretty rug can be just as dirty as the other kind. Keep in mind a company isn't going to go to pains to point out the areas in which it's not thinking through process and so forth: would they bother discussing the workflow of an employee whose day is not significantly improved by the Home site? No.

Is the thing nice? Sure it's nice. But I think it's a mistake to extrapolate too heavily from that to other areas of a company's operations. Every tech company I've ever been at has had "dirt floors" in some form or another- a really shitty area that was paid little or no attention so the adjacent cathedral could have another layer of gilding added.

Even "awesome" companies have areas you would not want a job working in. If you were in such a situation, would you want your lot to be improved, or would you want to watch cutesy videos of people who work at your company you will likely never meet? Imagine being in such a position, raising the issues you are struggling with every day to whoever will listen, and being ignored in favor of resources getting devoted to a cool UI for editing out-of-office days. That would probably be, you know, a bummer.

I don't understand this at all. It reads like PR boilerplate:

"Used by 99% of Stripes in the last month, Home is the source of truth for who we are, what we’re doing, and why—and a platform for enabling individuals and helping them get to know one another."

If it's the intranet/homepage/directory, of course everyone at Stripe uses it. If this is something worth talking about, let's dig into the real metrics around engagement and usage. It's strange to me to see a YC company so distracted by something this far outside of their core competency, especially to the point they would announce publicly all of the time and effort they put into it. This seems like a pure vanity project at best, and at worst evidence that Stripe is misdeploying resources as they scale, which happens and is often unavoidable.

It's a job offer.

Telling people Stripe care about their employees, that the Stripes built together a platform at one of their Stripe hackathon Etc...

You see the picture. It's not about the platform, it's about interesting people to work for Stripe.

Yup - they want top talent and while offering lots of money helps, having a great culture can mean a lot (for the right people.) This shows how much they focus on their people in that they are spending time and money on it. Also hints at the culture with things like the hackathon and some of things you see written in the examples.

It's purely PR. They are showing their internal environment on Hacker News with a big button to check for openings at the bottom. It's a way to hire more employees, nothing else (and a pretty cheap way on top of that I would argue, the tool was already build, only the blog post was required).

> It's strange to me to see a YC company so distracted by something this far outside of their core competency, especially to the point they would announce publicly all of the time and effort they put into it.

They made this during an internal hackathon. This is not a distraction, it's just something that a few employees wanted to improve and they did it during a time that was allocated specifically to improve what employees wanted.

You may argue that hackathon is mismanaging resources, but that's a whole other story.

We build a similar type of knowledge sharing tool at my startup, Tettra (https://tettra.co). It's not open source and is a paid subscription, but might be worth checking out. We charge because we want to fund ourselves through customer and remain profitable.

On a related note, my co-founder, Nelson, saw Michael's original tweet about Home a few weeks ago and reached out to speak with him. Super nice person. Reportedly Home's really transformed Stripe's already-transparent internal communication culture.

As a founder, I've always admired Stripes email transparency policy. Not sure if it's still being used, but anyone at the company could see anyone else's email from the start. Home seems like a more modern way to share, and this type of transparency really helps eliminate a lot of problems that organizations experience when scaling up.

The book Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal is essentially all about how the US military transformed itself from a top-down organization a team of teams that can operate effectively in a connected, digital world. Knowledge sharing systems between groups of people that are usually siloed was at the core of that transformation. Tools like Home and Tettra really help with that. On a personal note, it's also validating for me as Tettra's founder to see Stripe investing resources into the same problem we solve. They have a culture I really admire and we're hoping to make it easier for other organizations to operate transparently too.

Anyone else using knowledge sharing tools internally? Communication is a proverbial problem for most growing organizations. Would love to hear what's working, what's not, and get a discussion going here.

Just some quick feedback on your site. I'm intrigued by the product but I was really looking for a "features" link on the nav so I could quickly assess what it does.

I know you're trying to drive people to "sign up for free", but I guess I wasn't compelled enough by the text descriptions to do that in the absence of a concrete feature list.

Also, having pricing before features makes me click on pricing first, which seemed premature in my mind before I was even decided I was interested in the product.

Hope this helps!

I was going to say exactly the same thing. I refuse to sign up for websites that can't provide me with one screenshot of their product. There's so little information and so much abstraction and fluff on the home page that I ended up just closing the window.

Agreed, I found a screenshot on their about page [1], but that doesn't seem to belong there. Image link: https://tettra.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Screen-Shot-201...


This is great feedback, thank you! I completely agree. We're actually working on publishing more information about the product. Have some videos coming out about specific use cases, are building out feature pages, and just did our first webinar today too.

+1. Just to provide another data point, I checked out the site and peaked around looking for a list of features/screenshots. Couldn't find any and left. Came back to HN and realized others were saying the same thing.

I agree. This is a concept I've been considering for a new venture and after navigating the site I'm still not entirely sure what Tettra is or how it can help my team.

Screenshots. You need screenshots. I won't even consider your product without them; I'm not going to give you personal information for a demo when I have no idea what I am even looking at. There was a thread on the Zulip[1] thread yesterday about the exact same issue.


We've reached peak Stripe glorification.

Seems like a internal company social networking site? I sure hope they don't peer pressure other employees to "share" and become "social". IMO, it's a company for profit, do your job, get paid and get the f out, everything else is a trick to get you to work more and have less of your real life.

> But by the time we hit around 150 people, it became hard to know everyone’s name. So at a company hackathon, a few Stripes created People, a directory to help Stripes meet and get to really know each other.

It's PR-ified, but as someone at a much larger company, I 100% understand and appreciate this product. Here's a few use cases:

- I'm working on something that integrates with another product we offer, X, which I don't work on. I notice something strange about X - perhaps the internal docs are inconsistent with the external docs, perhaps something about X is unclear, whatever. I need a way to figure out who I should talk to about fixing this. An internal directory helps me find this person, or at the very least find someone who will know who to talk to. Without it, I don't even know where to start.

- I'm ramping up on product X, which will be launched in two quarters. My job is to prepare feature Y for the launch, but I realize there are some implications about how we handle user data that may involve GDPR issues. An internal directory helps me figure out who on our legal team is responsible for GDPR compliance and can help me understand the precise obligations I have under GDPR.

- I'm building internal support tooling for product X, but realize that it might also be useful for products Y and Z, which we also offer. Although I might not be able to add features for Y and Z immediately, I'd like to make sure I know what use cases our support teams for Y and Z actually have. An internal directory helps me identify people I can get user feedback from and consequently build an all-around better tool.

In general at a certain size it becomes impossible to know or be introduced to everyone you need to work with to do your job properly. Internal directories solve this problem.

Being introduced to everyone may work for some people, but I will forget a name within a day if I don't actively use it. Companies of all sizes should have directories with at least a photo, name and title.

Considering the high percentage of time we spend working, I think things like this can do a lot to make those 40 hours feel like less of an obligation.

...which is a goal of management, not labor.

I don't think it's forced.

Personally, I like to work with people I like. I've had many great relationships come from meeting people at work, finding common interests and sharing them. From simple things like talking about our favourite shows, to board game nights, to going out for drinks and meeting up to take pictures. I can see the value in this.

Artsy is just getting past the 200 people mark, and I've been running our OSS team navigator for the last 2 years. I think we've got maybe another a year or two's worth of time left before it needs a considerable re-think. Was kinda hoping this would be OSS, as it's what I had in mind.

However, if you are looking for something in the order of Home but much simpler, check out https://github.com/artsy/team-navigator/

Are there plans to open source any part of this?

(I'm the author.)

We regularly discuss this :) I'm not sure yet how valuable open sourcing it will be in the long run. Part of what makes Home work well for us is how tied it is to how we actually work day-to-day -- that regularly changes as we grow and learn. As an open source project, we'd feel a commitment to keep it working for the existing user base, which might perversely hold back progress on Home and be a net negative for the community as Stripe itself tries new ways to operate.

For now, we intend to continue sharing the lessons we learn from Home and similar tools so that others can benefit from that, and to keep open sourcing it in the back of our head as we design the underlying APIs and infrastructure so we have optionality if it makes sense down the line.

Look at, say, Circle CI open sourcing their front end. Just because you release the source doesn’t mean you have to make any commitments around it. You get to decide what commitments you make.

Who’s using their open-source frontend?

I doubt anyone - it's not useful for anything apart from creating an identical clone of Circle CI.

They didn't open source it for other people to use, they open sources it for other people to learn.

Actually a good example is Blueprint CSS framework from palantir (https://github.com/palantir/blueprint). It's fully tailored around their design philosophy and they are not beholden to anyone else.

However you have to remember that your scale, we will follow you (and fix your bugs) rather than demand you serve us.

Who knows we both might learn off each other !

This seems like a weak argument for not open sourcing. Just because it is open source doesn't mean you need to accept any community suggestions, and it doesn't mean you can't make radical changes because you want to. Even by doing this, you're still giving back because people can learn from it -- kind of like how a patent gives back.

You are the project owner after all, and if someone doesn't like the way you are going they can just fork it and continue on their own.

I think you're making a weak argument for how easy it is to "open source" something. Sure, publicly releasing the source code might be easy, but that's not what 'open sourcing' means to most people.

You're right tho that they could do everything you describe, i.e. publish the source code and not actually participate in any 'open source' community projects that might spring up around the code. I'm guessing that's not really that attractive to Stripe, or lots of other people. It's work just to remember to push commits to the public repo, even if you're otherwise ignoring all public communications about the project. (And ignoring all the public communications, e.g. blog posts complaining about the company not collaborating with the community, is work too.)

> Sure, publicly releasing the source code might be easy, but that's not what 'open sourcing' means to most people.

Still, if they are upfront about it, I don't see how it's an issue. If one of the first lines of the readme is something along the lines of "Because we believe in open source, we are making the source code publicly available for this product. We hope you may learn from it as much as we have, and perhaps adapt and use it in your own organization. However, there are currently no resources allocated towards making this a plug 'n play product for others (we are not your software development team) and therefore we will not accept pull requests or issues."

Perhaps that sounds a bit harsh in its current form, but this is just a draft of what it could say. I think the vast majority of people would understand that it is indeed unreasonable to expect them to spend money on your whims and wishes for no good reason.

I don't think most maintainers of open source projects would agree with your optimistic expectations about the reasonableness of the vast majority of people.

Hey @michaelschade, how do you guys sync the system with new hires? Does home hook up to some sort of HR system in the backend like Zenefits or ADP to sync?

Good question! HR system on the backend is the source of truth for people, their teams, and the org structure; we normalize that into an API, which Home functionality and other internal tools integrate against.

Awesome! Thanks for the response. So Im assuming Stripe doesn't use any outside vendor for HR people management and that it's a home grown product?

It it still built with Ruby?

I would much rather it is provided as it is. I mean No one should ever think of Open Sourcing it as a responsibility.

Any timeline on when it could be a product other companies can use? Perhaps as an early alpha/beta?

What tech stack do you use for your project?

Primarily Ruby, React, Redux, and ElasticSearch (backing our search API)

Is Home going to be launched as a product?

As I read it I presumed there would be a github link at the end...

Not exactly what you'd hoped for, but there's a GH link for https://github.com/open-company

I really hope there are. Solid internal tooling around people ops is sorely lacking at many growing startups.

We're built an open source project quite similar to Stripe Home, it's available as SaaS (https://carrot.io) or it's all OSS to host your own (MPL V2 License). Check it out if you'd like: https://github.com/open-company

From the article,

> Under the hood, Home is built on the same technology as our user-facing products (such as the Dashboard)...

Anyone know what technology that is?

It looks like the Dashboard front-end is using React, and on the back-end they use Ruby. https://stripe.com/blog/engineering

Yep, that's right! Home also uses ElasticSearch for the search API it exposes.

Our team is building a knowledge sharing app Tipi (https://tipihub.com), so we understand the value of Stripe Home.

When startups start to grow, they face this problem of not knowing your teammates well, and there is an even bigger problem of all this scattered information that becomes a big bottleneck in daily work.

With Tipi were are focused on the latter problem, yet we also have people profiles, private messages, etc. It's good to see more startups working on these kinds of problems!

When patio11 started working for Stripe, he mentioned that there was a cool (somewhat simple) internal tool, that he think every company/startup should have? Is this that?

We have a bunch of internal tools; this is not that, though I do really love Home, too.

I skimmed the article but couldn't get a clear sense of what the product is about. It's a social network for companies? I.e. an employee directory?

We're a startup building a product called Nifty that will serve a similar purpose as Stripe Home, we hope you'll take a look:


As software engineers that have worked in large orgs on very complex projects, we know the pain of "app sprawl" and the scattering of information that comes with everyone using different apps. That's why we began building Nifty and our mission is to solve this problem for software teams so that engineers and all creators can reduce the "work about work" and focus more on their valuable, fulfilling work!

Let us know what you think! We'd love some feedback from the HN community!

Your homepage and app design looks very inspired by Stripe. If I was to evaluate your product, my initial reaction wouldn't be great. I think coming up with unique creative would do your product wonders.

Wish you the best of luck in your product!

Thanks for the feedback! We definitely leaned towards best-practice patterns for this iteration of our landing page and Stripe's incredible landing page implementations certainly have influence.

We'll be expanding our branding and identity and this, as you suggest, will include evolving our creative so we hope to shine more in that area very soon!

Thanks again for taking the time @dewski!

My advice would be don’t listen to this guy. Most of your audience just will not care. Solve their problem. Listen to users. Don’t outright lift IP. That’s basically it.

I'm not sure why my advice should be ignored. I run an on-call rotation at GitHub and could definitely be a customer. One of their examples regards Splunk and PagerDuty, both of which we utilize and know the learning curve is up there anything to reduce the time needed to respond to an incident would be great.

At first glance you could make a case this may be a product from Stripe. When I am evaluating a product and it doesn't showcase a lot of creativity I have a hard time taking it serious or recommending it to colleagues. I'd also imagine most of the audience they are marketing to _has_ heard of Stripe.

For more constructive criticism, the landing page is full of skeleton UI and it's hard to imagine what I will get out of the integrations. I realize it's a mockup, but I'd imagine you already know what would be in those boxes. Instead of the 3 gray boxes, show me as a user what I will see. Is it a summary of the integration? Is it an individual issue or pull request? Is it the most recent activity for that integration?

I'm also not a huge fan of the letter spacing site wide, I think removing it looks like an immediate vast improvement when removed.

Hi dewski!

Once again I really appreciate your honest feedback! I find it very valuable! I agree the letter-spacing was too much (sometimes Sketch specs do not translate well into CSS and I think this was a casualty of that!)

I also agree that the screenshots are not sufficient and more context and real-world use cases need to be included, we're working on that!

I hope in the very near future you'll be able to see these additions and maybe even take part in the private beta in which it definitely sounds like you'd give us great feedback!

If you haven't signed up for the beta waiting list please feel free to email me at james [at] getnifty.io and I'll be sure to reach out to you as soon as we're ready for our first, early users!

Thanks again dewski!

> showcase a lot of creativity I have a hard time taking it serious

This isn't constructive criticism. "Showcase a lot of creativity" is vague. Do you take products like Dropbox seriously? Their front-end looks like default Bootstrap.

To add on: your design is fine. Work on pinpointing what burning problem you solve and how your solution is better.

I had a hard time imagining the answers to these, so maybe you could start with today's default solution - Slack plus integrations to every other tool - and point out the problems with that that you solve.

Thanks so much for the feedback! We are definitely iterating on our messaging and I value this feedback, we know we're not 100% there with the messaging.

The primary problem we're addressing is that of "too many apps" causing scattered information and often redundant workflows. Slack does a good job of allowing very specific "hooks" to be created, i.e. a bot which updates a channel of specific activity in a specific app. Likewise, Zapier allows users to configure "one-to-one" type automation.

We designed Nifty to continuously scour all your teams' data across all of their apps and then automatically predict relevant actions or information as user's are using their existing apps.

In short, Nifty is designed not just to allow the configuration of one-off, "one-to-one" integrations but to continuously suggest any number of helpful actions or data across all of your apps without any manual configuration of the integrations themselves.

I know it's a wordy description and, again, we're working on that but I wanted to make sure I communicated to you the difference between our product and some of the existing solutions out there.

Thanks again for taking the time to leave your feedback, it's greatly appreciated!

Thanks for the feedback! We're definitely trying to keep our focus primarily on the core functionality right now so your advice does jibe with our current strategy!

It feels like there's a Stripe blog post on HN's front page every couple of days. Are people here really so excited about it or what is going on? Not trying to blame them of a voting ring, but it's at least eyebrows-raising.

It sounds like they just made a social network?

(I'm the author.)

We don't think of Home that way, but there is an element of helping people know each other. We intentionally haven't built any liking, following, or even posts on Home. Home excels at taking information Stripes produce elsewhere -- in code, documents, and so on -- and surfacing that up through common interfaces to improve access for all; on the people side, Home excels at helping folks learn about others they might not have otherwise met (we're a distributed company and so it's not as easy as seeing someone in the hall). This part of the post attempts to speak to that:

> Home can’t paint the complete picture of the person behind the page, but it helps break the ice. Outside Home, we encourage people to meet in person—one of our more structured approaches involves a chat bot that helps schedule lunches among Stripes who are least likely to know each other (more than 5,000 lunches have been facilitated since it was set up!).

Hey Michael,

In my experience, getting employees to collaborate is harder part with such tools. Second road block is with access rights.

Curious to know what design decisions did you make to ease collaboration. Please share if you can.

No, not at all.

At the most basic level, knowing who works for what team, who is the team manager, who reports to who, etc can be a challenge. Having a single source of truth company directory is key. We had several HR systems and their data was not in sync and rarely correct.

Next, knowing who to talk to in an organization comes down to your ability to network. As a dev, you could ask your manager, who hopefully has a clue about the org structure, but a tool like this can directly link people based on role, skill set, or area of function.

At company social events, I'd interact and chat with people on other teams, sales, bizdev, marketing, and let them know what we (engineering) was working on, and those conversations would open up several opportunities for my teams.

It's easy to dismiss this as something like "facebook.internal" but if I understand this tool correctly, it's far far more valuable to an organization than a place to put up selfies.

... I was hoping to get a trial link!

Same, I read three quarters and went "wait, so shouldn't there have been a call to action by now? Or a Github link or something?" and scrolling through, I was genuinely confused for a bit before realizing that it's not a product launch, but just an informative article.

I immediately contemplated creating it myself open source, but I know how that impulse decision will end...

We've got trials at https://carrot.io

It's not exactly the same as Stripe Home, which looks amazing for an internal project, but Carrot is available to everyone, it's all open source, and we're committed to solving this problem for every company that wants to be the Stripe of their industry some day.

Same! Would love to start using this at my company as we've outgrown Slack.

We built something similar in 2014 for our coworking space, Capital Factory. Slightly different use case though -- to make sure all the founders at the startups working at Capital Factory know who each other are, what they're building and who's an expert at what (so you can get peer feedback/etc).

Since I was seeing dozens of large companies, like Stripe, building their own versions of this, we created a version of ours for other companies to use: https://pingboard.com

Pingboard centers around org charts, and underneath there are rich employee profiles & cross-functional teams. And now we are expanding into hiring planning -- another area that lacks optimal collaboration and transparency inside most companies.

This looks like an amazing product. I'm stunned they're sharing this sneak peak as simply a way to encourage engineers to apply to Stripe.

Does anyone have a sense of whether they intend to ship this as a product? It's incredibly validating for what I'm building right now.

In case anyone is interested:


So yet one more source of notification I can ignore. Between work emails, sms, slack pings and the other 90 systems this just seems like another "meh" not going to pay attention to. Eventually you get overloaded and actually need to work without distraction

Another step towards the feudalistic view of your-Company-as-your-everything. You can receive emails any time. You can Slack any time with your colleagues. You now know everything about them.

The moment Facebook creates the employee apartments, the serfdom will be complete.

Great to see they launched this! Been two years since the visual designs made it onto dribbble.


> one of our more structured approaches involves a chat bot that helps schedule lunches among Stripes who are least likely to know each other

Anyone know if this chat bot is available for Slack? I kinda want to install it for our team

(I'm the author.)

Check out https://www.donut.ai/ -- the company behind it is up to some neat stuff.

LOVE Donut!!! We're too busy to use it effectively though... do you think it could auto schedule 1:1 meetings with the people in the donut conversation?

We love Donut. At least half our company uses it on a weekly basis to grab coffee.

That page says nothing about what Donut actually is/does.

> Spread trust and collaboration across your organization by pairing up team members who don't know each other well.

It literally just DMs two random people suggesting they should get coffee.

As a severe introvert, this is terrifying.

When we used to before, it only worked for people who joined a certain slack channel.

Besides, despite what the name will tell you, this isn’t some sort of powerful, all controlling AI enforcing coffee dates on everyone. It would be set up by a company that would want to use and and would either talk about it and/or have faced the “issues” with introverts.

It’s just a Slack bot. It takes humans to use it.

What a strange and somewhat patronizing answer. I'm pretty sure craftyguy realizes there's no Skynet controlling people's lives and forcing them to have coffee. It's giving the tools to companies to allow them to "face the issues with introverts" that is alarming to those of us who want to preserve serenity in our free time.

It's a super useful bot! Connects you with team members you're least likely to work with (not sure how it knows this, i'm on the comms side). And it puts time on your calendar so you two can grab lunch together. Afterwards, the bot asks how it went! And you can give the team feedback through the bot.

Does it allow you to reject the 'lunch date'?

Yeah, you don't have to set it up to actually do the scheduling. It can just connect the two in a private message and say something to the effect of, "You two figure out when to meet this week."

I could not think of a more horrific bot.

I hate not being able to use Stripe here in Argentina. The only easily-reachable payment gateway is about as nice as a swift kick on the groin, and Stripe's wonderful approach at money would be a godsend.

This really shows how Stripe values people and their work community as a whole. I'm happily employed, but if I were looking for a job, stuff like this puts a company on the top of my list to apply for.

How Google (or other big companies) didn't think of this before? They are a much older org and a good one at that (they have google calendar etc.) , how can they not build such a nice tool till now?

Two things:

1/ Of course Google has something very similar (actually, much larger in scale, since their team is much larger)

2/ Unlike Stripe, Google has products (AKA GSuite, Google+, etc) in the space. So, they do a lot of dogfooding of their own products for their internal directory. Many companies run on Google's version of what Stripe made.

Google has something similar internally, but I can't find any place that talks about it (that was officially talked about). The closest product that Google has in GSuite may be Cloud Search[0].

[0] https://gsuite.google.com/products/cloud-search/

Google uses an internal tool like this called MOMA. It was built by internal Google engineers. I’ve heard from friends who work at Google it’s not the best. They also have never released it publicly. As an alternative to Home, I’d suggest Google Sites or one of the startups mentioned on this thread like Tettra.co, Carrot.io, or FizBuz.com.

Full disclosure: I’m the co-founder of Tettra.

Facebook has a similar project, called Workplace which other companies can use as a private social network: https://www.facebook.com/workplace?_rdr

"The facebook"

another example of using dunbar’s number and employee count at a company, implying the only people you know are your colleagues at your current job

I would love to use Stripe Home for my company :)

Uber built something similar years ago...(Whober)

Lots of tech companies do this. It's like a rite of passage. Twilio built Bacefook once upon a time.

I'm most curious if Stripe will productize this. That would be massive.

Agree there’s a need for this beyond Slack profiles and bad HR portals.

google has had this internally for a very long time.

Pet peeve: Software companies that name their product after the noun that their project is a giant database of. "People" is the stupidest example I've seen yet.

That's not even the name of the product. People was the hackathon project name. Regardless it's a pretty strange pet peeve. I really don't see the problem.

It was my first thought as well, Home is both an extremely generic word and is the name of an existing product by at least one huge vendor.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a pet peeve, but naming things definitely appears to be a challenge.

Those kind of names are generally much harder to search for for one.

They’re private, internal projects. Regardless of the name, you’re not going to find much useful on Google.

Currently, yes. Elsewhere in this thread the author mentioned they do think of making it open source from time to time.

And looking beyond the current example, there are multiple things called home known by millions of people (the English word and the Google product, and I'm sure there must be more).

When you want to find a Google Home online, do you have trouble doing so due to the apparently ambiguous name?

I like to be able to refer to products by their name, rather than have to name the parent company in order to make clear what I mean.

But the name of the product includes the parent company name. It's called Google Home, not Home.

If one strip employee wants to know another one go talk to them. An internal facebook will either be filled with corporate gibberish, empty, or cause someone to get fired.

The ability to quickly look up someone's role and teams (+ easy links to talk with them) is hugely valuable in large and growing companies.

How are you even supposed to talk to someone if you don't know who they are or that you should?

Org chart. They've been around for centuries.

Stripe (like many other mid-sized startups) is a distributed team with lots of remote members to any given member. Having an information oasis to help orchestrate "go talk to them" has value.

It's worth noting that they encourage talking in person, too:

> Outside Home, we encourage people to meet in person—one of our more structured approaches involves a chat bot that helps schedule lunches among Stripes who are least likely to know each other (more than 5,000 lunches have been facilitated since it was set up!).

Stripe Home doesn't actually have any messaging functionality, except to file tickets with teams.

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