The All Turtles Podcast Episode 46: Max Levchin, cofounder of PayPal and Affirm

Max Levchin is the cofounder and former CTO of PayPal. His stories from PayPal’s early days reveal that its methods for addressing security questions from the start can apply to the problems social media companies face today. Levchin started Affirm to do away with amoral loan practices; recently, Affirm allowed government employees who couldn’t work during the shutdown to take their time in paying back loans. Levchin values honesty and transparency, which serve as the foundations for his products.

Show notes


Conversation with Max Levchin (0:47)

Max is a cofounder and former CTO of PayPal (1:07)

The human-computer loop (7:06)

PRNG, or pseudorandom number generator (9:53)

Affirm is a better way to borrow money (17:20)


Advice to entrepreneurs (34:10)

Phil’s “Rule of Three” video series (34:38)

The rock-paper-scissors model of dealing with competition (35:10)


Listener question (42:28)

From Steve via email:

I saw an article that Google is giving away $25 million to fund humane AI projects to solve seemingly intractable problems. My question to the All Turtles luminaries is what they think of this effort, which coincides with Google’s decision to not pursue $10 billion military contract for use of AI (Microsoft is now pursuing this).


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