Under normal circumstances, Jack Dorsey’s resume might be considered one that many would be happy to have achieved in a whole lifetime. His first enterprise, Twitter, is on the verge of going public with its IPO, which will place the social network on the stock market at an estimated valuation of over $10 billion.
His other business, mobile payments company Square, has landed over $340 million in venture capital and processes nearly $15 million annually in credit card transactions.
But Dorsey is no “normal” entrepreneur, and his expectations, as such, aren’t either. It’s a mentality that is evident once he begins discussing the current status of his companies and how far they have to go.
“We don’t feel we’re at even 1 percent of our potential with either company,” he told Peter Delevett of the Seattle Times.
In considering Dorsey's opinion of where his enterprises are, it’s hard to imagine what plausible marks he has set for them. After all, if the tripling of transactions on Square in the past 18 months and the estimated 200 million users on Twitter are signs of companies that have yet to fulfill a mere hundredth of their potential, then the question becomes obvious: How far, exactly, does Dorsey expect them to go?
But if confusion is the feeling that follows, it's likely because Dorsey is doing the dirty work while everyone else is on the outside looking in, the 36-year-old says.
“If you’re climbing on the mountain, it doesn’t look that massive to you,” he told Delevett.
Listening to Jack Dorsey speak about his entrepreneurial interests isn't all about head-scratching, though. All it takes is for him to explain how his goals go far beyond what the eye can see for observers to truly understand the massive size of Dorsey's metaphorical mountain.
"We don't want this to just be about payments, we don't want it to be about transactions," the St. Louis native told CNN's Maggie Lake in regards to Square's mission. Those are all mechanical things that should be so intuitive that they disappear."
The CEO's message is clear. He wants Square to be more about the service it provides. The purpose of the device, he says, is all about affording small business the opportunity to focus on selling and growing. Any individual, for example, began selling their services right way without having any traditionally formal setup (cash register, etc.) and can thus focus on growing instead of being held back, Dorsey explains.
That, the knock-on effects of creating and perfecting a product like Square, is the big picture that Dorsey focuses on, adding, "a lot of folks are looking at parts of the equation and Square is looking at the entire thing."
While the most cynical of people might think that the entrepreneur is indulging in too much romanticism when it comes talking about his company's aims -- they might argue that , after all, running businesses always comes down to just the bottom line, making money -- Dorsey says it's in the nature of those who are in the tech world to think about the way in which products touch people because that's what advancing technology is all about.
"What I think is great about technology, and every technology that exists, [is that] it increases the number of people who can participate, in our case commerce," Dorsey told Lake. "And, it increases the velocity that they can participate."
So, as Twitter continues, amongst other things, to provide a platform for more organization and social movements to broaden its reach and as Square continues to provide opportunities for the most modest of entrepreneurs to grow, from the student barber in college dorms to the family throwing the garage sale down the street, the beneficiaries of those services can bank on one thing.
Jack Dorsey will be expecting to deliver more of the same in better and faster ways as he leads the way forward with his companies looking to fulfill the "other" 99% of their potential.
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