Garlinghouse joins Ripple Labs as it hits around 100 employees, which is when startups typically bring in experienced executives to help spur growth. Garlinghouse oversaw the rebranding of file-sharing service Hightail, which he left in September last year.
“As much as anything, it’s about execution,” he said. “Hightail is going through a shift that’s different than Ripple for sure because Ripple’s in such a high-growth position. The number of startups in this space, doing different things, are profound. We need to focus on the narrow set of customers in the area we are trying to win.”
The opportunity for Ripple Labs, Garlinghouse said, in the near term is to revamp the way money is transferred over the Internet. But the way the company thinks about it is in terms of transferring other forms of value, whether it’s cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or whatever that looks like in the future.
“My honest answer is this is a new category for me — I haven’t worked in [the financial tech] space,” he said. “I think any time a leader is joining a new company, almost always the right strategy is to listen and learn, and for me the next 30 days for sure will be that, maybe even 60 days. These people who are truly kind of geniuses in their field, ranging from cryptography to open source systems, and I’ve got a lot to learn.”