November 8, 2009
PayPal has been in the business of online payments for quite sometime but last week hosted it’s first ever developer’s conference in San Francisco opening up its platform to a world of new possibilities. The event was decked out from start to finish with fun little perks like free netbooks to concession stand hosts and hostesses that handed out Jelly Belly’s and Twinkies. All were aimed at keeping the event high energy – I haven’t seen that many Twinkies in years!
Kicked off by Naveed Anwar, Director of the developer network which is called PayPal X, he then introduced some eBay and PayPal heavy hitters. John Donahoe, eBay President, shared insight as to how he decided to “put the developers in charge” of PayPal and how it has gotten them to where they are today. Then Scott Thompson, PayPal President, followed up by welcoming the developers and sharing details about the PayPal X developer platform called X.com.
Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly Media keynoted day one, sharing some of the latest trend of the Web which include transparency and openness. He explained how he would love to see companies like Google and PayPal working together; each doing what they do best. He also had a number of examples of ways that companies are leveraging open data and mobile phones to create augmented reality, citing the Wikitude iPhone application as one example. Check out his full slide deck here.
The biggest thing I noticed from attending the event was the evolution of the wallet. People have been using wallets to carry money since a common paper currency was created. This evolution is sure to continue as mobile devices begin to erode the necessity of an actual wallet for paper and plastic.
So overall, it will be very interesting to watch as PayPal looks to be the gatekeeper between developers and the financial institutions themselves, both online and in the mobile space, through its new open development platform. Just to ice the cake a little bit more for developers, PayPal launched a developers challenge which will award $150,000 in cash and PayPal transaction fee waviers to the most innovate new applications. It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby and it is pretty clear by the PayPal X Conference that PayPal is willing to spend a few bucks on developers in order to stay in the drivers seat.
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