Since I can remember I've always been exceptionally curious. This trait hasn't waned at all as an adult, and as a founder, I'm incredibly curious about what other founders did to built their team, product, and business. Lately I've become fascinated by Jack Dorsey and started to learn more about his journey with both Twitter and Square.
I'm still early on this journey but I'm trying to really be well-rounded in my approach. What I mean by this is that I'm not just trying to understand how he came up with the idea for Twitter, or raised money for it initially, I'm trying to understand him as a person, his motivations, his habits, and what makes him unique - because he is very unique.
YouTube is always a great resource when it comes to going back in time and doing research. I found an interesting talk Jack gave at UC Berkeley 10 years ago. Before I go on, here's the talk if you want to watch it yourself:
An interesting nugget from this talk is how Jack talks about his motivation for both Twitter and Square, which are dissimilar in just about every way. Twitter was actually originally inspired by Jack's passion for taxi dispatch, which was actually his first startup, although I don't think too many people know about that one.
Most people think of startups as being created to solve a problem, which certainly makes sense. In the case of Twitter, Jack says both during his talk and in the Q&A that he didn't really create Twitter to solve a problem, it was more something him, Evan, and Biz built because they wanted to use it themselves.
Square on the other hand was different - it was built to solve a clear (and big) problem - stores accepting credit cards. The trajectory of these companies were very different, likely because of the motivation behind each. Twitter gained users quickly, but not revenue, Square grew revenue like a rocket ship.
To better understand Square, and to also learn more about Jack through the eyes of his co-founder Jim McKelvey, I started reading The Innovation Stack.
(And note - since I don't want to make money off of my blog, you won't find any affiliate links, or links at all to the book, but safe to say you can easily search for it and find it)
This book has been fascinating so far, both in getting more of a perspective on Jack and some of the very formative years in his life, along with learning about other businesses that really pushed to do something new and different, and that like Square, made a real impact in the world.
I think this is what I find so fascinating about Jack - the two main businesses he built are ones that changed the world. While there are plenty of amazing founders our there, many build companies that solve a problem, make money, and likely gives them and their team millions of dollars - but don't change the world in any noticeable way.
Take Ghost, the company that runs this blogging service. I think they rock - they make an incredibly cool product, I like it more than any other blogging platform. The founders and team behind Ghost will probably make good money on an exit, but this isn't changing the world IMHO. I don't mean this in a negative way at all, it's still a great product and the founders and team should be incredibly proud of what they've built.
But for me, I'm very interested in building companies that change the world, and therefore interested in founders who have built companies that change the world. Jack has some real magic that has given him two vectors to change the world, and while you might have your own opinions about Twitter these days (X as it's now called), you can't argue that it has absolutely changed the world.
I'm only about a week into my journey here, but it has been fascinating so far, and as I continue to learn, I'll share nuggets with all of you. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and please feel free to drop me an email anytime to let me know how you like (or don't like) the new direction for my blog, you can always reach me at morgan(at)morganlinton.com.
Until next time.