By Peter High, published on Forbes
Fintech is a hot space at present, with many companies entering the space and threatening financial services stalwarts. It is an interesting time to check on the progress of the first ever global fintech company, PayPal. The company was famous for its early leaders such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman, each of whom went on to make even bigger impacts in the world of technology.
I recently caught up with the company’s chief information officer Bradley Strock, who has been in his role for three and a half years. We discussed PayPal’s transformation into a more customer-centric company, giving customers more choices of funding vehicles. We also covered how PayPal has successfully navigated the shift to mobile finance, resulting in a 50 percent increase in mobile payment volume in 2017. Strock covered his priorities of security, stability, enabling the company’s business strategy, and improving the company’s ability to effectively collaborate. Strock believes that PayPal will play a big part in offering better financial options for the two billion people globally without financial services.
In January of this year, Strock joined the ranks of board-level CIOs, as he commenced a directorship with $700 million revenue Elevate Credit, Inc., which provides online credit solutions to non-prime consumers, typically defined as those with credit scores of less than 700.
Peter High: Could you provide an overview of your role as CIO of PayPal?
Brad Strock: Most people are probably familiar with PayPal. We operate in over 200 markets around the globe. We are on a mission to democratize money and have had a great deal of success over the last couple of years. 2017 has been a great year in particular.
For tech companies, the role of the CIO is a little different. My scope of responsibilities centers in two areas. One is what I call the more traditional, internal IT function, and this encompasses everything from our corporate networks, corporate data centers, and end-user devices, to most of the internal applications and services that employees use on a day-to-day basis.
The other half is the product development role for customer service. We service our customers globally. We take calls in 24 different languages over chat and email, and we manage the infrastructure and products that our customers interact with to solve their problems. In many cases, we have teammates who help them solve their problems. Those are the two parts of my role.
High: The product portion is the non-traditional aspect of your role as CIO. This gives you the opportunity to not only interface with the greater organization in fundamentally different ways, but also with PayPal’s customers. Can you talk about that collaboration internally and externally and some of the nuances to the ways in which you do so?
Strock: This has been a journey. I have been at the company for seven years, and I have been in this role for a little more than three years. Since our split from eBay the last two or three years, the company has been transforming in a number of different ways. One of those important ways is around a desire to be a customer-centric company, and to be a customer champion. That is true for both our consumers and our merchants, as we have a two-sided network. We have two sets of symbiotic customers.
Over the last few years, we have been diligent about moving away from things that used to be central to our strategy and instead now asking, “What do our customers want?” Part of that process has been deep discovery work, where we sit with customers and understand their day-to-day pain points.
To read the full interview, please visit Forbes