Communicating through Money

A session at Signal

I know what you are thinking. Is this really a legitimate talk? Or just something you made up? Being at Paypal/Venmo/Braintree, yes, I'm passionate about payments tech. But I'm even more passionate about how people communicate with each other, and I really, really do believe that money/payments is a form of communication; in fact one of the truest oldest forms.

Think about this: when I buy something from someone in India online or vice versa, I'm actually communicating with that person, right? When I give money to my friends at a wedding (a Chinese tradition), I'm really saying “congratulations and your friendship means so much to me.” Think about the feeling you get when someone paid you for something or when you lost money. How happy or sad were you? Or how happy were you when you donated money.

I'll also walk through how different mediums/tech of paying have evolved from bartering to gold to credit cards to mobile payments. I'll show you how SMS is the biggest form of payments in Kenya (M-Pesa) and other African countries. I'll walk through interesting Venmo feed stats and what people are paying for. And I'll talk to you about how money means different things to different cultures.

About the speaker

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Justin Woo

Developer Evangelist @ PayPal/Braintree

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