EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3158 - September 23, 2013     2 of 4

It's a Wonder PayPal Functioned at All to Hear Tell

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The latest fashion among PayPal executives is to bash the company and technology that existed before their arrival. David Marcus led the charge in a piece in PandoDaily, which reported that PayPal's biggest critics were among the current management team. Marcus took over as President of PayPal last spring following Scott Thompson's departure.

To hear the criticism coming from within, it's a wonder PayPal functioned at all.

In a talk at a recent O'Reilly conference, PayPal's Director of User Interface Engineering Bill Scott said, "I could write a whole book on the systemic problems that existed throughout PayPal," and he said it has a "tangled up technology."

Scott said PayPal had been all about risk aversion. "In 2011, even a simple content copy change could take as much as 6 weeks to get live to site."

He also took a jab at Thompson. "Scott Thompson who had gone to Yahoo, you might have heard of the guy who didn't have the degree, former president at PayPal, he really turned the knob up on being risk adverse. Did some good things in the sense that he stabilized PayPal from a technical perspective, but the experience dial was turned way down, and everybody was caught in the net of the, you know, you're account is frozen or on hold or those sort of things which creates a lot of ill will in the industry." He also referred to PayPal cultures as one that embraced "a long shelf life."

eBay CEO John Donahoe swept out the top executives and replaced them with managers who follow his philosophy of innovation, and has hired those with a startup background through some acquisitions.

History will tell if this PayPal team improves the service, or if they'll be replaced by yet another group confident they can do better who criticize their predeccesors.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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