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Brilliant at the Basics

Being brilliant at the basics sounds easy but isnt. These fundamental pillars — Availability, Reliability, Scalability, and Security — underpin everything we do, and we will continue to drive improvements in our customer experiences.

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Thank you. Hello everyone. I'm super excited to be back here at MXS. Today I want to share with you my vision and inspiration for how we build at MX and push the envelope and the boundaries of what is possible. But first, lemme talk about why I'm here now. I joined MX about a little over a year ago --- 394 days to be exact. I'm an engineer, I've gotta have that. Um, as many of you know, before I joined MX, I was at PayPal. I was at PayPal for 14 years, and throughout my time there,

I saw payment volumes grow from $60 billion a year to $1.2 trillion. Saw a massive change in the industry. That's a 20X increase in payment volume. Now, during that time, I built a team and this team was maniacally focused on improving the customer experience. You see, when I joined, it was kind of the Wild West. Code was being pushed and breaking entire experiences, changes were causing undetected, uh, latency impacts, and there were bugs that weren't being fixed for weeks. It was death by a thousand cuts. Now, having been in the telecommunications industry before PayPal, you know, an industry where five nines was table stakes, I knew that there was no way we could continue the blistering growth of the business without addressing the underlying fundamentals of the technology stack.

Now, over time, we systematically addressed the bugs, the performance issues, and of course, most importantly, the security issues. We instrumented our systems so that we could see incidents immediately and fail away from them in seconds instead of hours.

We built automated test suites to stop issues from happening in the first place. And once we got a handle on monitoring and testing of all of our applications and infrastructure, we built bots to scour our site looking for business logic errors. Now, when you're responsible for the availability and security of PayPal's infrastructure and applications, which process $30,000 a second, it's tremendously complex. It's tremendously stressful.

And maybe I'm a geek for saying this, it's tremendously fun. Now, when I left PayPal, I started looking for somewhere where I could take all of my learnings from that journey and apply them, and that's when I got the call from Jim about MX. Now, of course, as with everyone at MX, I was first drawn to the company's mission and vision. I wanted to be a part of a team that was empowering the world to be financially strong and fundamentally fixing the broken money experience. Now, after a year in the role, I cannot be more excited about the future of our company and the true partnerships that we share with each of you. So what exactly have we been up to in technology in the past year? Well, I like to start the year with a simple theme, something that grounds our team and keeps us focused on what we need to achieve our team. This, our theme this year is Brilliant at the Basics.

Now, it may sound simple, but believe me, it's not. And don't be misled by the term basics. Basics doesn't mean it's easy, basic, I call them basics because they're the correctly high expectations that you and your customers have when they're dealing with the hugely emotional topic of money.

It just has to work all of the time. These basics are the fundamental pillars that underpin everything that we do and executing them at scale is not easy. The four fundamental pillars that we are focusing on this year and every single year going forward are first Availability. We have to make sure that our services are available when you need them, all the time, every time. Second, Reliability --- systems must be up and available, but experience the need to work as they're supposed to. Third, Scalability, we have to prepare our systems for growth that is gonna come from you and your customers. And last but certainly not least, Security. We must ensure that our systems are protected and our customer's data is protected.

Now, one of our core shifts has been from being reactive to responsive, and we've done that in part by improving our bug tracking and our critical incident management processes. Also, we're deprecating 12 disparate monitoring systems that we've had in place, and we're implementing new world-class tools like Datadog and Post Hog to improve observability and provide deeper insights into our systems.

Now, we know that your digital experience depends on us, and we know you don't wanna be telling us when there's a problem with our platform. We're addressing underlying architectural issues like single points of failure as well. Instead of putting our fingers in the dam, we're building a better dam, but that's only the first step. Responsiveness is great, but being proactive is even better. If we're alerted to an issue either by you or by our monitoring systems, it's too late. Those are precious seconds that impact the money experience, which is why we've been implementing new automated testing to enable us to catch issues before they get to production. This year, we've gone from 0% automated testing at the beginning of the year to 43%. Today we'll be at a hundred percent by mid to early next year.

I'm also excited now that we've begun laying the foundation for our migration to public cloud, to data storage. Now and in the future. Our move to cloud is the next step in MX's future and supports our vision for future innovation, simplifying globalization and data localization and regulation. Now this brings us to one of my favorite values in MX --- Iterative innovation. We start small, make small changes, test assumptions, fail quickly, make adjustments and impro and improve. So channeling our values, we've established improve feedback loops and postmortems continue to continuously learn and improve.

Another good example of how these changes have impacted our platform is in our approach to moving from a rules-based approach in data cleansing to data tokenization.

This new process will improve our already industry leading data enrichment, allowing us to increase coverage and accuracy rates. So what does this all mean? Well, the reason you've all chosen to work with MX is not just our alignment and our missions and our visions, but it's because we are your partner empowering and delivering intelligent money experiences at scale.

So if you deliver at scale, it's impossible to look out for every one of the customers and individualize experience, right? Well, luckily that's a false dichotomy with the data that we have for you and your customers, we can deliver world-class individualized contextual experiences at scale. Now, when I was at PayPal, we took availability from 99.8% to 99.998%. Now that's two failures. That's going from two failures. Every thousand customer interactions to two failures, every a hundred thousand. That's a 99% reduction in customer impact. Now, if you've heard me tell you this story, this, if you've heard me tell you this story before, it's not an accident, I tell you for three reasons. One, to let you know that this can be done at massive scale.

Two, to let you know that we know how to do it. And three, to let you know that we are doing it at mx. This year, we've added automated testing and drastically improved our observability and monitoring. We're moving from measuring system uptime to measuring every customer interaction. We've driven down the number of tickets, the response time to tickets, and the time to close tickets, and we started our journey to public cloud.

All these improvements translate into better quality, enhanced security, and unmatched reliability. Now we're still not where we want to be. We have very high goals and a very high bar from what we want here, and we'll continue to drive these improvements in our customer experiences.

And as we continue to make progress, we'll be spending less time on maintaining our site and dealing with issues. And that'll give us increased velocity in creating new and innovative products and services for you are amazing partners. Now, being brilliant at the basics and keeping it human are how we, how we will deliver on our vision for the future of the MX Intelligence Platform. I wanna thank you all for joining us today.

We have a fantastic program still ahead of us. Now I have a request for you. We're gonna take a very short break because we are behind, so please get up, stretch, but please stay close because we are about to hear from our world-renowned AI expert and former Chief Innovation Officer at NASA Omar Hatamleh. So take five or six minutes, get up, stretch talk, and please be back here in five or six minutes. Thank you.

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