Inaugural Sessions

The first ever Stripe Sessions in 2017, which I don’t think I think I was supposed to be attending, but for which I was given a spot at the last second.

As I was looking at these, I was wishing that I’d written more down about the period since I didn’t remember much anymore, only to realize that I’d been good about writing journal entries around then, and had a long one from that day. Most of it’s unpublishable, but here’s an excerpt about employee orientation:

They gave us the usual spiel about how we should never get more specific than saying that we process “billions of dollars for hundreds of thousands of businesses”, and said that we shouldn’t say anything about the technology behind Sigma (to add mystique and imply that it’s built on a powerful, secret platform proprietary to Stripe).

It was the launch day for Stripe’s Sigma, which would be announced as part of a Jobs-esque event keynote.

Stripe’s Increment magazine had just launched a few months earlier, and you can see a few of the issues of On-call (#1) laid out. I’d thought Increment was a mangificient idea, but my instinct nowadays is more akin to finding the nearest shredder. The whole issue was written about on-call in an organizational sense, but with very little input from the people who actually were on-call. This was reflective of Stripe’s top-down attitude towards engineering resources, which were interchangeable cogs whose worth went as far as the specific functions they performed. An engineer’s on-call wasn’t a service to be respected by the org – it was a mandated duty, and one with a 5-minute SLA.

These photos are five years olds, but I’ve had Stripe on the mind because they’ve been in the news recently.

Published November 6, 2022.

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