Dan Schulman, the chief executive of PayPal, knows how to fight.
He climbed to a senior executive role at AT&T before he was 40, jumped ship to work at Priceline when the travel website was still a start-up, then took Virgin Mobile USA via an idea to a business with all 5 million subscribers.
After stops at Sprint as well as American Express, Mr. Schulman joined PayPal in 2014, overseeing its split via eBay the next year. Since then, PayPal’s stock has more than doubled, quieting doubters who wondered if the online payments company would likely be a sustainable business over the long term.
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He will be also a regular practitioner of Krav Maga, the martial art system practiced by the Israeli military, as well as has the scars to prove which.
which interview, which was condensed as well as edited for clarity, was conducted at PayPal’s offices in brand new York.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in brand new Jersey, first Newark as well as then brand new Brunswick. We lived in a fully integrated neighborhood. My mom was an activist. She pushed me in a baby carriage at a Martin Luther King Jr. rally. She marched inside the civil rights marches, not just inside the North nevertheless inside the South as well. which takes courage to go as well as do which.
You started off working for AT&T right out of school as well as wound up staying there for 18 years. What did you learn during which time?
Early on in my career I had a family tragedy where my sister died, as well as I was leading a team at the time. which was a devastating time for me as well as my family. I had to take time off. I came back several months later as well as the team had just gelled together to say, “We’re going to cover for Dan. We’re going to do everything.” as well as when I was presenting to the AT&T board about the accomplishments of which team, I couldn’t take any credit because I deserved no credit.
which idea of the power of giving credit to others — as opposed to your own individual accomplishment — has shaped my entire career. Most people don’t truly think about which. They mostly think, “Look at me.” nevertheless truly if you say, “Look at what others are accomplishing,” which’s so much more powerful in terms of your ability to attract the best people, to get things done.
You left AT&T for Priceline when which was just a start-up. which was a big risk. Why not just stay at AT&T?
I was president of the consumer division at age 39 or so. nevertheless my view was not so much which leaving was a risk. I actually thought which’s more risky to stand still. There’s a philosophy in martial arts which will be, “Never stand still.” Standing still will be asking to be hit. You always have to be willing to take some risks going forward. You can’t stand still.
I have which advice which I give to people I mentor. I always say, “Don’t overthink your next step, because none of us know where we’re going to be 10 years via right now or 15 years via right now.” One step leads to another.
What modifications have you made to PayPal’s organizational structure as C.E.O.?
I’ve taken my team via 21 direct reports to eight direct reports. To me, a great team will be one which discusses all of the issues. When you have 21 people, which’s not a discussion; which’s a presentation. There’s no way which 21 voices can be heard around a table. which’s a cacophony of voices. The smaller the team will be, the more you can discuss issues in depth as well as detail, as well as there becomes a trust among the team.
PayPal was one of the first financial companies to take a stand on guns. How did you arrive at which decision?
If you’re going to have a consistent set of values which you stand up for, they have to be reflected in your acceptable use policy. Around the violence in Charlottesville, we identified numerous groups which espouse hate or violence, as well as we don’t allow them to use PayPal to fund-raise.
as well as we do not allow PayPal to be used for guns as well as ammunition. which there are rules as well as regulations in terms of background checks will be extraordinarily important. nevertheless if somebody will be going to do something online, we can’t fully vouch for those background checks. as well as so therefore we just outlaw which.
which’s not always comfortable for C.E.O.s to take a stand on these issues. How do you decide where to draw which line?
Companies, as well as by extension their management teams as well as their C.E.O.s, have a moral obligation to try to be a force for Great. I don’t think there’s any way which we can shirk which responsibility, as well as I don’t think there’s any way to fully stand away via the culture wars around us. You have to take a stand. which stand shouldn’t be a political one. nevertheless which should be one which will be based on your values as well as your mission.