The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration – Jack Dorsey at Stanford


The little one was out on a sleepover & so spent an hour of the free time watching (and noting down points from) the video from Stanford’s Enterprise Corner

It is just beautiful. I urge all to watch it. My notes:

  • First couple of very insightful insights
    • You have to make every single detail perfect and you have to limit the number of details. If you pay attention to the smallest things while knowing what’s important, then everything else takes care of itself
    • Expect the unexpected and whenever possible, be the unexpected.” – marvelous & well said !
    • Apple is a theater company and Jack draws inspiration from Apple’s mode of operation!
      • Apple, I think, is run like a theater company. It has a great sense of pacing, a great sense of story & a great sense of execution. It’s all event-driven .. & stage-driven …
  • Birth Of Twitter :
    • He developed early version of Twitter in early 2000, but shelved it – “Wrong time, good idea, put it on the shelf”.
    • In 2005 tried it again – ” ..was given two weeks and one other programmer in Biz Stone to write the software.
    • “So, that’s how that sort of visualization and early desire to see the world led into Twitter” … And we did it”, and the rest of course is …
  • Origin of Square :
  • Power of a working product:
    • “The thing that really inspires people is a working product. When you’re pitching someone, the best thing you can do is show them something that works.” – Very good point
  • Payment is a form of communication:
    • Focusing on the user experience of money rather than the mechanics of transferring the value
  • Instrument Everything
    • Another good view point – Log, measure and test your infrastructure. They have an inference team focusing on the infrastructure instrumentation
    • “You have to instrument everything. For the first two years of Twitter’s life, we were flying blind. We had no idea what was going on with the network….”
  • Power of Story Telling & User Narratives:
    • Tell the story from a user perspective – like a play. One epic cohesive story, not a chain of short stories – solve a big problem
    • The product features fallout naturally from the user story
  • CEO As Chief Editor of the company’s Story:
    • Everyday the company generates “1000s of things that we could be doing but there’s only one or two that are important. As an editor, [the CEO is] constantly taking all these inputs and deciding on that one or that intersection of a few that makes sense for what we’re doing.”
      1. Editing People in and out
        • “… it’s always minding that team dynamic because at the end of the day, we’re just a group of people working on one single goal. If we can’t step in a cohesive coordinated fashion, then we’re going to trip all over the place…”
      2. Internal & External Communication stories
        • ” If you have that sort of high-level, this is where we’re going, this is the vision, this is the next 30 days … , it makes it very, very easy to set priorities and for all of the edges of the company to set their own priorities to do the right thing …”
      3. Editing the money (Revenue, Investors,…)
  • The Q & A had a few good insights as well.
    • Marketing Strategy
      • ” .. trying to do now is identify the key influencers in those merchant areas and make them distribution points.”
      • “A lot of the way I think about marketing is through the product itself. So, I think the marketing function, the best aspect and the best it can do is surface the product as much as possible.”
      • Understand the product introduction & adoption cycle
        • [They] have about three to five seconds to inspire someone to take action to actually get Square
        • then, [they] have about a week to get them to participate more – that’s by taking in transaction.
        • then, about a month to get them to be users forevermore.
      • Consumer Internet : “The more you can minimize the thinking around the mechanics in the moment, then more people are going to use it, more people are going to feel good about it.”
    • The importance of getting an idea out of one’s head & the cycle it follows -
      • ” … you need to get it out of your head. The reason you have to get it out of your head is you need to be able to see it on a surface that is not in your mind.”
      • ” Once you can see it and once you can step back from it, then you can also decide toshare it with others
      • the idea either gathers momentum
      • or you can decide to shelve it
    • Square is “focused on the payment experience and all the information and all the platform around payments…. . It’s building that cohesive story end to end.”
    • “… I think of Square as a startup with many startups inside of it. That’s how we’re organizing the company internally. We’re going to have a lot of different projects. They’ll be coordinated by this one cohesive unit outside.” – interesting

Giga Om has a good article – Jack Dorsey on Square, How It Works & Why It Disrupts

Another one in Technology Review – The New Money

My Next stop : Software For Data Analysis by Chambers

And after that : Battlestar Gallactica – The Mini Series (relevant especially in light of the new Computer Overlords !)

And a little

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration – Jack Dorsey at Stanford

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