- Twitter/Patrick McKenzie
In a blog post that went viral on Friday on Hacker News, a site where programmers share and comment on stuff that interests them, a startup CEO announced that he was selling his current company to join Stripe.
He’s a guy that’s made a name for himself living the dream of working for himself as a programmer – successful enough to live where he wants, in Tokyo, though he was born in the US. Successful enough to have sold a few of his projects/companies, but not for the kind of sums that would make headlines.
Successful enough to be happy with his life.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to be an employee again, and honestly, I have mixed emotions about it. That’s why I turned down other opportunities in the past,” he writes.
But after talking with Stripe cofounder and CEO Patrick Collison, it started to occur to him that Stripe’s newest project, Atlas, was something he wanted to help build.
With Atlas, Stripe hopes to do for the awful process of incorporating an internet business what it did for the previously awful process of taking payments over the internet.
“I’ve incorporated four companies and opened business bank accounts for all of them. The most recent required over a hundred pages of documentation and six weeks of negotiation to assuage a risk department’s concerns about foreign tech entrepreneurs,” McKenzie writes.
But along comes Stripe Atlas, which is still in beta, with the goal of letting developers incorporate their company as easily as they fire up a cloud-computing server, and they can fire up an Amazon server in a matter of minutes.
“This idea is crazy,” McKenzie writes. “You’re not supposed to be able to do this. Stripe did it. With crazy speed: the project was in beta within 11 weeks of conception.”
In fact, “Silicon Valley is full of crazy people,” McKenzie writes, explaining:
“When you have too much crazy, you start a social network for cat photo sharing and say – in all earnestness – that it will change the world for all days to come.
When you have too little crazy, you end up taking a safe job at a megacorp and staying even though you hate it.
When you have just enough crazy, you found a payments company, heedless of the fact that founding a payments company is doomed to failure because it involves mountains of hard and boring work and the incumbents have billions of dollars.
[Stripe cofounders] Patrick and John Collison are close-to-optimally crazy.”
So he’s hanging up his CEO hat and going to join them, and his rationale didn’t sound crazy at all. In addition to working on Atlas, he’s going to help Stripe’s three-person office expand in Japan.