Blain’s Porridge Extra – May The Fourth, 2023: Adding STRIPE to list of companies I may have to destroy…
“If you want assistance with how our technical support is ruining your life, please press three..”
Life is a series of daily challenges. The Gods of Small Stuff hate humanity. Their goal is make things worse – potholes, trains, buttons that come unthreaded. I think they have awards for who can peeve humanity the most. Unfortunately, some of the most evil Gods of Small Stuff hold down jobs as Tech Company Customer Support managers.
Jack Ma got it right when he said: “I’m not a tech guy. I’m looking at the technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.”
Unfortunately, that is not the way tech works. Tech support is dreamt up by techies… and that’s a recipe for customer fury. During the day I am a swaggering alternatives asset financier, bringing deals to clients, explaining the benefits of diversified investments and the need for pragmatic due diligence of good versus bad companies.
But for a couple of hours each morning I’m a very small businessman, scribbling the Morning Porridge, trying to keep customers happy while making sure their subscriptions to the Morning Porridge work. Since these go through PayPal, often as not they don’t. PayPal is miserable. The only good thing they ever did was get rid of Elon Musk.
I have been exploring alternatives…
Have you heard of STRIPE?
Stripe is the new, new thing in the payments metasphere. A few months ago it was widely expected to IPO with a valuation in excess of $50 billion making it one of the biggest IPOs in recorded history. Unfortunately, that is about half the value of $95 bln folk like Fidelity and Sequoia expected it to IPO in 2021. It was valued at $74 bln last year. Now.. well not so much. Why is the valuation falling… Some folk say Tax issues.
I say it’s because it’s about as user friendly as a smack in the chops. It deserves to fail.
The Irish brothers, Limerick Lads John and Patrick Collison, behind the firm talk the talk and dance the jig… Goldman and JPM are lined up for the deal, the tax issues have been “settled”, and although we know it doesn’t actually make any profits they do say they want to… they have a massive client list of companies using it because its better than PayPal. (Anything is better than PayPal!)
But whatever Stripe is, its not the next Google, its future client roster is in trouble, but its probably falling in value for a very simple reason:
Have you actually tried to use it? I did. I have PTSD as a result.
Following a stream of issues with payments on the Morning Porridge through PayPal, I decided to add Stripe to the payment options for a subscription. That has consequences, but worth doing I thought. Experience teaches us… Maybe not.
Big Tech is difficult. Difficult to navigate. Soon after setting up an account for the Porridge a couple of months ago at Stripe I got an flashin screen telling me “my business does not meet Stripe’s Terms of Service”.
I read the umpteen pages of convoluted bumf Stripe’s lawyers will hide behind and was no wiser why the Morning Porridge fails. I tried to call and got nowhere. I sent an email and got an automated response telling me that because I was a financial services firm, “We’re writing to let you know that we have determined that your business, PORRIDGE is in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement. Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for securities and binary options, as mentioned on our Restricted Businesses list.”
I wrote back I don’t trade options or anything on the site. I’m just a commentary site, asking subscriptions for a daily market update which contains no solicitations to trade or recommendations, just original, insightful comment. No Options, just Opinions, I said…
The next email politely thanked me for my response, but told me “If you believe that we’ve misunderstood or miscategorised your business and would like us to conduct another review of your account, please complete the form below on your Stripe Dashboard to provide more information about your business.”
In comes the God of Small Things. The link, “Request further review”, took me to a list of over 200 options on everything except requesting a review of my business eligibility for a review. Three times I have emailed them. Three times they have thanked me for the clarity, but again referred me to the same useless page of garbage.
I am caught in an Ignorant Intelligence feedback trap… This what the future looks like. I will likely never get it resolved. I am fitting a defibrillator next to my desk in case I ever try again. They don’t do phones. Just forms…. which don’t let you tell them you don’t do options, just opinions.
Now I am very frustrated. I only have one choice.
I like Ireland. I love Limerick. But, I am adding Stripe to my list of companies that deserve to fail. Years ago I had great fun with WeWork – debunking all the BS myths about what it is and was not. It failed. I am going to get my microscope out on Stripe… and get really on The Spectrum about them… unless of course someone calls me and stops the madness…
Strategist – Shard Capital