The desire to innovate is the key motivator for Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and CEO of new San Francisco-based venture Square.
The famously shy billionaire spends his time thinking about how to do the things we do better and more easily and shepherding the process to market.
“My role in all this is to build technologies that allow people to participate in the economy and is limited only by their ambition. Some folks use it to build their business; some to talk to people,” he said of Square, which is helping thousands of small business people go digital.
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“We’ve always operated with the idea, we’re going to build what we want to see in the work, what we want to use in the work,” he said in an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange.
“It’s more a mythology of this should exist. What is it going to take to actually get it? We put it in place and then we tweak it.”
Dorsey brought Square, a device that allows everyone from taxi drivers to photographers to accept credit card payments via a smartphone or tablet, to Canada about a year ago.
He said its growth has been “awesome” with more than $100-million in transactions so far.
But his real excitement is reserved for the engineering hub he’s set up in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., where designers are working on Square Cash, an method Square has launched in the U.S. that allows people to send money via email.
“The engineering experience and talent we find in Waterloo is the best of the best,” he said.
“The spirit of innovation and the skill level it takes to make that happen is still very much in place in this country.”
Dorsey remains attached to his first big internet innovation – Twitter, which goes public in an IPO later this year.
“It’s the first thing I wake up to and I check everything that's happening. For me to be able to take my phone out and see the world, not just what’s happening globally, but everything that’s happening around me socially. I can see what’s building in Toronto, What are people talking about in Waterloo or Vancouver.”
Twitter means that anyone on the planet with $5 software can participate in a global conversation, says Dorsey, who is chairman of the company, but not involved in day-to-day operations.
Twitter line of credit
In a new filing with the U.S. SEC on Wednesday, Twitter has revealed it has secured a $1 billion credit line from the companies underwriting its listing for financial flexibility. The company is also looking to raise $1 billion in its IPO.
Since Twitter announced it would go public, tech analysts have been wondering whether the IPO could be what the company needs to restart growth.
In the first half of 2013, Twitter had a net loss of $69.3 million up 41 per cent.
But last month it bought MoPub, an advertising technology company focused on the mobile market, for $300 million. Mobile ads are believed to be key in its growth strategy.
In its filing, Twitter disclosed that MoPub reported $6.5 million in revenue for the six months ended June 30, triple the revenue it reported for 2012.
As for Dorsey, he has his eye on the next thing.
“The part I have to play in this is to make sure we’re constantly thinking about the next iterations, the intersections of technology coming up that will make that more valuable and accessible.”