3 STEPS TO KNOWING JACK: What does a 33 year old do after building a company to $3 billion in 4 years? Start over again and get to $3 billion in 2 years… That’s what Jack Dorsey has just done.
Step 1: Follow your passion?
What was Jack’s passion when he was 13 years old? Designing dispatch routes for his friends on bikes, that’s what. Then he did it for taxi companies. Jack then tried his hand in botanical illustration and as a massage therapist, but kept coming back for his love of dispatch routes. Eventually, he had the idea of a ‘group dispatch’ for instant messaging. He convinced the founder of Blogger, Ev Williams, to back the idea, and in 2006 at the ripe age of 29 he launched Twitter.
To begin with, many people thought Twitter was a dumb idea. But it began to catch on and by 2010, just 4 years later, Twitter was hitting 50 million tweets per day, and was valued at $3.7 billion. What did Jack do then? He did it again…
Step 2: Do it again!
Jack was now 33 years old. So he wondered how he could top Twitter, and came up with the answer: Squirrel! Why not do for mobile payments what he had done for mobile media? On the night Jack decided to start his new business – using iphones to swipe payments – he saw a squirrel run across the hood of his car and he thought of squirrelling money away. His new company, Squirrel, was born.
Step 3: Keep it SIMPLE
Undeterred by another payment company that had already captured the prized ‘Squirrel’ name, his team looked through the dictionary and found another name close enough: ‘Square’. Jack launched his first ‘square’ iphone swipe in May 2010, catching the mobile payment wave. The company grew rapidly on the principle of doing one thing well – the easiest way to take payments with a mobile phone. As Jack says ‘“We don’t want to add things—we take things away to make them more simple.’
Jack’s small square is now swiping $700 million in payments each month. Last month, Square announced a partnership with Starbucks, which is rolling out their mobile payment system across their stores. This week, Starbucks and a group of investors have invested $200 million into 35-year-old Jack’s 2-year-old company at a $3.2 billion valuation.
Does this mean, if you follow these three steps, you’ll hit the Jack pot like Jack did? Of course not. There’s more to it than that (As Jack says, “It’s really complex to make something simple.”)
But the point is, he didn’t get there by doing the opposite – the three things many think they need to do to achieve financial success: ignoring their passion, trying things once, and making things really complicated.
3 Steps to Knowing Jack: Follow your passion, do it again, and keep it simple.
You may not get to $3 billion (and then again you may) but to follow these three steps is to put you on the same path as Jack, jack pot or not.