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Stripe Embraces Open Emails

Credit card processing startup Stripe is taking a revolutionary path to increasing productivity: Giving employees access to all emails within the company.

Stripe, the new PayPal competitor which has become one of Silicon Valley's most-buzzed-about startups, has announced a new email policy which might sound strange to some. All of Stripe's emails are public inside the company, with employees able to peer inside all inboxes. Exceptions, however, can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Writing on Stripe's internal blog, engineer Greg Brockman claims the practice increases productivity within the company. "We value autonomy, rigorous debate, and avoiding hierarchy to the extent that we can. Startups often pride themselves on having a flat management structure but are eventually forced to put a formal coordination infrastructure in place as the number of actors grows. So far, our experience has been that an ambiently open flow of information helps to provide people with the context they need to choose useful things to work on," Brockman wrote.

Stripe is one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies of 2013.

[Image: Flickr user Julia Folsom]

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  • Wize Adz

    I get over a thousand e-mails a day.  I'm signed up to a number of internal e0nauk lists at my company that I don't need very often, but that I need to be on in case I miss something.

    Something like this open e-mail policy, combined with a really good search engine, would mean that I can retrieve whatever I need to know when I need it -- rather than archiving gigabytes of computers reporting that they're OK and team correspondences, just in case it becomes relevant.

    Alas, this'll never happen at my company, because it's big enough to have its own legal council on staff.

    There's a lot that's broken about the way we use and organize e-mail.  Gmail is a step in the right direction, but it's only a step.  I have dreams about writing the perfect project-CMS that actually meets the needs of my team (thereby cutting out most of the e-mail I receive), without any extra bloat or unneeded complexity.  If I ever realize this dream and don't loose it to the brain-waver, you'll hear about it...

    P.S. Microsoft Exchange blows when it comes to this kind of workload.  The mail filters are harder to use than procmail (the interface is simpler, but a simple interface ain't no good when it doesn't match the task at hand), and it wasn't designed as a big-data archive/retrieval system.  Also, since Microsoft has strategically decided to give the finger to Linux users, the user-experience for myself and the rest of the engineers at my company is, shall we say, sub-par.  Exchange wrong tool for my use of e-mail, or the open e-mail proposed here, or practically anything at a scale where users build multi-GB mailboxes in a matter of months.