Knowing Jack: Square Solutions to Dorsey’s Twitter Problem?

Mobile payment is huge in the food truck business, and Square is a huge player not only in mobile payment, but in point-of-sales in general.  It was co-founded a 7 years ago by CEO Jack Dorsey.

If you’ve wrapped your truck in the last few years, you probably have a Twitter icon on it somewhere, maybe even some hashtags.  Twitter was co-founded 10 years ago by CEO Jack Dorsey.

Square and Twitter have absolutely no formal connection.  One isn’t a subsidiary of the other, nor are they divisions of a shared corporate parent.  Jack Dorsey is the CEO of both. He runs two completely separate publicly traded San Fransisco tech firms.

One is doing very, very well.  The other is Twitter.

This is the fascinating story of Dorsey’s return to Twitter, and something of an expose on the company’s internal struggles. It’s also a good read for any entrepreneur, and that includes all food truckers.

Writer Nick Bilton notes that Twitter suffers from identity issues.  What kind of tech firm is it, really? Does it specialize in something?  Does it specialize in anything?  To use a foodservice metaphor, does it have a focus, like Dorsey’s favorite taco trucks do, or is it Silicon Valley’s ultimate grab-joint?

Twitter’s feed is kind of clunky, and engagement is easy in theory but also hard-won. Food truckers benefit, of course, from the standard “here’s a picture of what I’m eating for lunch” way of using the service, but even there, Instagram is, well…eating Twitter’s lunch. It might be more accurate to say it’s eating Twitter.  Other competitors are doing the same in other areas.

Then there’s Square.  That’s a service I use everyday.  So do hundreds of thousands of other small business owners.  We don’t always have time for even the most intuitive and gratifying social platforms, but we need to process credit cards efficiently and often on-the-go.  We must use Square or something like it.  We should and do use social, but when we do, Twitter if often an afterthought. It’s hard to crack. It can be rewarding, and it’s often fun. But it’s also work.  Work is time. Time is money. Square facilitates the flow of money, and that’s why Square prints money.

That’s what Twitter needs to crack.  It’s not an essential tool.  Neither are most other forms of social, but platforms like Facebook and Instagram seem to scratch our more persistance social itches.

I like Twitter, but very few of my IRL friends are even on it.  On the business side, I use other means to schedule my tweets, track my interactions, and build my audience.

What do others think?



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