Becoming Jack Dorsey..How and Why You Should
By Shlomo Maital
Jack Dorsey, born in St. Louis, is 36 years old. He is the founder of Twitter, which has changed the way the world communicates. How? Here is his story, as told to the CBS program 60 Minutes.
As a child, Dorsey had a speech impediment and partly as a result was extremely shy. He found solace in computers, and taught himself to program before he was 12. He dreamed of working in New York City and got a job with a package delivery firm there by hacking their website, then offering to show them how to fix it.
In St. Louis, he amused himself by listening to 911 emergency dispatchers on a police frequency scanner. He noticed that all their messages were very short. Who am I. Where am I. What am I doing. Where am I going. Seven years ago, he launched Twitter on that basis — simple, short messages. So that everyone in the world “who owns a $5 cell phone could communicate with the world” – how I feel, what I’m doing, where I’m going.
Dorsey understands that technology should disappear. It should be so simple for users that they are unaware of it. This principle is usually forgotten – look at how complex it is, for instance, to set up a home router – something I’ve been struggling with. He was awarded by the Wall St. Journal the “Technology Inventor of the Year” award.
Dorsey was kicked out of Twitter by other founders and the Board of Directors. He calls it “a punch in the gut”. Like Jobs, also kicked out of Apple, later, he was invited back. He says he does not bear a grudge. Meanwhile he has founded another pathbreaking company that is changing the world, called Square. Plug a dongle (white square) into the earphone plug, and you have a way to start a business and accept payment. The idea came from his friend Jim McAlvy, a nerd and artist, who lost a sale of a piece of art because he could not accept a credit card. Square is now used by many small businesses and has $12 b. turnover yearly. When you enter, say, a café, the iPad of the owner identifies you instantly (through GPS), your face appears on the screen, and two touches charges you for the coffee and sends you a receipt. Simple. Transparent. Easy.
Dorsey is highly self aware. He knows his faults. Here is how he describes them: “I like to think about things myself. And then.come out with a decision. I can be silent at times, this unsettles people. Biggest thing I’ve learned, I need to communicate more, be more vocal.”
At Square, he has no office or even a desk. Everything is on his iPad. He walks around and constantly talks to the workers.
He is now considering running for Mayor of New York, to replace Michael Bloomberg, who will soon complete his final term of office.
If I could, I’d vote for him.
Why should we become like Jack Dorsey? And how? Honesty. Transparency. Simplicity. Self-awareness. And modesty. And superb marshaling of creativity to tackle unmet social needs. One person can indeed change the world, hugely – and more than once.