Eileen O'Mara is in no mood to listen to American propaganda. Sitting in Stripe's bustling Silicon Docks office, chatting about perceptions of European technology in the US, the company's newest European boss mentions some common Valley tropes; that we in Europe know little about innovation, that we try to tax anything creative, that we'll forever be in the shadow of Silicon Valley. She's not having it.
"Look at the top 10 IPOs last year," says the Clarecastle, Ennis-born executive. "Six of them are from Europe. I don't know why we keep hearing that innovation and tech are not as strong in Europe as in the Valley or in other places around the world. It's just not true."
O'Mara might know a bit more about it than Hacker News blowhards from Boston or Boise.
As Stripe's new revenue and growth lead for Europe, the former Salesforce executive deals with companies such as Deliveroo, N26 and hundreds of others across the continent that are growing quickly, attracting tens of millions in VC investment.
The data coming through Stripe's coffers, she suggests, paints a different picture to the one you might read in a San Jose Mercury News editorial.
"If you look at investment [into European tech firms] of over €100m, it's up four-fold since 2016," she says. "And three quarters of that is coming from outside the region. From a digital perspective, Europe is open and it's growing quickly."
Stripe appears to be growing as quickly as the continent's fastest big startups. The company won't talk about its revenue or profit ("We've no intention or obligation to do that right now," says O'Mara).
But its demonstrable spread across the internet's infrastructure makes it one of Silicon Valley's most talked-about firms.
It is inside the code of thousands of major online organisations, taking a cut from billions of online transactions each year.
"We're growing at massive scale, now processing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions every year with millions of customers," she says. "I think that gives you an indication of the scale that we're operating at."
And this, O'Mara says, is only scratching the surface.
"Less than 8pc of commerce is done online at the moment," she says. "So in terms of the long-term view, from my perspective, when I look in Europe, we're still at chapter one. That's why we're investing here."
This is O'Mara's first interview since being appointed to the new top European role.
She's keen to talk about the importance of the Dublin office, how it incorporates a range of different functions, and how it is a definitive statement on just how much faith the founders have in Ireland's capability as a tech hub.
But she also knows that Stripe faces intense scrutiny, perhaps even more in Ireland than in Silicon Valley.
There is scarcely a reader of this newspaper who is unaware that its founders are the young Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison, arguably Ireland's most successful ever industrial exports.
Even though the firm is still privately held, with around $1.3bn (€1.2bn) in funding, its most recent valuation pegged it at $35bn.
In practical terms, that makes it far too big for all but a tiny handful of giant corporations to consider acquiring, even if the Collisons were minded to sell (they have consistently said they are not).
Consequently, it's a Wall Street favourite for a giant IPO some time in the next two years.
O'Mara's appointment at Stripe is, she says, reflective of the company's ambition. Eight of the 10 new supported countries announced in the last year are European. Most are powered, to some degree, by Stripe's biggest office outside San Francisco: Dublin. And O'Mara's job is to make Dublin bigger.
That looks set to happen soon. With around 320 people now in the office, Dublin will likely have a lead role in some of the expansions pegged for this year. That includes supporting Stripe's credit card (Stripe Card) and its small business lending service (Stripe Capital), if and when they are launched into Europe some time this year. "That is the importance of the engineering hub that we have built here in Europe, in Dublin," she says. "We're accelerating. We're developing products here."
Coming from Salesforce and Oracle before that, O'Mara has joined Stripe at a pivotal time in more ways than one. There's a new dynamic between tech companies and cities.
Tech firms are now the biggest, richest, most powerful employers in Dublin. Their influence here is getting closer to that in the biggest US tech hubs of San Francisco and Seattle. That brings with it a new set of considerations.
O'Mara is a 20-year veteran of the area known as the Silicon Docks. She points out that Stripe's office is less than a kilometre from the apartment she bought in 2000 when working for Samir Naji's Horizon Technology Group, itself just around the corner.
"That was before it all happened," she says. "There was nothing here. It's hard to believe it now, but this was a tough place. You had to make sure your car was well locked at night."
Not anymore. Today, it is Ireland's richest industrial zone. The average area salary is €125,000.
While O'Mara focuses on building Stripe's Irish headquarters into an engineering powerhouse serving half the western world, she is aware of the emerging complicated relationship between tech companies and civic infrastructural planning.
High rents caused largely by the Elysian Fields of inner city tech campuses are now one of the defining issues in Dublin, as in other cities.
For all the openness and multiculturalism these workforces typically bring, tougher access to housing - and an apparent failure by authorities to plan correctly for this - is weighing on tech companies like Stripe. "I do think sometimes about what kind of community is being created around us," she says. "In some ways, it's not as diverse as it was 20 years ago. I think there are implications for society and for the city around that."
It's a theme that Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison has paid a lot of attention to in California, a place where housing divisions are reaching dystopian levels.
On a recent visit here, Google CEO Sundar Pichai went so far as to tell this reporter that the company would consider subsidised housing in Dublin, reflecting some of what the biggest tech firms are doing in San Francisco and Seattle.
But while the situation here risks becoming "stark", O'Mara says it's not as simple as tech firms becoming infrastructure providers, or being a negative overall influence.
"I have a balanced view," she says. "Dublin is vibrant, growing and welcoming. Irish people can now have a really good career here. And we're very open to diverse talent coming into the city. I'm an example of someone who might have had to go some place else to build a career if it wasn't for all of this."
There are lots of considerations, she says, from residential "low-rise and high-rise" planning debates, to "subsidised communities" and figuring out where the intersection is between industry and the Government.
"It's not just the tech companies. I think it's broader. We probably need a private and public partnership approach because there is an overall joint responsibility. We need to ensure we're creating ecosystems that benefit local communities as well as tech companies. There probably hasn't been enough progress on it."
"But it's something Patrick [Collison] has been very passionate about. Apart from anything else, we think about the experience we want people to have when hiring, and retaining and motivating key talent, diverse talent. We need to ensure that they can find a place to live and to commute."
While referencing the "talent war" that is universally acknowledged, she observes that Stripe in Dublin hasn't had it as bad as some other firms.
This, she believes, is partially because of Stripe's high growth and profile, and partially because of the influence and reputation of the Collisons.
"In general, I'd say that it's hard in Dublin to recruit at the moment because there's a lot of demand and there's a lot of opportunity," she says.
"But honestly, there's a lot of interest in Stripe. We're lucky to get a very decent volume of really high-quality candidates. They know about the company and are interested."
They also know much of what Stripe executives say and even what might remain unsaid.
"Less than 8pc of commerce happens online," said John Collison in September, when he announced the most recent fundraising round of $250m. "We're investing now to build the infrastructure that'll power internet commerce in 2030 and beyond. If we get it right, we can help the internet fulfil its potential as an engine for global economic progress."
That's not a bad pitch for ambitious developers. Equally interesting is the prospect that Stripe may be entering the latter stages of its privately-funded existence. (Venture capitalists rarely wait beyond a decade to seek a return on their money, one way or the other.)
That may mean an attractive equity roadmap. While many talented developers aren't motivated by such issues, it doesn't hurt either.
"I would say we're really optimistic," says O'Mara. "We're continuing to grow at scale within the region and specifically here out of Dublin. We're super-bullish about Europe, not only for Stripe but for the innovation that's coming through."
Revenue and growth lead EMEA at Stripe
Blackrock, Co Dublin
BComm from NUI Galway and an HDip in marketing
Salesforce: SVP international marketing sales APAC; SVP, sales EMEA
Two teenage sons, Matthew (17) and Jude (15), husband Kieran and dog Tilly
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Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine by Hannah Fry
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