The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley

Jimmy Soni. Simon & Schuster, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9726-0
“If you have used the internet at all in the last twenty years, you’ve touched a product, service, or website connected to the creators of PayPal,” writes Soni (The Mind at Play), former managing editor at the Huffington Post, in this punchy origin story full of wheeling, dealing, and political machinations. Things began in 1999 with X.com, a company founded by Elon Musk that allowed people to email money back and forth. In 2000, X merged with Confinity, Peter Thiel’s software company; rebranded as PayPal; and sold its employees on a grand vision: be part of something big and world-changing. Things were dicey in the early years, as the company’s leaders feared a shutdown from eBay, and responded by sending a “scathing, eleven-page, single-spaced note to eBay headquarters” accusing the company of monopolistic control over online marketplaces. Soni tells the story with novelistic verve as he tracks Paypal’s growing pains, including regulation challenges, dealing with hackers, and fears of user fraud, as well as the clash of cultures following eBay’s 2002 acquisition (one colorful anecdote involves disgruntled employees publicly mutilating stuffed mongooses that were distributed by eBay leadership). Fans of Margaret O’Mara’s The Code are in for a treat. Agent: Laura Yorke, Carol Mann Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-2021-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-2023-2
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