On Tuesday evening Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey attended a fundraising reception for Missouri Congressional Candidate Tommy Sowers to officially debut his latest invention, Square which currently allows anyone with an Iphone, Android or laptop to send or accept payments for just about anything. Mobile credit card readers are not new. However what sets Square apart from the competition is:


  1. Compact size- About the size of your thumb, or 1.5” long, 1” deep and 3.5” tall   
  2. Electronic Receipts with Location. After a purchase you immediately get an email receipt for what you bought and where you bought it.
  3. Square is free. No additional hardware, applications or monthly service fees.
  4. Low transaction cost. Square charges 2.75% + 15¢ for swiped transactions. (Paypal is 2.9% +.30 cents for transactions under $3,000.)

In terms of Jack’s inspiration for Square, (as well as Twitter) I highly recommend watching his June 2nd speech to the 99% Conference . A few highlights:

  • “Payments, and the exchange of money is inherently social, it is another form of communication- So why isn’t it designed and treated as such. That was one of the reasons we started Square.”
  • The financial crisis created the opening for Square: “The situation allowed us to quickly seek out all the people we needed to talk to, at the banks, at the government, the card brands.  Everyone in the financial world was suddenly in survival mode, looking for innovation, looking for new things, looking for new business models.”
  • “90% of the country paying with plastic card of some sort, but only 2% of the country can accept payments with those cards. So what if we turn on the other side, what happens and what does that interface look like”
  • For Twitter: The @ symbol, ‘RT’ for re-tweets, # for hash tags and even the word ‘tweet’ were developed by the Twitter community, and initially resisted by Twitter.

In terms of the politics of the event, although announcing and presenting Square at last week’s Personal Democracy Forum would have been a larger, bi-partisan audience, when I asked Jack why he chose the Sowers event, his reply was essentially that while the Sowers fundraiser was a partisan event, that Square as a device and Twitter as a platform are available to the same degree to all sides equally. Secondly and more importantly though, he was impressed with the Sower’s campaign utilization of social media tools and that they were the first ones to reach out and ask for his help on the event. Also, being from St. Louis, he has a personal interest in Missouri’s representation. Furthermore,  not only does just about every senior staffer on the Sowers campaign maintain and use Twitter accounts , as far as I can recall I have never seen a political email written in Twitter speak that explicitly asks the reader:

Even if you can't make it, can you help make noise about this on twitter?  We want all of DC talking about this for weeks to come.

If you could tweet something like: "Please RT: @sowers and @jack at #sqdc TONIGHT, this is not an event to miss! http://bt.io/FN4u"

Be sure to use the event hashtag #sqdc.

More pictures bellow the jump:

square2 We just got our Squares at the @sowers @jack #sqdc event!