Book – The PayPal Wars

Yesterday (7/10/2010), I read “The PayPal Wars” by Eric M. Jackson and enjoyed it very much.

The following items I found particularly interesting:

  • The slam of the Arthur Andersen & Co. culture (I started my career in the consulting division of Arthur Andersen & Co.) .
  • The notion of needing a succinct compelling message of your products value proposition.
  • The conversations around the network effect. ( I’d suggest the O’Reilly book Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide for a more detailed discussion of network effects especially in the context of a web based service) .
  • The fact that user generated content (eBay sellers) including links to PayPal content was such a big part of their success.
  • The discussion of the dot com peak in 2000.
  • The internal “Unix/Oracle” vs. Windows NT platform schism.
  • The approaches developed and adopted to fight fraud including the introduction of a CAPTCHA.
  • The history behind the development of the various policies and the reasons for the development of the “business account”.
  • The regulatory hassles and challenges.
  • The competitive back and forth interplay between eBay/Billpoint and PayPal.
  • The cultural differences between PayPal and eBay.

The whole story is fascinating.

Coincidentally I ran across the following article this week that is very consistent with the story told in the book.

Overall the book contains a lot of thought provoking material.   I’m sure it will still be sparking thoughts in the days to come.