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Stripe CEO Patrick Collison: Stripe's best people are "continually paranoid"

What’s it really like to work at Stripe? The $50bn valued payments giant is a stalwart in the fintech industry, and is known for being one of its top payers, particularly at a senior level. Stripe has a type, however, and speaking on a podcast last week, founder and CEO Patrick Collison said what that type is.

Collison said he's looking for people with “a very good understanding of our domain… who actually care about solving the problems.” Caring too much doesn’t seem to be an issue. Collison says Stripe employees should be “continually paranoid at the prospect that we might be forgetting something important.”

It seems that Stripe wants people with deep insights into the future, or what Collison colourfully describes as  the ability to make “multi-decadal abstractions.” He wants people who will ask, “do we think we can stand behind this in 2044?” 

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Like Plaid and its CTO Jean-Denis Greze, Collison says his fintech is full of individuals who are “drawn to unglamorous infrastructure challenges and problems.” He says the company doesn’t make “beautiful cars, we make roads.” The development is more important than the glamour at Stripe. He calls the best people “craftsmen in their domain,” who want to “work with the best other people.” 

While front office roles in traditional finance can feel a sense of superiority over their back-office counterparts, Collison says the approach at Stripe is different. He asks, “is the front or rear wheel of a bicycle more valuable?” and says what’s more important is “very earnest, repeated, serious and long-term application of taking the goal seriously.”

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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