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PayPal Really Does Want to Be Your Pal

Its president is remaking the EBay unit to fend off new rivals
PayPal’s projected 2012 mobile payment volume is $10 billion. After Marcus became president, he raised it from the original estimate of $7 billion
PayPal’s projected 2012 mobile payment volume is $10 billion. After Marcus became president, he raised it from the original estimate of $7 billionPhotograph by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

When David Marcus first addressed EBay’s PayPal unit in April, he showed his 11,000 employees a photo of actor Will Smith holding the memory-erasing Neuralyzer from the film Men in Black.

“What I generally tell people is they need to forget everything they know,” says Marcus, who became PayPal’s president after the company acquired his mobile payments startup, Zong, last year. “People who have been in any type of environment for a little while know too much for their own good. It boxes them in. They know what’s not possible.”