September 14, 2010
Live Interview with Twitter Co-Founder Jack DorseyMatt Marshall interviewed Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on the DEMO Conference stage this afternoon in Santa Clara. Jack says of Twitter, "it still has a long way to go, but we built it initially because I wanted to use Twitter every day, I wanted my friends and family to use it everyday. You build things that you want to see in the world. Square (his new gig which is in closed beta) was built out of the same notion."
Matt asks Jack about Square, where it currently is and how it will be used. "Twitter had this problem of being so abstract early on and no one knew how or why to use it. Square is similar, which started in February 2009. We've been working in a pilot."
Jack says with conviction, "we want to make sure Square is known for its reliability as a payment network. We want to pace out the growth and get a lot of things right. We've been bringing more and more people into this pilot, to start processing cards, start taking payments over Square and currently we're able to produce 10,000 readers to anyone who wants them. We keep fulfilling the readers to anyone who has signed up for Square, very similar to what Google did with Gmail."
"That doesn't sound too limited?" asks Matt. Jack, who doesn't want to talk about 'specific numbers, says, "we want to pace this out. We're on the risk for frauds that come in and while we haven't had any issues yet, we want to make sure that as we roll this out to millions of people, this will scale. We want every transaction, both from the merchant's and payer's standpoint, to be magical and to feel great."
He returns to things he learned from launching Twitter and early days which apparently is hard to manage from an engineering perspective. "There's a massive spike for an event and then it goes back to normal," says Jack.
"One of the things I learned from the early days of Twitter," he says, "while we were building a company based around transparency and open communication, in the beginning, we weren't telling users why and when the system went down. Here they were spending hours on Twitter but we weren't letting them into the conversation.
When we learned that and realized what we were doing, we started to have more outreach about what we were doing and our problems. Once we did that, we attracted a lot of new engineers, great tips and advice and our users were inspired by that communication. The issue was that we had no instrumentation, no data, no analytics about what was happening. We were pretty much flying blind."
He adds, "my biggest fear for Twitter, for Square and for any company, is to cohesively move together, forward as one unit." Jack says he's a force for transparency and he wants Square to be instrumental in opening up transparency more and more, particularly with credit card payments.
Jack is a big fan of keeping a journal, you can really see your progress once its written down and you can see trends over time. On big ideas and coming up with big ideas, "it's really about capitalizing on an opportunity and knowing how to tap into - it's not about being lucky. It's also about getting the ideas out of your head. Once they stay in your head, you come up with every excuse not to do it, not to make it happen."
Below is the full interview on video: Parts I and II
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