Patrick Collison is the 28-year-old CEO of Stripe, the online payments company that was just valued at $9 billion. Haven’t heard of Stripe? You’ve probably used it. Last year, 40 percent of people who bought something online used Stripe’s payment systems. The company has become an integral part of the internet’s financial plumbing.
And Collison has become one of Silicon Valley’s leading lights — he made the cover of Forbes last year, where one venture capitalist described him as “the LeBron James of entrepreneurs.” Collison is also one of the few people I’ve met who is a genuine polymath. He seems to know everything about everything, and his recall — particularly his ability to live-footnote his own comments — is something to behold.
We talk about how he and his brother conceived of, and launched, Stripe, and then we go much deeper. Among the topics we discussed:
-Why there was a market opportunity for Stripe in a world that had PayPal
-Why people are often wrong when they look at a market and think an incumbent has dominated it
-What he thinks is untrue about the stereotypes of how Silicon Valley handles regulation
-How we might be able to tell whether a buildup of regulations are preventing new companies from emerging
-Why jobs like home healthcare and childcare are becoming tension points in our national immigration discussion
-The difference in the way politicians and tech leaders approach problem-solving
-How he tries to shape culture within his company to help it become, in his words, more like itself
-What he admires about CEOs like Jeff Bezos and Jim Simons
-The culture of “rationalist” bloggers, and why he reads them-How we underestimate the importance of the Enlightenment period
Listen to the entire episode here.