My Time In San Francisco


It was an amazing journey. While I only had two nights in San Francisco, it felt like a lot longer.

Steve was the coolest travelling companion (go those Koalas!). We were the Aussie team, and it was a fantastic time.

I got to play “The PayPal Song” at the big party on Tuesday night. Very cool.

San Francisco is a great city, and I can make that claim from my all-of-2 days in it :)

PayPal’s Biggest Secret

I’m at Innovate09 right now.

That's a BIG Diet Coke You want to know the best thing about PayPal?

The new APIs are amazing, and are the tools to a wonderful kingdom of Scrooge McDuck Money Swimming, but that’s not it.

The direction is encouraging, and obviously well thought out, but that’s not it.

It’s not even that they gave us all a netbook yesterday (Wowza!).

The best thing about PayPal, and it’s their best secret too, because you don’t know about it until you meet  them.

The best thing is that they notice you. They talk to you.

I’m sitting in the Code Pit coding away, watching a whole bunch of PayPal folk. They’re sitting with developers mulling over code, listening to a new sales pitch from another dude with a great idea, and walking about making conversation, real conversation.

That’s the best thing about PayPal. I’ve talked about it before, and it’s as true now as it was then.

PayPal Notice You.

And So We Arrive In San Francisco

So I’ve now landed in a completely different country for the first time in my life!


I’m currently struggling to stay awake, but should be fine. It’s 5pm now, will be having dinner soon.

Innovate 09 starts tomorrow .. CANNOT WAIT!

The PayPal Song (Where Nessie Is Real)

Ahhh, it might not be manly, but this song makes me giggle. You’ll know which parts.

It’s less than a week until I’m off to San Francisco to Innovate09 (the PayPal devcon), and this song appeared in my brain yesterday and finished up tonight.


I had a completely different song to begin with. But this just flowed. And was funny. Heh heh. Wiping the Matrix 2 and 3 from history. Gold.

And For My Next Trick, San Francisco!

Keen Lookouts! Phew. We (the Beautiful One, Barbarian Kid Hordes, and me) returned last night from four days in the beautiful town of Eden.

Apart from going on an amazing Whale-Watching ocean tour thingy, the main event was the Clarion Aussie Devcon 2009. I’ll be putting up my thoughts on Clarion Folk (along with some mini interviews I did on the iPhone).

Now is the next step in my winter of crazy non-discontent!

This time two weeks from now I’ll be on a plane to San Francisco!

“You lie.” I hear you say. But no, it’s true.

PayPal Australia (Jonathan is Captain Awesome) are sending Steve and myself across as representatives from the Australian PayPal Development community.

This. Is. Going. To. Be. HUGE!

  1. I’ve never been overseas. And here I was thinking the Queen visit was going to be my maiden voyage from the sunburnt country.
  2. The idea that PayPal would find enough in me, in what I do, to send me that-a-way.
  3. The possibilities inherent in going to the States, to the first ever PayPal Devcon (Innovate), to meeting stupid amounts of other developers.
  4. Being able to bring along my guitar (and a PayPal song, awww yeah).

It’s fair to say that this has been / will be so far the biggest, most momentous year of my vocational life.

PayPal Continues To Make The Right Moves

Not long back a decent-sized envelope arrived in the mail.

Contained within were lots of paper, including a Certificate to signify I was now a certified PayPal developer.

Paypal Certificates Excite Me Much?

Sure, I look very handsome next to the Certificate. And sure, I do google myself regularly.

And alternatively “sure”, any company can send out pieces of paper.

What is quite obvious (and the below is an example) is this:

PayPal is rushing forward into battle, hearts beating to a far better and more awesome drum, wielding more than plastic swords and papier-mâché battle axes.


Last night I was invited to a very trendy place down within the ultra-chic surroundings of Darling Harbour.

Not only did I get to meet up with Scott again after the Sydney Dev Day; Not only did I meet new folk; Not only was there the company of the most handsome and friendly Australia PayPal faces (Jonathan and Spiro, you know who I’m talking about), but:

  • osama I got to sit next to and go all “I’ve got this utterly unique earth-shattering idea that of course is awesome” to This Guy. Osama is the freaking Vice President of All-Things-Awesome at PayPal. He’s so cool that he pretended to like my many and varied stories about what I digested that morning and why the world would be a better place if desktop systems came back in vogue (ahem).
  • naveed I got to swap manly football stories with This Guy. Naveed hasn’t been at PayPal long, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s one switched-on dude, and puts you at ease the moment you start talking. Also, he likes rugby. Jonathan AND Naveed. If I worked for PayPal that would be 3, count em, 3 people who were rugby nuts. Nice.

It’s quite clear that the unveiling of the new Development Environment at Innovate09 is a BIG DEAL.

Innovate 2009!

It’s also quite clear that what the PayPal guys will be unveiling is an even BIGGER DEAL. All of the PayPal folk tonight were excited to talk about what is coming up, even though they couldn’t tell us everything.

Nothing was let slip, except that it will be HUGE.

A lot of what they are doing is out there now, in beta. Developers have already started making some fantastic stuff, like TwitPay, and it’s just (or not even) the beginning!

What’s exciting about hanging out with the PayPal crowd that I’ve met is that their enthusiasm is infectious. It’s real, and your own imaginative synapses start to fire.

So, I’d like to pass on some THANKYOUS:

  • Thankyou Jonathan, for the invitation, the organising, the time spent away from your burgeoning family :), and for being real good people.
  • Osama and Naveed for finding energy after such an exhaustive couple of weeks, for asking us what we think should be the future, and for not showing any disappointment at the fact that only half a dozen folk turned up.
  • And Spiro, for being ultra-cool AND ultra-geek. Leading the way man.

Pay "So Chumpy You Can Carve It" Pal

And in my dream,

Jonathan “Hank Azaria” Kelly (I’ve got a middle name quotes thing going at the moment) walked over and gave me a big handshake and a hearty greeting, saying that he loved my previous blog post and thought that PayPal could definitely support my burgeoning story-telling career by forking out a few hundred thousand as a gift to me so that ..


This week, on Monday 20th July 2009, the Sydney PayPal Developer Day was held.

Scott has done an excellent writeup over on his blog, so for actual pertinent information, you should leave my blog right away and head over to his.

I went along to the Developer Day for a number of reasons. In fact, I created new reasons while I was there.

1. PayPal approached me (I mono-toned about this earlier)

2. It’s the first time they’ve done something like this in Australia

3. I don’t get to go to many external events (although this is changing)

4. Free stuff (become a PayPal Certified Developer)

5. Technical interest, due to having projects that will need Payment functionality

The last one was what spurred my actual brain, and the questions asked.

Really, it all boiled down to two things for me:

a) Could I stick PayPal in a Desktop system?


No, not in a classical sense. You have to open a browser, else the mystical Elves of Style and Branding will smite thee with powerful forces of smiting.

b) What is PayPal’s own wisdom on implementing it’s functionality in web systems?


This was answered very well throughout the talks. There are three methods, although for small to medium developers, really only one (I’ll give you a hint, it was the second one). Oh wait, you don’t know what I’m talking about?

There were three main options talked about for implementing PayPal.

Website Payments Standard (simple html buttons like “Buy Now”)

Express Checkout (cart system)

And Payment Gateways, in two flavours, Payflow Link and Payflow Pro.

The general wisdom seemed to be that for most small-medium business solutions, go with Express Checkout.


I think the PayPal team would have learnt a bit (maybe that’s presumptuous?) from the day. I guess it depends on the audience, but it took a while for the questions to actually start, for the creative juices to kick into gear.

One thing that might have helped is having (I understand there were legal reasons why not) the slides printed for everyone, so that questions could be written down on the pertinent slide, helping with context.

But that said, pens and pads were provided, and I still wrote my questions down, even though I kind of got lost :) Specially once I got onto the wireless and started tweeting a bit. Twitter. Diet Coke of time-management wastage. WoW being the Coke.

PayPal should be commended for taking this initiative in the Australian Developer community.

A hearty KUDOS to you!