Thursday 2020-06-18

John Collison of Stripe was interviewed by Patrick O'Shaughnessy

Stripe is a celebration of the written word, which happens to be incorporated in the state of Delaware.
-- patio11

That paean is contrasted by Stripe's one-and-only public (and now disappeared) post-mortem.1 Presumably, this means that a) the gains to documentation are primarily internal, b) public discussions of system failures either decay with time or have little value, and c) team cohesion is strong as internal writings on this have not leaked.

employees find it much more enjoyable to work as a company that’s moving quickly rather than working for IBM. And so we really think about speed as a quality of life improvement of working with Stripe.

`Speed' as a workplace idea seems too tied to time-and-motion studies, and its eventual abuse.2 Perhaps this would be better framed from the perspective of intellectual Accessibility and Mobility? Alternatively, this might be their up-front advertising a la Netflix -- we told you what working here was going to be like...

if you’re an engineer with Stripe, you spend a lot of time being surveyed, because that way we get a sense for, “Okay, how productive are you at this domain versus where you were six months ago?” Now, how productive are you in this domain versus this other domain where you used to work? And that can give us a sense for when we’re making overall a macro developer productivity improvements, where we spend our effort...

Stripe's focus on Best Current Practices and productivity seems eminently correct. Over the past six months, what bottlenecks have you identified and removed? What tools have you built/bought to help you?

Stripe seems to be doing really well. Having one of their missions turned into an aphorism by patio11 is a hard-to-fake measure of just how well. And from the interviews Stripe gives, they seem close to nailing their vision as well.

To build a boat: get some wood, sealant, canvas, and rope.

If however you want to build boats: teach people to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

-- St. Exupery (kinda)

1. See the post-mortem's discussion at hackernews.

2. And the `Speed and Greed' criticism of the dotCom era.

3. Do I read more in the evening now? Maybe. I built an epub of Uses This interviews and am still working through it. For each person, try to figure out what they actually do and want, and what would you do in their stead? Which is slow going to say the least....