What is it about tech-company executives and their tendency to conflate “nagging” with “producing a product that people actually want to use?”
Last November, for example, a couple of high-ranking Yahoos embarrassed themselves by criticizing rank-and-file Yahoo employees who agreed with the countless Yahoo customers who've said Yahoo's “new and allegedly improved Gmail-knockoff” email system is absolutely awful.
(Disclaimer: we always thought that if you're a business whose customers hate your new product offering, changing that one product might be easier than changing all your customers' minds. This might explain why we've never been hired as a high-ranking tech executive.)
David Marcus, president of PayPal, takes his nagging farther than any Yahoo exec dreamed of doing. Marcus discovered that PayPal employees haven't been using the new PayPal app to pay for purchases, which upset him so much he suggested they find new jobs. Here's what he wrote in an employee-wide email sent on Feb. 10:
“It’s been brought to my attention that when testing paying with mobile at Cafe 17 last week, some of you refused to install the PayPal app (!!?!?!!), and others didn’t even remember their PayPal password. That’s unacceptable to me, and the rest of my team, everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.”
The “only” way? Listening to actual customer feedback somehow isn't an option? Maybe not, since PayPal customers aren't likely to be as enthusiastic about PayPal as Marcus would prefer. A properly enthusiastic PayPal employee is one who violates various federal and state-level anti-hacking laws to force companies to accept PayPal (and give PayPal a cut of the proceeds), whether said companies want to or not:
“Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPal because they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. I don’t see these behaviors here in San Jose.”
Lazy bums. Sounds like the San Jose PayPallers' collective work ethic is almost as dismal as that of our own colleagues: we're all allegedly passionate about consumer journalism here, yet none of us hack into other websites to make them accept our articles. Apparently this is a character flaw.
“In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere.”
So if you want to work for PayPal, it's not enough that you complete your assigned tasks in an effective and timely manner, nor is it even enough that you use PayPal for your everyday non-business purchases.
You must set aside any notion that PayPal is merely a “job,” or even your “career”; PayPal is, like joining the priesthood or a nunnery, a calling which must “connect with your heart and mind” in addition to your smartphone app sending three percent of all purchases to expand the profit margin of the PayPal company.