I remember taking a “non-recruiting” walk with Patrick in December 2012. I was hell-bent on starting another company, but since my last day at Twitter that March, the only company I would have considered joining was Stripe.
Square was the other prominent payments company at the time. I sent them my resumé in 2009 but never heard back. I was so convinced that the two companies were on a collision course. It seemed so obvious that Square should add online payments to their suite of offline tools. When I brought this up with Patrick, he said he wasn’t worried. He said that, “doing this well requires focus, and they’re working on too many things. They’re unfocused.”
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things. — Steve Jobs
Patrick was right. They had the reader, a POS system, and a loans product, among other things. Fast-forward to now, both Square and Stripe are massively successful companies. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next decade. The Internet economy continues to grow, and as Stripe expands into more countries and continents, Square is betting on crypto.