PayPal President David Marcus apparently caused quite a commotion among employees after chastising them in an email Monday for refusing to download the company’s app.

Some people at the company’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters, which employs around 2,000 people, were unhappy to have their jobs threatened for not downloading an app or forgetting their PayPal password, a source tells VentureBeat.

Additionally, a PayPal PR person told VentureBeat yesterday that employees have heard Marcus express similar ideas in the past.

Comments on our story yesterday have varied.

“David Marcus is the best thing that has happened to PayPal in the past 10 years,” wrote a commenter with the username “PayPal employee.”

“Most employees in my group reacted positively to the email and knew it was simply David wanting the passion he feels for the company to permeate across the entire organization.”

“Lack of adoption and usage of PayPal’s products is common across all the offices,” a commenter called TaiTai wrote. “Good luck, David; it’s a steep uphill climb.”

Others took exception to Marcus’s tone. “What. A. Douche. How about change your ‘tude or resign,” wrote JonJon.

“Yup — management by intimidation. Not a leader at all. Sure makes me want to use PayPal more often,” Dawna Bate wrote.

On Twitter, reactions have been mixed. Some users thought Marcus was right to tell employees they need to eat their own dog food, so to speak, and use the product they make.

For example, Khosla Ventures investor Keith Rabois perceived broader problems at work if employees are uninterested in their company’s product.

But Mike Dudas, who works on mobile business development at PayPal, showed strong support for Marcus:

Matt Ocko, co-managing partner at Data Collective, weighed in as well:

As for Marcus himself, he claimed his statements were taken out of context.

And so, in the interest of being fair, we’re posting the email we’ve seen in its entirety below.

If you’re a PayPal employee, we’d love to hear your perspective: As always, you can reach us at

—–Original Message—–
From: Marcus, David
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 10:16 AM
Subject: San Jose PayPals: need your help!
Importance: High

To San Jose PayPals,

I need your help. As you know, I travel to our offices around the world quite a bit. In many of the places I go I have been struck by the commitment of our PayPal teams and their determination to make the world a better place.

But here are two brutal facts that clearly show our San Jose employees lag behind our colleagues in other locations.

PayPal It, our program enabling you to refer businesses that don’t accept PayPal has seen the least amount of leads in *absolute* and relative terms vis-a-vis ALL other locations. Offices with under 100 employees beat us by an order of magnitude (total PayPal it leads to date: 126,862, San Jose leads: 984…).

Product usage data is similar. Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPalbecause they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. I don’t see these behaviors here in San Jose. As a matter of fact, it’s been brought to my attention that when testing paying with mobile at Cafe 17 last week, some of you refused to install the PayPal app (!!?!?!!), and others didn’t even remember their PayPal password. That’s unacceptable to me, and the rest of my team, everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.

I know there are people on our campus in San Jose who are here to make a difference every day.  So I’m turning to you passionate PayPals who are here for purpose more than paycheck. We need your help. I need you to make it clear to colleagues, who display these types of behaviors that we won’t tolerate these anymore.  My intention is to make San Jose (and every location) a place that retains, and attracts talent that’s passionate, and engaged. We can do it together. By demanding more of each other.

We all have a lot of different opportunities out there, and many of them would require less sacrifices to our personal lives. My team and I are here because we believe we have the opportunity of a lifetime to build something that will transcend us, and will impact hundreds of millions of lives around the world in a meaningful, lasting way.

We have much work to do to reach greatness. We’re not perfect by any stretch of imagination. But passion, and purpose will help us get there faster.

In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPalpassword, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere. A life devoid of purpose, and passion in what you do everyday is a waste of the precious time you have on this earth to make it better.

Onward with passion, purpose, and gusto!


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