Discover more from Future Commerce
Episode 209
June 11, 2021

Fast Isn't Solving Payments, It's Solving Identity

We live in an era where our name and information is needed for everything, which inevitably prevents a simple checkout. What if there was a way we could input everything with the click of a button? Fast is providing that experience. Today we sit down with Domm Holland, Co-Founder and CEO of Fast to talk about the challenges of online checkouts and how Fast is working to solve them.

<iframe height="52px" width="100%" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

this episode sponsored by

Headless Checkout

  • Domm gives the story behind the creation of Fast, how a family member forgetting a password sparked an idea for easier checkouts across all platforms.
  • “Our goal is to build a consumer network” -Domm
  • The challenges faced as a leader and facing polarizing feedback.
  • “It’s our job to protect consumer data, and consumer payments. This is typically the default relationship that consumers have with businesses, it’s a default trust.” 
  • “It's the logical place where those three need states and those three very broken things about the sort of stateless being of the web converge.” - Phillip 

Associated Links:

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Brian: [00:01:52] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:57] And I'm Phillip. And we're here today with the next generation of site payments and one click and the fastest hype train that's ever hit Twitter as far as I'm concerned. Domm Holland, Co-Founder and CEO of Fast, is with us today. Welcome to the show, Domm.

Domm: [00:02:12] Thanks for having me.

Phillip: [00:02:12] Yeah, thanks for being here. And how the heck could anyone not have heard about Fast at this point would be beyond me, especially if you listen to the show. But tell us about Fast.

Domm: [00:02:22] Sure. So Fast is a one click check out for the entire Internet with no passwords. So it's a button that appears on websites that says "Fast Checkout." And when you click it, you instantly buy whatever it is you're looking at. Typically the place you'll see it is on product pages next to an add to cart button. But more and more sites are using Fast Checkout off site as well. Sites, publishers, magazine sites, social networks and so forth.

Brian: [00:02:45] Very cool. And tell us a little bit about how you got into this. Why you, Domm? How did you end up in this business and what made you want to tackle the problem of payments?

Domm: [00:02:56] Sure yeah. So I am married with two little kids. My youngest child, my son, he was one at the time, was in hospital for a few weeks. We had my wife's grandmother, my grandmother-in-law, staying with us and she was trying to order groceries online back in Australia, hence the funny accent. And she forgot a password and just couldn't check out. So one of Australia's biggest eCommerce sites, a large grocery chain, supermarket chain, and they just couldn't figure out how to charge perfectly innocent little old lady with her credit card out and purse out. And I just remember thinking it was just preposterous to say that the Internet is so much friction and archaic process around transacting online. Set out to solve that. Originally I built a prototype of a password authentication system, solving the very direct pain point that she was having. It didn't make sense to replicate passwords for every single site and so built a sort of network as a password authentication and using magic links. Click a link once, log into the site, every other site you get one click login. And I really sort of spent, I wasn't designing that to build a... I just did it for a bit of fun, I guess. And a lot of people, tens of thousands of people, using it in a couple of days. Realized that this pain point is huge. And my view on the world and that authentication is broken really resonated with a lot of people and sort of dug deep into this pain point and realized that the fundamental pain point is passwords. They're a symptom of the larger pain point that we don't scale consumers across businesses. Right? And so consumers are continually having to re identify themselves everywhere they go, whether it's passwords or whether it's typing the name again, date of birth again, or credit card details again all over. Every time with every business they visit. Doesn't make sense. [00:04:41] The Internet was... The way that we sort of transacted online or authenticated online was in an era where we didn't do everything online, and it just hasn't scaled. And so we really set out to solve that. [00:04:55] Figured I think it's one of the largest single problems on the Internet and obviously a large opportunity.

Brian: [00:05:03] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:05:03] Is is there an astute person who's been around the industry as long as I have? I've now said I think the third time since the pre show started. I'm old. Feeling my age these days. I remember this little company that I signed up for back in August of 2000 called PayPal, who theoretically we're trying to solve a similar challenge in these days of sort of the stateful always logged in one click payment. But adoption's seems to be a challenge in that space. And PayPal is not everywhere. Neither is ApplePay or GooglePay. Why will Fast be everywhere?

Domm: [00:05:46] So, frankly, I think PayPal has been fairly successful in their approach. They may not be everywhere, but they've done extremely well and built a very impressive business on the back of that distribution. And frankly, that distribution is what keeps PayPal there today, right? It's now a twenty year old businesses, as you sort of alluded to, and the experience, the PayPal experience is still kind of lagging experience. Right? The reason that it's you still see it in many places is because of the distribution that they're built. It may not be everywhere, but this is one of the largest sectors in the world, both in terms of the number of businesses and number of consumers. So when you think about all of the big companies you think about in the space, ApplePay, PayPal, GooglePay, and then you think that a company like Alipay processes more than those companies combined, this is just a big market. It is simply winner take all market in any way, shape, or form? And we've seen that because we've seen a number of extremely large companies in this space. And so I think PayPal's done a really phenomenal job. But I do think that what they have is distribution. I think PayPal has a very prosperous future. I don't think PayPal Checkout is that a prosperous future for PayPal. I think of PayPal as more of a P&E company these days or M&A company and acquisitions like Venmo and Braintree are really the largest parts of PayPal and much like a lot of traditional businesses have built a big distribution channel. And they're like, "What other products can push through our distribution channel?" And so but yeah, the fact that they're not on every website, I don't think matters. I do think that it's interesting that things like ApplePay have actually surpassed PayPal in terms of processing volume, despite the fact that Apple is far more limited in terms of distribution than PayPal, both in terms of the number of seller websites that they're on, but also PayPal is a device is kind of more similar to Fast is technology agnostic. So you can use PayPal on mobile and desktop. You can use it on Apple or Android. So it doesn't really matter. Same as Fast. Whereas Apple is starkly Apple centric. You need an iPhone, basically to use ApplePay. And even if you have an iPhone, if you're using the Chrome browser on your iPhone it won't work. If you're using a MacBook and using the Chrome browser like seventy seven percent of the Internet, it won't work. And so it is so heavily contextual. And again, Apple even restricts the banks that you use ApplePay with to the banks that they've specifically done deals with to pay them a fee on transactions. So it is so highly limited from a contextual standpoint compared to a PayPal and yet processing a lot. And so it gives you an idea of the size of that distribution channel again. And so but the difference of Apple and the PayPal or us is Apple doesn't have a single sales rep that's out selling ApplePay into SME or mid-market sized businesses, maybe in the very top end strategic side, but they're not... Like a PayPal and I think they will. And so is Apple ever going to be everywhere? No, but no Apple products are and their intention isn't to be the only solution market. It's to sell more products into the distribution channel they've got again, which is typically iPhone users right? The difference at Fast is we are completely agnostic in the same way that PayPal is, technology agnostic, browser, device agnostic, bank agnostic. And so from that perspective, we're a lot different to an Apple. We are aggressively going after the whole market and building teams and marketing that will address all the sides of the market. As well as that we actually have proven we're very good at partnerships as well. Stripe is our largest backer. They're one of the largest payment networks on the Internet. BigCommerce is one of the largest eCommerce platforms in the Internet. We have a string of unannounced and equally large partnerships as well. We do understand that there's an ecosystem of people to work with for distribution at scale, as well as going direct to market, which we are. On top of that we actually are a very different product. Aside from the fact that it's a button that you would see on eCommerce websites much like Apple. They have a button you would see on eCommerce websites and PayPal will have a button you would see on eCommerce websites. Our products are actually very different and typically target different pain points. And so whilst we're going onto the same sort of market, we do it in very different ways and we have very different products.

Brian: [00:10:19] Actually, let me push on this a little bit further. So we've talked about several competitors and there are even more, because as we look I mean, there are some direct ones out there, Bolt and others... If you look at the market and look where even eCommerce platforms are trending, Shopify is pushing into payments. And even some would say that maybe that is the whole Shopify play.

Phillip: [00:10:44] Understatement of the century. But yes...

Brian: [00:10:45] Amazon's taking share of payment just by nature of having people shop on Amazon, but also off Amazon and even Adobe and some of the other, like eCommerce giants out there, are starting to push into payments. And so the space is big then, but it feels like it's rapidly getting smaller. So, you know, as you sort of look ahead and look at where you fit in with platforms, how do you see Fast evolving as eCommerce platforms evolve?

Domm: [00:11:25] So there's a lot of interesting things. I think, first of all, the last 20 years was really about giving businesses the ability to transact online. They basically didn't have that before, especially small businesses. It was just frankly, either the infrastructure was not there at all, or a startup just couldn't access an infrastructure. And then the cost of access and the infrastructure was too much. And so a lot of the work of the last 20 years was really put into enabling businesses to transact. And but again, it was in some ways like enabling businesses to have membership portals or login systems or whatever. It resulted in highly fragmented experiences for consumers and for the end user. And so where you see businesses getting into payments, a lot of that is them just consolidating all of the different access points that they accept payments across their portals and properties. So less about I think that some of this is businesses getting into financial services. You mentioned Shopify. Very clear that Shopify is becoming a financial services business, basically is a financial services business. They're subscription revenue is fairly flat year on year, financial services revenue through the roof. And they're basically doing what Facebook and Twitter did 10 years ago and just blocking and closing out everyone in the ecosystem that will build them, that is in financial services and saying, "This is now ours." And so very clear that they are. But there's a lot of businesses that are doing this just fundamentally as best principals internally and going how do we manage financials payments as an offering for our own properties or for our customers who are part of our ecosystem that need to transact on our properties? And less about sort of sending this out into the world as a financial services product that's going to replace their core product. In other words, how do they better service core audience? And I think when you think about things like Twitter and taking payments for creators of the creative economy, again, it's never say never for a company like Twitter, but I think a lot of that is about, again, how do they monetize that audience themselves and help their audience and creatives to actually monetize themselves? And so payments is like fundamental to that. How do you get money flowing into the platform? But does Twitter plan on becoming a financial services company? I don't think that's core to their strategy, especially with Jack at the helm of that. Square as well probably doesn't want to create another competitor for his own company. So I think it's a really interesting space and one that, frankly, is just consolidating within tech companies, realizing how to do payments. It's a really complex world and part of the tech stack. And I think all the companies are just figuring it out.

Phillip: [00:14:11] So you mentioned something there that I think is really interesting is around how you're driving... So you're go to market is really interesting and it's probably the thing you're best known for these days, at least on Twitter, in sort of capitalizing on a hype network effect that was building around startups and entrepreneurship already that perhaps others like Elliott might have proved in building a fan base of people who like to root for those building in public. And I'm going somewhere with this, but I'd love for your validation on that when we get there and sort of capitalizing on that and this sort of in consumer awareness of what Fast is, but then understanding that the business buyer is also maybe not even in the eCommerce part of an organization, that your business buyer and your buying center is likely in finance. Does that become... It seems like you're appealing to three different types of, three levels in very stratified awareness of what payments is and how it actually operates in a business. Does that make you less focused to have to think about three people to market to?

Domm: [00:15:35] So there's even more complexity than that. But maybe let's break it down a little first.

Phillip: [00:15:43] Please. Yeah.

Domm: [00:15:43] And so, first of all, we as a business like our primary value to businesses, to merchants, to retailers, eCommerce sites, anyone who wants to sell stuff online is two fold. The first one is we are the easiest way for people to transact online, fastest way for people to buy. Make it easy for people to buy, more people will buy things. Really easy analogy. We have all the case studies to back it up. It is so stark. You see as soon as Fast Checkout is installed on the site conversion rate goes like this... It just like instantly within an hour. It's really amazing to see. And so that first value is really beneficial. Businesses want to sell more stuff online. How do they optimize the site? How do they sell more stuff? We help them at that core pain point. The second pain point, which again, is probably one of our biggest differentiators, it's something that from here until the end of the year, I think you're going to hear a lot of, but also see a lot more of. I think it's like the most transformative type of technology is coming from eCommerce, frankly. And it's one of our most unique aspects. And that is headless checkout, but not headless check out just in the context of saying, "We're a third party provided that's going to run to checkout." Headless in terms of, "How do we take the checkout we see on our website and actually put it embedded in a publisher's site? So Vogue can write an article about a Burberry jacket and have a Fast Checkout button for the Burberry jacket within the Vogue article. Click the button, buy the jacket. The order goes from Burberry. Burberry will send you the confirmation email immediately. Burberry has your customer information. If you have ever shopped at Burberry before, you're still sitting in the database. So the order is attached to your existing account. You can use Burberry coupon code, but all from Vogues website. And Vogue could earn an affiliate fee on that transaction. Like this is a magical experience. Suddenly the marketing channels are transact-able. Same way if you're reading a recipe and they share the recipe, wants to give you the ten page spiel about the soup bowl that they use before they give you the recipe. And but you can buy the soup bowl in one click from the recipe. Now the recipe side doesn't have to build any eCom infrastructure. They're just embedding the checkout button for the product that they bought from Williams-Sonoma or some other website. They can embed it into their articles and into the recipe itself. And you can buy with one click. Like this really is a great consumer experience, amazing for business and for the publishers and affiliates. This headless check out, same thing as QR codes in stadiums to buy the jersey for the team you're rooting for. This is commerce everywhere. One click to check out from email. One click check out some display ads. This is the most incredible thing. And to do this, it requires us to not just be a payment token. ApplePay, GooglePay, PayPal, these payment tokens. So you can go to checkout buttons and call them whatever you like. They're payment tokens, right? They replace a credit card, replace you having to use a credit card. They're not integrated with auto management systems or catalogs or customers or anything like that. And so what happens is a store, if you click an ApplePay button, the store tells Apple that they need to transact one hundred dollars for a certain transaction. Apple charges you one hundred dollars and goes back to the store and says one hundred dollars went through. They don't know what you bought. They don't know anything about the order. And so that means as soon as you go off site, ApplePay doesn't work because it relies on the site being the mechanics to manage an order and create an order and all these other things. Same thing as PayPal. Same thing as GooglePay. A big difference at Fast is that we actually take all of those things, make all those things portable anywhere you put the button. Any website on the Internet with a couple lines of code. And this is a really huge differential. I can tell you we've got some of the biggest brands in the country and in the world, integrating right now to headless checkout across the Internet. It really is a very large differentiator. Now, where I was going back to in terms of the people we sell to... We sort of have three spokes. Typically, we have buyers and sellers we think of as our core market. The third spoke to us is kind of publishers now or third parties. Who are the third parties that we can place these buttons. And instead of just giving retailers or brands the ability to do that, we're also building that network with those third parties. And so we actually have three different body trust of consumers, businesses and distribution channels for businesses. But within companies to go back to kind of question, there's a number of personas that kind of get involved in this. Bigger the company more personas to get involved. If you want to put a checkout on the product page, I can tell you there's like 37 teams at some companies that will get involved in that process. It is very complex.

Phillip: [00:20:15] Oh yeah. No, I know. {laughter}

Domm: [00:20:15] Yeah {laughter}. The typical stakeholders or decision makers that really work with Fast, that are signing up for Fast, is either Head of Product, VP of Product, VP of Technology, VP of eCommerce, or VP of Marketing, and in some cases VP of Payments. Actually I always say we're not a payments company. Yes, payment is part of our service, but we are just not a payments company. And so frankly, most of the time we're dealing primarily with product, technology, eCommerce, and marketing. When you think about headless, that's a marketing channel. Now, what you're doing is taking checkout and thinking of it as a marketing channel as opposed to like a cost center from the payments department. And payments is typically like very operational, kind of considering the operational side of payments, cost side of payments and so forth. And that's our biggest value driver for us as a business. And then obviously consumers. Most of our consumer acquisition is done through businesses. So typically a lot of sort of marketing and sales focus is on the business side, and we acquire consumers directly through product innovation through businesses or those third parties. And then to kind of go to your original point about marketing and the hype and whatever else. Our goal is to build a consumer network. The value, if you can count forward five years, the value of Fast is we have a billion consumers using one click checkout every day. If you lead a large eCommerce site, you wouldn't use anything else. Why would you use anything else if a billion consumers use this one product, the one click check out. The value of us is having a billion consumers in that network. Our job is very clearly to get a billion consumers into that network. How do you do that? And so our job is to market our tech to every business and eCommerce site possible and every consumer possible. And almost less aggressively at consumers, more aggressively at businesses. But we are solving a consumer pain point. And we believe that we... And it is a pain point that everyone resonates with. No one needs understanding why checkout is hard. Retyping all your information is stupid, why passwords don't scale. We get it. And so because of that, we talk to businesses through the lens of a consumer. They get it. As a consumer, they understand. As a consumer, they get the friction. As a consumer they understand that they would be able to transact more easily and buy more things with the problems we solve. And so then as a business, they want to adopt that technology for themselves because they understand the consumer pain point behind it. It's a really effective strategy to to be honest, our business, our retail network has grown exponentially since launch in September, continues to grow at an incredible pace. The amount of money that processing every day/week/month is growing at an incredible pace. Consumers are onboarding. So it's a strategy that works really well. And I think that hype is... I mean, Twitter is a funny... Like the Twitter sphere is funny space anyway. It's kind of like one big toddler that kind of just rolls around looking at like whatever shiny and whatever they are upset about or happy about for that two minutes of time and then I kind of keep rolling around. And I really think that hype just refers to like rapid influx of knowledge about a specific company or something like that or a specific product or whatever. And yeah, I think we managed to get the attention of a lot of people in a very short amount of time and continue to do that. It's ironic because marketing it fast is outnumbered twenty five to one by R&D. We are twenty five to one the number of people in R&D, engineers, product, design versus marketing. And we actually have allocated very little resource to marketing, but we've had outsized returns from a marketing standpoint. We've also had outsized returns from an engineering standpoint. We've been pretty successful at implementing best in class right across the business and I think a lot of our early marketing success was actually not even designed for the purpose that we're best known for. So we had a number of things and one of the biggest best things we did was just hire creative people. And I think it's really hard these days for startups to just hire creative people. They're looking for database rationale for every single decision, whether it's to appease investors or themselves or vanity metrics or whatever it is. And they don't hire creative people, or anyway as we do. And because it's hard to quantify, at least at an early stage, what the value on sort of raw creativeness is. And we did that early. One of the first people we hired in first hand was our videographer internally. We did that so that we could recruit. We had a videographer to tell the story of every person that we hired and create marketing videos for the company purely to target talent. And we would put the videos in social media because we're in the toughest market in the world. Were at the time and still are. And the videos themselves, I think, were the first catalyst that got people thinking that we were sort of building in public, which was just by creating these sort of marketing videos about the company, about a startup to attract talent. And Matthew Kobach, our Director of Content Marketing, and he's a huge personality on his own.

Phillip: [00:25:55] Twitter famous in his own right.

Domm: [00:25:56] Yeah, absolutely. Took our existing social presence and then amplified it 10 X again. And but again, raw creativeness. We didn't give him hard data. None of these people had very hard sort of database metrics and targets of what they needed to achieve. The goal was to promote us through visual medium, promote us through social media, and own those channels. They're important channels, they are large distribution channels on those things. When we first built our checkout before we even marketed to the first businesses, long before we actually built it, I said to investors, when we were still building our log in product, that when we build checkout, the first thing we're going to do is test it on our own store, so that if anything's wrong, if people are buying stuff for free, it's going to affect us and not the live seller. And so we built a store, as I said at the time, we would be selling caps. And we built a store so we can test it. Swag store. We put hoodies on there, the cost of us using external user testing platforms, thirty dollars a user a month or something like that, 30 bucks a user. And we had to give them credit cards or credit cards that I could use. And then they would put inside data and test. And I just it didn't make sense. If we have a hoodie that costs twenty one dollars or twenty eight dollars delivered, if we subsidize the cost of the hoodie, get lots and lots of people buying it, putting in real addresses, using their own real credit cards, we can actually run tests on live consumers at scale and kind of get a good test data on how well the product holds up, how fast it is, the scale it can work on. And one of the most incredibly difficult things, which is address validation globally. And we did that so we would run promos for hoodies and discount from twenty dollars a dollar, or five dollars or whatever for a minute or five minutes at a time, and designed to push large numbers of people through our checkout in short periods of time and at scale. And honestly, we became known for it. We sold over ten thousand hoodies pre launch as a company and so, and then got known for that and for this incredible marketing channel. It is kind of a really amazing again, this is before we had we didn't even have a head of market. We had zero people hired in marketing when we were doing that. Matt Kobach hadn't even come on board at that stage. This was truly like an R&D led project designed to test products that ended up in the sort of mass marketing. And of course, we actually have a commerce now out for our store and sort of general eCommerce initiatives. If one person, Gary, who tests this and supplies apparel for the team around the world or whatever else. But it's really amazing how these things came about, we're kind of less about building hype and actually have a very structured purpose that just ended up in mobile over appeal.

Phillip: [00:32:45] Brian, I'm sure you're you're champing at the bit, but I just I would like one last thing to say there, which is I see what you're saying, but I think that there's also there's some brilliance in the execution of understanding where the audience lies and where you're gaining traction. And I think the hiring Matthew Kobach really showed me, hey, you're leaning into having a voice in an unmet need, like an unmet desire, thirsty market of people who want to see others succeed and who want to, you know, sort of learn from those. And whether or not that was your intent in the beginning, I think it's well executed and you leaned into it to just say, hey, this is where we're going. And, you know, just my own experience in following you, your Twitter game is extremely strong, too. And it's one of those things where it can be extremely polarizing to people who just do not like that and don't have an appetite for it. And, you know, I don't know if you know it, but, you know, people like love you to death or they kind of hate your guts. And I mean, you like literally you. I don't know how you deal with that or if you recognize that or not. But that's you know, it creates sort of a you can't really sit on the fence and like say, oh, well, let's see how this whole Fast thing pans out. There's people who are like rooting for you and there's people who are rooting against you. Does that distract you from building the product?

Domm: [00:34:23] So I say that sadly, one of the truths about being a good Founder is having an emotional range between four and six. It's one of these hard realities that if things get really tough, you'll never see me running around the room sort of screaming at people or head down or hiding in a closet or whatever. I'm front and center. Always. At the same time anything really fantastic happens in the business, it's good, but it's we have a lot to do and we have a big job ahead of us and we can't get distracted by it. And it's sad because that's really the traits of a lot of great Founders and great leaders is that ability to normalize life across all things. And so the realities of anybody or any company or any organization that has a large profile is always going to be polarizing because population, the general populace is just not the same. There isn't a politician in the world in any historical figure anywhere in the world that has broad appeal. They're always polarizing. It's just human nature. People you may not like somebody by the way they look, by the way they say a certain word, it reminds you of something from your childhood, the way they smell, the way they dress. Some people have made judgment before, before they have any knowledge. So you can't ever hope that. Smaller the profile, less polarizing up, because the less people that are exposed to you and have hard views. The bigger you are, not just that people had those views, but then they're more likely to talk about you and talk in public about you. So frankly, it's you know, it comes with the job, I think. And I think that for a lot of people it is an incredibly hard thing, challenging thing, and for some people, just frankly, too hard to deal with. I think we've seen time and time again lots of people who go through that. I by no means sort of on that level, nor is our company. But you see the same like celebrities or you can see in professional sports people who sometimes have breakdowns, they just can't handle that sort of public pressure. I think it is true that politicians kind of get to go through the same thing. You know, I frankly, I'm here to do a job and build this business. And that's what I'm here to do, to be successful in this. Again, to build a consumer network business, we have to build a very, very large company, a very large consumer network. Lots of people have to know us and know us intimately to be to successful. There really isn't another choice in this. And if you think about every large consumer network scale business, they all have very polarizing leaders. And it's not necessarily that their leaders are more polarizing than the other, but that just that they're the leader of the very consumer network scale business. And frankly, that's just the reality of being in this position. And I'll tell you what, it's not a very nice thing. And for my wife, it's not. I have to read terrible things that people say. And for people internally in the business. It's not nice for them to read terrible things people say about me or the team or whatever. But zero time or people that should feel sorry for me or the company for being polarizing because that's the cost of building a large, large business and large profile. Comes with the territory.

Brian: [00:38:03] Yeah, with that I think... So many questions. But we're on this line. I think, you know, you've mentioned the weight this has had on you and what you have to do to manage this. You've also hired a team and you've got a Co-Founder. Allison Barr Allen is is your Co-Founder. I would love to hear about how you met. Also, you know, how does what you face as a leader affects your whole team and what sort of time commitment is required to address the PR side of things. Like I would imagine that with sort of the strategy that you've leaned into, there's quite a bit of management of being able to address what people say or not address it or just think through it and just understand how to position. And so I would love to hear about that in the context of a larger team.

Domm: [00:39:09] Yeah, you know, internal comms is something that like especially as we're growing as a business that we'll think about more and not just from a PR spin angle, but more like building a large distributed global team. How do we manage comms quickly at scale? How do we get the right message across and get the message across without dilution? How do we do that? Ideally, it's close to real time as possible. How do we encourage people to talk up and give us feedback? So I think it's a complex just in building a big business and managing so that comes generically. I am a pretty as an Australian male, I'm a pretty blunt, straight up, kind of thick skinned guy and like many Australian males. And that's kind of my style. And I have a phenomenal comms team who do a great job at spreading the stories of us around the world and helping internally. But I'm not a talking points kind of person. I'm not a script reader. I'm fairly confident talking about Fast. It's one of the biggest topics I could talk about infinitely. And so I'm pretty common for me to just talk frankly with our team at scale. And to that end, it's actually pretty easy. I think as soon as we stop, as soon as a company stops doing that then it loses, it loses a certain luster internally. And I think it's pretty clear to retain that, like it's just become that big, big enterprise business that is suddenly being muted and which I think is natural at some sizes. We are just no where near there. I think we're decades of being that sort of business. But yeah, so that frankly isn't that difficult for us to manage. What is difficult is getting lots and lots of people together in short notice. Or lots and lots of people getting together to talk. But we do a weekly all hands, which is with our team across the world and even with people in lots of time zones. Now we've got about two hundred people as a company for once a week. We still get 80 percent of every person live on our all hands once a week. So we have a pretty good forum to talk pretty frankly. We have a public Q&A. You can ask a question on the whim. It's all Live, real time, happy to answer anything. We have a pretty transparent sort of place with the team.

Phillip: [00:41:48] But you're on a trajectory in an industry where I think the goal is to be the big enterprise company. Is it not? I mean, isn't that what Stripe would hope you to become at some point with its backing and this rumored billion dollar valuation I read about, which you I'm sure won't comment on. But the information is like "Fast discusses billion dollar valuation." It's like you're on the track to become that company or no?

Domm: [00:42:20] We're on track to become a large business. Yeah, but I mean, I think there's still a difference in... One of the things you want to talk about. We do things very differently to most companies. And I have no, I'm probably one of the least risk averse people in the world. And so I have no problem in us just doing things differently. I have no intention to just do things the way other people do, other companies do just because somebody tells us it's a good idea. And I tell you what, we've got an incredible team of people who've worked at a lot of big companies and held a lot of various senior roles, a lot of big companies, and even like none of them are sort of trying to turn us into this, like, boiler plate enterprise either. [00:43:03] It doesn't matter how big you are, how fast we're scaling, people understand that Fast has its own personality and has its own way of doing things. It's the magic of the business. And we're going to keep running it that way [00:43:18]. Again, like I said, decades from now, when I'm feeling a little older as well, then we'll see, we'll see if we can continue to say that we are innovating at the pace of a 200 person start up. But for now, it's not an issue.

Phillip: [00:43:36] Pace of innovation for sure. I mean, it's in the name. It's Fast. So I would hope it would be. Your Co-Founder is the ex Uber and PWC, right? So if there's somebody who knows how to avoid the trappings of a big organization, I'm sure she's got the sights on what to do and what not to do.

Domm: [00:44:00] Yeah. Definitely.

Phillip: [00:44:02] Let's dive into a little bit about, you said sort of the network effects of being a consumer, being in a consumer business, having sort of the trust of you're holding the consumer data. That's an interesting choice these days to have a consumer brand. So outside of Twitter, how are you going to proliferate that and gain consumer confidence in them trusting Fast is the place and the recognized brand for, you know, for giving you their information and allowing you to facilitate?

Brian: [00:44:43] So are we talking like Klarna Super Bowl ads or...? {laughter}

Domm: [00:44:48] Well, I'll tell you about an interesting marketing deal is coming and not one that I'm necessarily historically a large fan of, but I think there's a NASCAR track race coming up on June 18 in Nashville and there will be a Fast track on the track. But I can tell you, it is actually a funny story because the driver of the car, really great, fantastic NASCAR racer actually found us through Twitter as well. And he's been buying Fast himself, paying for himself for a long time and going to races wearing fFast gear as athletes, as a racer, as a professional racer what else would you want to wear than Fast? What else would you want to have on your truck? And so that we will lean in there and get that piece. But, you know, one of the sad realities and one that we hope we can play a positive role in changing is that consumers care far too little, far less than they should about security, privacy. The reality is, when you're buying a t shirt online, your risk levels are quite low. If you're in the Western world, those transactions are kind of backed by bank. You don't really care too much. Everyone sort of, I think, concedes that the email addresses and names are stored in 10 million databases around the world now. And so it's kind of like that ship has sailed. Kind of a sad state of the world. And as an example, you know, in Marriott had five hundred million people's information leaked a couple of years ago, the next day to the people staying in Marriott. It's not like no one went and checked into the Marriott the next day. Is there any news on how they were handling data differently or whatnot? No, I didn't hear anything. I didn't see anything as a consumer. And I stay in Marriotts. It's not like there's a problem with it at all, but it's just a good example of where consumers are fundamentally just don't put enough weight in those sites. Despite that, and so for that reason, we don't talk a lot about security and privacy externally. It's actually not sexy, not only do consumers not value it highly, it's boring. Most consumers find that sort of stuff boring. And the average consumer isn't signing up for a checkout product. It's the most secure checkout product on the Internet. They're signing up for the fastest and easiest one, which is why we are a one click checkout. But behind the scenes, it's our job to protect consumer data. It's our job to protect consumer payments. And this is typically, I think, the default relationship that consumers have with businesses. It's like a default trust. And if the trust is broken, then it's very hard to get that trust back, not just because they've given us that trust, but really we see fundamentally for ourselves the identity network that sits in between consumers and businesses. Our job is actually to be like that in that central place. We have invested so heavily, exponentially more heavily for any other company size in security and privacy. And I truly mean this. We hired a VP of Security before we hired our first engineering manager. About twenty percent of our R&D team sits in that security org.

Phillip: [00:47:57] Usually only after a data breach, as far as... {laughter} In our industry that's when you make that hire.

Domm: [00:48:04] Exactly right. And we did this right at the start, because if you go back and listen to all the podcasts, I've always been saying this. Fundamentally we are a security and privacy company. That's what we do. We hold data. We're not an advertising network. So our commercial model isn't to take your data or find your data from lots of sources and then give it to as many businesses as possible. Our job is you put your data in because you want to use it. And when you click the button, we share that data with somebody they want to share today with. That's our business model. And we get paid every time you click the button. If you click the button, literally zero people get your data. Like it just doesn't go anywhere. It's a fundamentally different model. And I'm on the way to solve. And I think that not only I'll be there to protect that we can actually be champions of security in privacy. Because we as a network in between the business, we can actually give consumers granular security controls. So you can have one click checkout on your desktop. But maybe then you want biometric on your phone if it's from your work computer or if it's a payment over a certain amount of money. And retailers on investing in tech. Never have invested in tech to do that individually. But we can do that as a company that sits in between and give consumers much better control. And it's really interesting part of our business you'll see like a evolve over the next twenty four months.

Brian: [00:49:15] As you're talking, this last statement that you've had, I heard a lot of things. And I think it's starting to all sort of tie together in my head now a little bit. So you said earlier a lot of people want to say you're a payments company. You're not a payments company. Then you talked about how you have a NASCAR driver who's buying your brand gear and, like, wearing it well ahead and found you on Twitter. And then it's sort of like led into this idea that you're actually sort of a security company. There's this question of identity that I think I'm hearing kind of come up like who are you? What is the value? And in that, as we've described it, extremely like crowded and large marketplace. So with all of the sort of noise in that marketplace and who you are and like the name, you mentioned the name, and like how important that is. And I just couldn't help but think of, like the founder when Ray Kroc said, "I couldn't have done it with the name Kroc's. I had to do it with McDonald's." So as you think about like what your go forward strategy is, and actually kind of what I'm hearing is it's almost like you're an identity company, which comes with security and sort of that confidence that you're going to hand over your information to Fast. So how important is the name and the brand to you and what does that mean when you go to market?

Domm: [00:50:52] Yeah, so lots of different things in that question. I think fundamentally you're absolutely right. And we say this all the time, actually, when we're talking to merchants, the first thing that I say is, "We're actually an identity network," that's what we do. And the fundamental problem of checkout, when you think about granny, right. The problem she had was not a payments problem. Every retailer in the world knows how to take payments. They've been doing it for years. It's out there, established business. There's payment rails exist now. Our great partners at Stripe have built incredible rails, so the businesses can take payments. That's not an issue anymore. [00:51:26] When you go to check out when you go to buy something online, the business doesn't know who you are, right? They ask you, your name, your email, the same information over and over. That's an identity problem. They're trying to identify who you are so that you can check out so that they know where to send your package. This is purely an identity problem. This is not a payments problem. That's why I say we're not exactly sure we do payments, but fundamentally, we think that what we are solving is an identity problem. We are an identity network. Our consumer network is an identity network. [00:51:58] We also have Fast Login. Login accesses that same network. We are an identity, so you can identify the customer, make it easy for them to log in and you'll see more of these use cases. That is the pain point, the fundamental pain point, that we're solving. Scaling consumers across businesses. How do you build a consumer network and identity network to do that? I hate the term identity because in the industry it kind of means something, but for consumers, like identity doesn't mean anything. Or means so many different things. But we're building a consumer network to make it easier for you to leverage data in every way you can leverage it. Data and payments. And so I think of identity because having three things: authentication, payments, and data, which is why we have to log in. Checkout is basically all three and one. And so but like I said, as far as like consumer positioning, even business positioning, frankly, is the number one value that we give. The number one reason why you want that network is the speed. It's faster. You don't want to have to enter the information, frankly. [00:53:02] And you talk about market size and crowded space. There should not be a single form on the Internet, you still have to type your name into. It is bewildering how many places we still have to type our name in every single day. Online, in-person, whatever. We shouldn't be doing it. In a purely digital medium, it is crazy that we're still typing our name, date of birth, the things that haven't changed for me in thirty four years. So whilst it may be a big space, it's wide open in that sort of consumer identity network space. There just frankly isn't one that is solving those problems. [00:53:37] When you move address, you just have to tell everyone your new address. That's the current solution is there's no way to do that. If you go to Thailand or Mexico for a holiday and lose your wallet in surf, you have to tell everyone your new card number. There's just no other way of doing this. So there isn't a company that's gone in there and built that identity network. And I tell you what, I think the company that does is going to start is a checkout business. Checkout is an incredible catalyst to build from, I think, one of the world's biggest identity networks.

Phillip: [00:54:09] I would agree with that because I think it's the logical place where those three need states and those three very broken things about the sort of stateless being of the web converge. What is Fast of the future look like then? You solve those things. What happens next?

Domm: [00:54:24] Yeah. So really simple. I like to say anywhere that you would currently type your name that will be replaced by a Fast button. Anywhere you have to type information or make a payment that will be Fast. Whether it's in person or online. And when you think about it as well, like unlocking a front door or a smart lock in an office or whatever is actually the same thing as unlocking a website. It's identifying that you have authentication to open that door, that website, like it's exact same thing. So when you think about authentication, payments, and data as those three like generic buckets, it's a very wide field of opportunity. And so for us, when you think about our business in that state, one of the hardest things at a high level is where do you start? What do you focus on? What do you build and what do you do and what you don't do? And so strictly to kind of remain focused and to make sure that we're serving the right pain points now is we have created the concept of Dinosaur eras at Fast. And so we're in the eCommerce era of Fast. So we're using this identity network to build to solve eCommerce problems for buyers, sellers, publishers, anyone in that sort of eCommerce sphere. And that's the big era that we're in now. We haven't announced the end date to the era of the next era that will come, but currently we are in the eCommerce era. And then our business will evolve and we'll broaden the use cases for identity, both within eCommerce over the short to medium term and then longer term into other sectors.

Phillip: [00:55:58] Well, Domm, thank you. This time went too...

Brian: [00:56:02] Way too fast.

Phillip: [00:56:03] Fast. {laughter} It's been a pleasure. Thank you for being just so transparent and thank you for sharing all your thoughts.

Domm: [00:56:11] Thank you both.

Phillip: [00:56:11] Hey, I wish you the best of luck, man. It seems like a place that's ripe for innovation, and it seems like you guys really understand what you're trying to get, and I wish you the best to do it.

Domm: [00:56:20] Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.

Phillip: [00:56:21] You got it.

Brian: [00:56:22] Thanks, Domm.

Recent episodes

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.