The old way was to spend a lot of money on limited software and hardware. The new way, as PayPal's Bill Scott, VP of next gen commerce found, is to scale out with lots of low-cost hardware and software. Open-source enables this, and to marvelously good effect.\n\nScott, a firm believer in lean engineering, stands by the fact that it\u2019s the secret sauce that fosters innovation and efficacy.\n\nLean engineering, simply put, is becoming a part of the experimentation and learning cycle. The idea is to have rapid iteration and get feedback from customers quickly.\n\n\u201cWe talk about lean startup and lean UX, but without engineering being lean in the way they think in partnering, we can\u2019t really see that happen. Because engineering \u2013 they\u2019re the ones who create the bits. So we tend to take engineering and make it just a production machine,\u201d believes Scott.\n\nAlso read: Why enterprises embrace open source\n\nThere\u2019s simply no way around it. If you want to be the next \u201cdisruptor\u201d on the block, it\u2019s imperative for your engineers to be part of the understanding of requirements; for them to know what they are doing, and why they are it, so they can go: \u201cI\u2019ve a better idea.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe premise of lean startup is all about being able to invalidate your ideas. You may have a lot of great ideas, but when we get down to implementing it, you may figure that\u2019s it\u2019s not all that good. So it\u2019s really all about failing fast and learning fast,\u201d explained Scott.\n\nThe next question that pops in our mind is: What\u2019s lacking in the industry right now?\n\nFor more on Paypal read: PayPal ropes in the Bounty Hunter\n\n\u201cI think we\u2019re trending in the right direction, but there are a lot of engineering organizations that think of themselves only as a delivery machine. I can tell you that there have been many companies who reached out to me to ask: How do I get my engineers to where they want to be a part of the overall process?\u201d said Scott. \u201cSo, I think, in the engineering culture, the thing we\u2019re lacking most is to associate yourself as a partner in the forefront for the process.\u201d\n\nAnd this is precisely why a lot of his passion revolves around getting engineers to wake up to the fact that they have product, design, and business folks who want them to be part of the solution.\n\nHow open-source cracks the case\n\n\u201cI think that open-source is key. One of the things we decided earlier on, when I got to PayPal, was we wanted to make sure that our technology staff was so full of open-source, and so part of the open-source community that anybody who came into the company just knew how to use it,\u201d explained Scott.\n\nScott calls it the \u201cGoogleability\u201d of framework. Maybe some framework should be proprietary to the company. But, a lot of the stuff doesn\u2019t have to be.\n\n\u201cSo, it\u2019s using open-source, it\u2019s giving back to open-source. We\u2019re working in an open- source manner inside the company. And that\u2019s a big win \u2013 we call it inner-sourcing,\u201d said Scott.\n\nPayPal essentially is an open-source office, dedicated just to the mission of how to get all teams to think of themselves as an open-source entity inside the company.\n\nAn important factor to consider is that, when you have an open-source community, you need to have a contribution model. You also need to be able to move platforms to where they can support the model.\n\n\u201cAnd we\u2019re not there yet, trust me. Some of the teams are doing real good, while other teams are struggling. It\u2019s an ownership thing, really,\u201d he added. \u201cWhat I\u2019ve seen is that a contribution model can get messy. People are going to push some code that is bad \u2013 this huge mammoth code that turns out to be a nightmare and the team has to deal with it.\u201d\n\n\u201cSo you have to have policies around smaller changes and test tolerances. That\u2019s something we\u2019re working on and we\u2019re seeing a lot of success,\u201d beamed Scott.\n\nObstacles you might come across using open-source\n\nSome of them are standard ones \u2013 can you trust the code? What kind of bugs could it have?\n\n\u201cWe\u2019ve got a handle on that. You have tools to help you think through and scan the code. But it\u2019s more of a mindset, an acceptance in the organization to allow that, and that\u2019s why we created an open-source office,\u201d explained Scott.\n\nA key thing, he believes, is to hire people who have an open-source mindset. You can\u2019t say, \u201cOkay, cool, we got open-source in, now let\u2019s make it into something totally unrecognizable.\u201d\n\nSo, who bears the cross?\n\n\u201cThe best change happens bottom-up and top-down,\u201d believes Scott. \u201cWhen I joined PayPal, our CTO at that time, James Barrese, said: Come join us, and lead a pirate band for change.\u201d\n\n\u201cThen we started the technology change from the bottom-up. We didn\u2019t have to do a lot because we got the organization to be excited about it,\u201d he added.\n\nIt boils to this: If you have a CXO who is mandating the change, it will have some success. But it\u2019s better if you have key people whom the CXO has hired to have that mindset.\n\nThis is because he or she gives the air-cover for that change to take place and also communicates the message to the top rungs in the organization.\n\nWhat PayPal has in store for next gen payment\n\nScott believes that PayPal is not just a payment destination, it\u2019s a fabric. With its acquisition of Braintree, for example, or Venmo, which is a payment experience, PayPal\u2019s new mantra has switched from \u201cHow to get everyone to use PayPal\u201d to \u201cHow to meet consumers and merchants where they\u2019re at, in a way they want to be met.\u201d\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s like when you have that delightful experience, just in time, with a new-found freshness. That\u2019s the magic we\u2019re looking for. For example, every time someone uses Uber or Airbnb, that\u2019s PayPal powering them,\u201d beamed Scott.\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s not about getting people to use your product, it\u2019s about solving their problems. If we forget this, if we become solely PayPal-centric, we miss out on opportunities. That\u2019s what makes us what we are,\u201d he concluded.