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Liz Ryan Headshot

PayPal President to Staff: Use Our Stuff, or Take a Hike

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PayPal President David Marcus is coming under fire for blasting his employees via email for their failure to use the company's products. I got these quotes purportedly broadcast to PayPal employees in an email from PayPal President David Marcus from Jordan Novet's blog on VentureBeat. Let's break down David Marcus' email blast in sections to see the godawful management style shining through it:

"It's been brought to my attention that when testing paying with mobile at Cafe 17 last week, some of you refused to install the PayPal app (!!?!?!!), and others didn't even remember their PayPal password. That's unacceptable to me, and the rest of my team, everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That's the only way we can make them better, and better," he wrote in the email.

For starters, "It's been brought to my attention" is insulting weeniespeak that no one has ever used in live conversation. Marcus is getting ready to deliver a Fear-O-Gram, and the multiple exclamation points really bring his agitated state home for the reader.

Can you imagine the idea of forgetting a password? Who the heck has ever done that?

Hey David Marcus, if your employees can't remember their PayPal passwords, neither can your customers. There's a new thing called usability. Look it up. Your employees are your product shortcomings' early-warning system. Are you going to send customers a hate-mail berating them for forgetting their passwords, too?

Next we get "That's unacceptable to me and the rest of my team." See what's happening there? The recipients of the message are not on the same team with David and the upstairs people. Lord Marcus speaks for all of them -- if they're really on the team. He already knows what they think. He probably asks them all the time, questions like "What do you think of this decision? How about me - how could I be a better leader? I really want to know. Lay it on me!"

The losers who don't enthusiastically use the product aren't on the team. God forbid that David Marcus would be curious to learn why employees don't enthusiastically use the product. I guess he thinks you can force people to be enthusiastic by screaming at them. Also, why can't he write an English sentence grammatically? If an employee sent a message to a customer with such craptastic use of the language, how would he feel about it? Why do his teammates deserve less careful attention to communication than his customers?

Here's how you can make your products better and better, my dear brother David: Listen. Listen to your employees, and create an environment of trust where people feel comfortable telling you the truth.

Right now you're looking for badge-carrying, rule-following, password-remembering, enthusiastic-PayPal-using Yes Men and Women, and that's not good for your customers or your shareholders. Fear-based management went out the door when we moved to a global, mobile economy. You're managing out of a nineteen-fifties playbook. Step your game up!

Here's more spittle-flying Crazy Man leadership direction:

"PayPal It, our program enabling you to refer businesses that don't accept PayPal has seen the least amount of leads in *absolute* and relative terms vis-a-vis ALL other locations. Offices with under 100 employees beat us by an order of magnitude (total PayPal it leads to date: 126,862, San Jose leads: 984...)," the email message goes on.

The least amount? You might need a writing coach. Don't be embarrassed about that -- a lot of CEOs have them.

So people aren't responding to your program? Are you curious why that might be? Perhaps not - that might cause too much incoming information to smack into your brain, and that could hurt you. You prefer to threaten people with your puny President power. You could fire them!!! Ooh, that's scary.

"Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPal because they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. I don't see these behaviors here in San Jose," he wrote.

Your employees in San Jose aren't illegally hacking into Coke machines for you? How dare they value the law and their own integrity over the pursuit of your personal boyhood dreams of automatic bill-paying world domination!!!!!?!?!

"In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can't remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere."

You must be quite a superhero, David. Things don't go your way and you start threatening employees with termination -- how manly!

I'm being facetious. Your email sounds like it was written by a petulant, spoiled five-year-old, and illustrates something that is 180 degrees away from leadership. Seriously, you should be ashamed. Any PayPal employee is fully qualified to go work for anyone, including your competitors.

Your fearful, infantile rants will only serve to drive the most-marketable of those brilliant team members away. Can you get your temper in check, look in the mirror and see where you could evolve as a person and as a President? We're all cheering you on!