Mobile

Square COO Keith Rabois on creating an affinity brand for payments

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How can a mere mobile payments startup like Square become a beloved brand like Apple or Porsche? According to COO Keith Rabois, it’s by making payments far less frustrating for both consumers and merchants.

Rabois kicked off our MobileBeat 2011 conference today in a fireside chat with VentureBeat’s executive editor Dylan Tweney.

“There’s no reason why one can’t build a high affinity brand of payments,” Rabois said, “given that it’s one of the most common things we do.”

That seemingly idealistic creative vision sits at the heart of Rabois’ aim to build great app experiences. He said that great experiences generally start with a compelling creative vision of how the world can be. He pointed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has found success with his idealistic goals for electric cars and private space travel.

Once a vision is in place, then you need to gather talented people who can help the dream become a reality, Rabois said. As one of PayPal’s earliest employees,  Rabois noted that gathering lots of talented people in a single building was a big part of that company’s early success.

Rabois also briefly commented on talk of a new tech bubble. He said that an early stage bubble “sort of exists” — many companies with a handful of employees and early funding are finding that they can’t scale very easily. But at least this time around creative early stage entrepreneurs have a healthy selection of stable tech companies to choose from when their startups fail.