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Stripe cofounder here. It's a very fair question.

> I must admit to being somewhat uncomfortable that Stripe seems to be spreading themselves out into areas outside their core business

The vast majority of Stripe employees (and there are now more than 1,000) work on our core functionality today. But we see our core business as building tools and infrastructure that help grow the online economy. ("Increase the GDP of the internet.") When we think about that problem, we see that one of the main limits on Stripe's growth is the number of successful startups in the world. If we can cheaply help increase that number, it makes a lot of business sense for us to do so. (And, hopefully, doing so will create a ton of spillover value for others as well.)

As we grow, we have to get good at walking and chewing gum -- just as Google or Amazon have. However, while we go and tackle other problems, our aim is not only to continue to improve our core payments infrastructure, but do deliver improvements at an accelerating rate.

> we see that one of the main limits on Stripe's growth is the number of successful startups in the world. [...] If we can cheaply help increase that number, it makes a lot of business sense for us to do so.

This approach lends itself to spending on many cheap things which, e.g. in this case, might not even have quantifiable benefits.

I'll extend OP's curiosity and wonder how the team behind Stripe press plans on measuring the success of their initiative, and what milestone hits/misses are needed to determine the success or failure state of the project.


Separately, my background includes vendor risk assessments. This is the kind of thing that makes me question long term investment in a platform. It's admittedly a lower risk than many technical findings, but it's not something to discount when evaluating the use of a startup for critical infrastructure (payment). Knowing Stripe's size, the various risks that PCI participants have to account for (and that's just PCI DSS specifically), and the trouble many larger organizations and startups have in meeting those obligations also makes me that much more likely to strictly score Stripe on the next vendor risk assessment when I see spend of this sort on ancillary/non-critical measures.

I'm sharing how I think because I'd be surprised if others in my field didn't think the same way.

From one vendor assessor to another: that is an odd hill to die on in your report, and it’s indistinguishable to Stripe from the general preference in payments for established companies. I would like to see the risk model that measurably connects small marketing expenses to poor data handling.

On a similar note, I've seen one large client's PCI compliance team tell us that we couldn't use Stripe for their integration, primarily because it's seen as a payment processor for startups and not for the "enterprise." It didn't help that Stripe doesn't give out Merchant IDs. Additional risks have been that Stripe has made breaking changes without an api version update and the number of data issues/edge cases we've run into with automatic reconciliation reports.

What perception of market segment have to do with PCI compliance?

Not much, but the assessors are human and often take into account subjective factors like that when making their determination. Or threaten to, which is as good as making it a part of their checklist. That’s here in Australia, anyway, about 5 years ago, nothing to do with stripe but they definitely cared about what our processors reputation looked like

Stripe is a huge company now though. Big companies waste money on all sorts of garbage with little ill effect.

One thousand is nowhere near huge.

This is what I like about HN. Feels like a small community where cofounders stepping in to guage feedback.

Nice vision.

Off topic. Why is the Stripe Brazil so slow to start working in Brazil? I believe Brazil has an huge space to growths in online payments, and if it process "boletos" (a Brazilian way to pay stuff) besides credit card will be very helpful.

The first thing I thought when reading the post was “I’d much prefer if they worked in allowing us to settle in reais”.

Piggybacking off of top comment to send some UX feedback.

The content blocks that scroll left to right lack signifiers and weren't intuitive for me to scroll them left to right.

I would say having some low opacity arrows (or something similar) would help.

I like this perspective. Being seen as genuine thought leaders (as opposed to all the posers out there) is good for the brand.

Running a small press is a pretty cost-efficient way of doing this. To me, it's more like Intel's days of sponsoring high-school science fairs. It's low-key, long-horizon marketing that doesn't instantly lend itself to ROI calculations, but that can be a boon in a lot of ways both obvious and oblique.

That's a reasonable point, however I'm not entirely sure the initial core business of Stripe was that. Was there a point where the core business broadened?

I think we first used “increase the GDP of the internet” in early 2012, a few months after Stripe launched.

Very nice! All the best with it all :)

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