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The Story of Stripe (2018) (wired.co.uk)
28 points by lowmemcpu on June 22, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

So, where did Stripe go wrong?

It says in the article (and I've heard this in other places) you could start using Stripe "with only seven lines of code." Sounds like a JavaScript snippet you drop in, so the whole thing could be contained in one 15 line HTML page.

It's not like this now.

I recently set up Stripe and used AWS with a Lambda function, following a tutorial, to accept the token and the message back from the server and etc. You know the drill.

I mean it's not insanely hard but it's sure as hell not "seven lines of code." It is definitely hard enough to deter junior devs who can code up HTML+CSS and basic JS, and maybe even a simple React page. I can easily see someone reading about the API token and responding to the API token on your server and being like "oh shit" and dropping out.

So why can't it be like that anymore? It's funny, all these services say "we want payments to be easy" and eventually develop to a point where payments are no longer easy. It seems like either it's a credit card or it's complicated - nothing in between.

It can be 7 lines, if that's what your business is. If you run a service where you mail people orders, for instance, then 7 lines of checkout is enough. The order will show up on your dashboard and you can mail them the goods.

If you run a digital service where you need to automate payment confirmation, of course that will require communication between your server and their server. What do you expect.

I expect it to be easy: actually, "seven lines of code" easy (look that up and see how many results it gets). They are getting traction and users off this claim. I expect them to live up to it - simple as that.

If it's harder than that: I expect them to devote engineers and brainpower to the problem until it's not. They should solve it - that's their business.

I tried just now searching for 7 line checkout code, finding the code for it. (It's fine if it's 12, that's not the sticking point - but I can't find 12 either). It's not there.

The simplest result is this one.


Note the "client and server flowchart" diagram, with its 6 boxes.


I think the closest to 'simple install' I can get is this code, which was not easily discoverable, in my opinion.


It stand by what I said: it's a hell of a lot harder than 7 lines of code. I find the claim irritating because the reality is it's blatantly untrue.


You do realize that only steps 1 to 5 are necessary to take in payments? If that's the scale you're on, you're done. Step 5 is the only one with code, and I didn't count but it looks like 7 to me without comments.

Of course, if you require integration on your backend, you must write code. I don't understand what you're expecting. Stripe can't modify your code base to receive payment confirmation for you. That's just not possible lol.

I think it's fair to ask what I'm expecting, or, put another way: how it could be better. And maybe, as part of that, why Stripe should care.

I think your explanation did help to make this more understandable, that was useful. In the end (long before writing this comment) I got it to work the 'hard way' so at this point I'm set.

The problem isn't really me, since after all I got Stripe to work.

The problem isn't truly the inexperienced solo junior dev who gets stuck either - I don't imagine that costs them very much business.

The real problem is Shopify, and how potential Stripe customers get bounced off of Stripe to Shopify.

I honestly wonder how much of Shopify's growth can be attributed to "couldn't get Stripe to work, gave up." Or, to go deeper into that, the business owner who's looking for a payment solution, and wants it to be easy.

I think Shopify blew up partly because lots of other solutions were like "we can't make it that easy, but here's this 'easy' solution...' whereas Shopify was the company that said, "here's what you asked for, the easy solution - done."

I think if Stripe's documentation and solutions were better, some of the business that went into Shopify's column, would go into Stripe. Possibly a very significant amount.

I'm still confused on what part of the documentation confused you. Like the fact that it keeps going when some users can stop?

Regardless "where did it go wrong?". Well, nowhere. If you think its wrong now, it was wrong always. There was never a point where stripe could magically write your backend integration with it. The 7 lines always referred to client side integration, enough code that a customer could give you money.

Shopify isn't in the same niche as stripe. I don't know if the deal changed, but Shopify payments was built on stripe. It uses stripe under the hood.

Shopify is not a payment handler, it handles making an online shop.

Thanks; I think I see your point, how Stripe perceives it. "Payment handler not an online shop" summarizes it.

The modern-day equivalent of the "7-lines of code" is the stripped down, client-side only integration at:


tl;dr, click on the stripe website a bunch, then copy and paste the generated html+js (which includes your api key, so you, the user don't have to mess with that) into your own website.

The demo UX is here:


Good find, and IMHO this should probably be the default integration in their docs; the first tutorial listed here is for the Payment Intents API, which is a more complicated version of the Charges API: https://stripe.com/docs/payments

Thank you; that's good to know.

$35 billion and 11 years old. How can Stripe still be considered a startup? Even at the time of writing, it was 9 years old and worth $20 billion.

You stop being a startup when you start spending your own money.

Hmm. I like that but how about.

> You stop being a startup when you start spending only your own money.

Lot's of growth based VC backed startup's have some token income you could argue they are spending.

A startup that takes no external funding is still a startup.

Startup implies rapid growth via VC funding and reinvestment, size and age are not a determining factor

Since when has Stripe ever been even remotely "secretive"? They've been highly publicized in the tech community since the beginning. Just because they weren't mainstream in the beginning doesn't mean they're secretive.

Perhaps they are "secretive" in the same sense that their story is "untold": not particuarly.


To non-developers perhaps.

They marketed (very well) a good product directly at developers realising that would give them a foothold when business person said "who should we use?" and dev thought...well I can deal with paypal or stripe.

Title needs a (2018)

Title should include [2018]

Added. Thanks!

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