Jack Dorsey talks Square design with Om Malik

Jack Dorsey talks Square design with Om Malik

By design, Jack Dorsey didn’t talk about the upcoming Twitter IPO at GigaOM’s 2013 Roadmap today, but he did talk a lot about designing his new company Square to succeed -- as a user experience, as a company, and as a means for helping businesses using Square to succeed too. Here’s some highlights from his interview with Om Malik:

Designing Square’s User Experience

“Our mission at Square is to make payments easy,” said Dorsey -- including Square receipts, which come with maps and photos. He and his team are focused on designing the feeling of the Square transaction and the experience, so it feels fluid. By contrast, Dorsey notes, “Credit cards don’t have best experience built around them,” creating a lot of nervousness and discomfort around their use. Square’s goal is create a payment experience that’s “a lot more tangible”.

Designing Square to Serve Small Business

“55% of our economy is small business… if [small business people] can focus on the truly meaningful things, they can move faster.” At the same time, Dorsey adds, offline commerce still accounts for 90% of the total economy. This is the market Square is pursuing, not just by making a payment process for small business people, but by showing them the details behind that process. “A lot of people in our industry only see [payment] amounts,” says Dorsey. By contrast, Square uses analytics to show small business people which of their products are being bought and when, and how changing the shopping experience for their customers changes the course of the company.

Designing Square to Get Funding -- and to Compete for the Long Run

Om notes that Square faces a lot of competition, but Dorsey expresses no concern: “If you’re reacting to someone else, you’re doing someone else’s roadmap… we have to have the confidence and conviction of our roadmap.” After all, Dorsey had to design his company to get venture funding after Twitter:  “‘Your previous business was about microblogging, people talking about what they had for breakfast,’ venture capitalists would ask him, ‘what makes you think you can do finance?’” To address this question directly, Dorsey added a point in his pitches to VCs, where he listed 140 reasons why Square would fail. That way, only investors with the confidence that Dorsey and team could meet and rise above those challenges would partner with them.

“You really have a thing for 140 characters,” said Om, laughing.