If you're not familiar with the lore behind the founding of PayPal, Conner Forrest at TechRepublic as a primer on how the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley.

Sacks said that PayPal became the first to implement many features that are now commonly included in new startups:

  1. One of the first viral apps: PayPal users were able to send money to someone without an account, forcing them to open an account to claim their money.
  2. One of the first companies to use a platform strategy: Sacks said that PayPal was "essentially an app on top of eBay."
  3. One of the first companies to offer an embeddable widget: Users could put the PayPal payment logo onto an eBay auction. Embeddable content later became key for YouTube and was a big part of how it grew.
  4. One of the first companies to rely on an iterative product strategy: Features were released whenever they were finished, not at the mercy of product cycles.

Worth reading the comments about diversity in Silicon Valley too.

Here's the link to the TechRepublic article.