How old were the PayPal Mafia members?

PayPal was founded in 1998 and sold to Ebay in 2002. Several of the key members have since become billionaires, founded companies such as Tesla, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp and/or seed invested in Facebook.

I copied the list of PayPal members, coined the PayPal Mafia, from Wikipedia and added their ages in year 2000:

A 2007 Forbes sheds some light on the hiring process:

Many of PayPal’s early hires matched a specific profile: highly intelligent workaholics who were good at math. No frat boys, MBAs, or , God forbid, jocks.

“The difference was that Google wanted to hire Ph.D.s,” says Roelof Botha. “PayPal wanted to hire people who got into Ph.D. programs and dropped out.”

After the merger with Elon Musk’s in 2000, PayPal must have been a very stressful environment full of intrigue. Despite this, they kept the ship afloat and eventually sold the company for $1.5 billion to eBay in 2002. Elon Musk, the largest shareholder, received $165 million.

It’s an interesting case and I’d like to read The Paypal Wars – if I can get a copy. It’s unavailable at Book Depository.

I don’t want to draw any conclusions but there are some good lessons ( as I see them):

  • Revolutionary tech? Hire young guys – the hungry, math minded kind
  • Internal struggles? Not able to overcome them? No shame in selling out. Someone else can restructure and grow it big
  • The experience is valuable – next time you do better!
  • The network you obtained can make the difference next time – don’t lose your invaluable contacts!

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