Stripe sessions

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stripe’s mini-conference in New York City

Stripe sessions in NYC Last week I went to ‘Sessions’, Stripe’s mini-conference in New York. Having thought about little else then Stripe integration into Registrar, it was a great opportunity to see the people behind it.

The event was in a very hip warehouse in midtown. When I walked into the room, cans of LaCroix and artisanal cupcakes were already waiting. It was the most ‘San Francisco’ I’ve felt in months.

We got started with a keynote by John Collison, one of two (sibling) co-founders. It was astonishing to hear how much the company accomplished in just 7 years. They grew to 1,400 employees and about 84% of adults shopping the US have used Stripe this year. It keeps pushing out new products at breakneck speed. They released 100+ new major features just in 2018—that’s hard to believe in an industry that historically thrived by being risk-averse.

In between all of the scheduled talks, there were about 30 minutes to network. It was surprising to see how many people knew about Flatiron School. I was wearing my Flatiron t-shirt, and at least 7 people walked up to me to ask about our boot camps or to share a story about a relative that went through our program. I know this is a tech-centric audience, but it was very cool to see that.

The following session was about a recently released product: Stripe Terminal. It’s an extension to the Stripe platform that connects to physical payment terminals. It’s not only a better alternative to Square, but it’s connected to Stripe’s API. That means that if someone swiped their cards in real time, the credit card will be on file in the Stripe.com account. That opens up all kinds of new experiences. For instance, you can start online subscriptions in real life.

Another break—this time with lunch: salmon over rice with choice of even more LaCroix flavors. You can imagine I didn’t have time to network in this break…

The last session was a talk by Peloton. Their CTO mostly talked in Silicon Valley platitudes, which was a shame, because it’s a unique company that’s doing phenomenally well. I wish they were able to share some interesting insights. After that last talk, there was time to chat with people on the Stripe team. They were all very nice and seemed genuinely interested in what people thought about their products. I took my chance and mentioned we had been waiting on a bug report for a few weeks already. Lo and behold, the next day I got an email saying it was fixed!

My main impression of the whole event was that Stripe is such a well-rounded company. Lots of successful companies excel in just one thing and have clear weaknesses. But that’s not really the case with them. Across the board, they seem to have people that just very deeply care about a very specific thing. Whether it is UI, partnerships, data science or event organization, every detail seems just right.