#leweb - Can PayPal make your payments effortless and invisible?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

David Marcus, President of PayPal
How do you shake up a large company like PayPal? David Marcus, president of PayPal has an answer – but it’s not a pleasant one.

It’s painful. It’s the hardest thing he’s had to do in his professional life. But he thinks the company has got its innovation mojo back. Perhaps – but finding evidence of that in the most “corporate-speak” presentation we’ve has so far was hard. It seems a rather cruel contrast to put him on right after Phil Libin.

Marcus thinks they’re there in terms of becoming a mobile-first company. Only the central things remain when you design for mobile, which is a great design discipline.

Mobile Checkin has now integrated with 32 Point of Sale vendors. You launch your app, you checkin, and your photo appears on the PoS screen. Payments become invisible. Beacon goes a step further – it’s a little USB stick, that you plug into a socket in the wall. Then, you don’t even need to take your phone out of your pocket.

They’ve been partners with Über for two weeks – because it’s all about making payments going away. You spend too much of your life waiting to pay – or waiting to get the cash to pay. There are better things in life.

To win, he feels, they should be the payment OS for the world. They want anyone who’s building anything with payments to build it on top of PayPal. Equally, he feels there’s no future for the company without developers. That was a driving reason behind acquiring Braintree.

He likes bitcoin – and owns some. But he thinks people are confused. Just because it’s called a crypto currency doesn’t mean it’s a currency. It’s a ledger to hold wealth. It’s not a real currency right now, he argues.

Retail chains will have to reinvent themselves, he suggests. They’re sitting on billions of dollars in retail assets, even as people are buying things from their phones. They need to reinvent themselves as logistics operations, where people can buy things from their phone sand pick them up as soon as they get there.

If he’s successful, they’ll make payments invisible.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.