PayPal the Good Samaritan

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People like Mark Parker have been struggling to make ends meet working at PayPal. And it’s not because the pay is bad — quite the opposite. PayPal pays most of its employees “at or above market rate”. In Mark’s case, he was getting paid $16.75 an hour as a customer service representative which is well above the state minimum wage in Omaha, Nebraska. 

The only problem is he’s the sole provider for his wife, who has tons of medical bills, and two kids. Mark was resorting to selling plasma a few times a month just to make a couple of hundred dollars extra.

Mark applied to the employee-relief fund at PayPal which was created three years ago to help out with employees who had unexpected financial issues, like an unforeseen medical issue or something like a car accident. PayPal gave him a $300 gift card to Walmart for food and household items and invited him to meet with regional and C-suite execs to research his story. About 12 other employees came to the same meeting with Mark and talked about their struggles.

Less than one year later, Mark’s wages increased. He also now has stock in the company with a new compensation package and can afford to enroll in PayPal’s healthcare.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman’s mission has been to “make financial services universally affordable and accessible” ever since he joined the company in 2015 (he was formerly the CEO at Virgin Mobile). He created their employee-relief fund in 2017 and funded it with $5 million to start.

In 2018, PayPal ran a survey to understand just how much financial need there was (it was much more than expected). He then set the goal to get every employees’ disposable income up to 20%, so healthcare costs were cut by over 58%, wages were raised by 7% and restricted stock units were given to employees. Shockingly, investors didn’t push back.

Since implementing this, the average net disposable income of PayPal employees has risen to 16%, customer satisfaction has gone up, the company’s net promoter score has gone up, and employees managed a skyrocket in demand beautifully. Kinda helps when you aren’t worried about paying or bills or unexpected medical costs.

Do you think more companies should implement this? Hit reply and tell us your opinion!

Collabing Has Gone 4D

Whatever that means. CommonGround, who’s cofounders describe their business as “4D collaboration” is a startup still in product development mode, but has the goal of creating an online collaboration software that offers the small nuances only available with in-person communication. Supposedly it improves face-to-face (via video) conversations with their other collaboration tools. 

Why not just make it a VR opportunity? Maybe they will!

The company, which just raised $18 million in a round led by Matrix Partners, was founded by Amir Bassan-Eskenazi and Ran Oz who have founded BigBand Networks together (which was acquired in 2011) and worked together at Oz’s company Optibased. Clearly, they’re a tech match made in heaven. 

Bassan-Eskenazi described the problem he wants to solve by saying, “Those got better over the years, but they never managed to achieve that thing where you walk into a bar … and there’s a group of people talking and you know immediately who is a little taken aback, who is excited, who is kind of ‘eh’.”

This wasn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic, either. The duo have been working on CommonGround for over a year because the general workforce has already been stuck doing more and more video conferencing for years.

Do you think tech can ever reinvent face-to-face communications, or they should just quit while they’re ahead? Hit reply and tell us what you think!

Carparts: Reloaded

Hey, 2021 is just around the corner, so you better start thinking now about how you can inject some new life into your business if things are going downhill. 

Take Carparts.com as an example. The 25-year-old company had petered to a plateau in 2007, even after going public. The company had a weak, vague vision, and held onto outdated technology to run their wholesale business, pickup window, and retail store. Lev Peker, CEO, and David Meniane, COO, bought the company in 2019 along with its $20 million in debt.

In just 18 months and during a pandemic, the company is earning over $60 million in profits and its stock valuation is up by 1,200%. Peker and Meniane even received the “Best in Biz Awards” silver medals for Executive of the Year and Operations Executive of the Year for mid-sized companies.

How’d they turn the company around? First, they focused on reviving their management team. Even though most people go to cutting costs first, the CEO and COO wanted to make sure the right people were in place to inspire, teach and drive their vision forward. They also wanted to refresh the company culture by creating an open-door policy and empowering everyone to work harder yet have fun. This year the company was named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

They also dove deep into every aspect of the business, flying to distribution centers, building relationships with partners, and having direct, open conversations to see what is working well and what needs to change. 

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