June 29, 2010|
Last Friday I was fortunate to spend 30 minutes talking with Jack Dorsey, who in addition to co-founding Twitter recently launched a product & service called Square. As an electronic device, Square is a mobile credit card reader that plugs into the audio port of compatible smart phones and laptops. As a service, Square is a downloadable application that verifies sellers and provides buyers a measure of security about the transaction itself. From small businesses to political campaigns, the potential applications for Square are virtually unlimited.
A few highlights and then the interview after the jump. Also strongly recommended: Friday Coffee with Square on Ustream
- Why we were better off without Twitter on September 11th 2001: “One thing I was really inspired by after 9/11, especially in NYC is how people gathered and really sought each other out face to face…. My concern with relying on the technology would be that it would potentially abstract some of that humanness, and make it a little bit easier not to go out in the streets and not to go out meet your neighbors and really support each other.”
- What Wired.com Got Wrong: No PayPal v. Square Deathmatch: “We want to be completely payment network agnostic, so if you're really comfortable using PayPal and you want to pay (or receive) with it… but you still want the Square front end experience, that is something we would be interested in implementing and maintaining."
- Top Politicos on Twitter: Barham Salih, Cory Booker, Mike Bloomberg, Francis Slay.
- Why ‘Social Media Experts’ using Auto-Follow Services Have No Souls: While Jack was more diplomatic in his phrasing, if you're doing something against the "fundamental spirit of the technology,” for me, that is red flag. That is not to say paid advertising of an organizations account is a bad idea, but the whole idea of paying for followers / friends is somewhat repugnant: “I think any sort of automation or any sort of aspect like that really takes away from the spirit of the technology which is to really share what you think, what your experiencing, what is happening around you. I think there is a lot of people in the social media space that are trying to consult against that, and I am fully supportive or that.”
- Advice for Entrepreneurs: Communicate, Build Something People Need: In response to a question about production delays and software issues, Jack said his biggest challenge since starting Square has been: “Communicating in the right way what is actually out there today, what works and what still needs some work” In regards to supply problems with Square, I asked Jack if he had considered domestic supplies “The only reason we picked China is because we could not find anyone in the U.S. to do it…”