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PayPal was begun by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin on the premise that storing and sending money digitally would be more secure than handling the same cash in your wallet.

Once the product became more widely accepted – thanks largely to its early adoption by sellers on eBay – an unanticipated trend emerged: suddenly it became much, much easier for ecommerce sites to incorporate and do business.

Think about it: from the point of view of a Credit Card Processor or Bank, a startup ecommerce site is one of the riskiest business propositions there is. Customers are asked to pay someone they don’t know in advance – instantly – for future delivery of some service or good. Fertile ground for fraud, right?

The complete application and approval process to open a Merchant Services Account with a Credit Card Processor or Bank might take days or even weeks, involving credit checks and bank references and bank statements. Even for a retail business, your application might pass through literally dozens of hands before you received the good news… or the bad.

PayPal changed all that. Apply in minutes, receive instant approval along with marketing materials, and begin accepting money online from customers immediately. Combined with anti-fraud measures, PayPal opened the floodgates on a new wave of ecommerce merchants.

And UPS? While they love logistics, they probably love PayPal even more.

Imagine how it must have felt to be a member of UPS’ sales team in the early days of PayPal, 1999 – 2000. Throughout your prospecting interviews, you might have occasionally heard that the business owner planned to accept payments via PayPal. Now imagine thousands of these conversations happening all over the country, every day.

Here’s the bottom line: if you work for a UPS, you have the opportunity to help the next PayPal succeed. What if UPS had opened a Center for Innovation in Logistics in the year 2000, to help early-stage startups succeed in this space? For example, the startups would receive a small commission or invoice credit for promoting UPS business services to their customers, and those same customers would receive preferential treatment and rates on UPS services. If we flash back to 2000, PayPal might have avoided a few growing pains and UPS would have gained a vocal advocate.

In your life, which partnerships are unintentional… and which ones can we formalize for the greater benefit of all?

Chicken Satay with Peanut Noodles and Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Excellent recipes are all about partnerships… how unexpected flavors combine in provocative ways. Regular readers will know I lean towards recipes for comfort foods, and this one  – while unexpected – is no exception. Inspired and adapted from Steamy Kitchen.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken Satay

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or light olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground galangal
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb meat from a happy chicken, cut evenly into bite-sized pieces
  • wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for at least 10 minutes

For the Spicy Peanut Noodles

For the Cucumber Salad

  • 1 medium English cucumber, very thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced red chile pepper

Instructions:

For the Chicken Satay

  1. In a non-reactive container, combine all ingredients together.
  2. Marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  3. Heat the grill to medium-high. Skewer the chicken pieces on the soaked skewers and discard the marinade.
  4. Grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

For the Peanut Noodles:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, garlic and peppers. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the lime juice, honey, peanut butter, hot water and soy sauce and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Toss the soba noodles with half the peanut sauce.

Final Assembly:

  1. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber slices, vinegar, honey and peppers.
  2. Serve alongside the chicken satay and peanut noodles, with remaining peanut sauce on the side.

Satay

Many thanks to the History Pages of both PayPal and UPS for background on this post. Check back often, for the times, they are constantly a changin’.