Twitter? Maybe he just got lucky. Square, the way to pay with your phone? Others may beat him to it. Square, the way to turn the rest of us into merchantpreneurs? Mr Dorsey may yet live to rule our world.
The Bill Gates dream? “information at your fingertips”. Google’s? Find everything publicly available. Facebook’s? Find out what everyone says they just did. Jack Dorsey wants all of reality in our pocket, in real time.
I have never seen anything from Square except in the videos below. But there’s something intangible that I’m getting from his particular ambitions that gives me the unshakeable conviction that any shortcomings of his current offerings will completely wrong-foot his more established competitors. The interview feels like going back in a time machine and listening to the guy who, despite a shaky start, will eventually turn everything upside down (and I’m not talking about Twitter).
FaceBook‘s edge over Google is ‘real identity’. You know who is saying what. But you still don’t know if ‘what’ (they’re saying) is real. What Jack is interested in is capturing more reality than FaceBook.
The elective nature of ‘location based apps’ has shown that the kind of pervasiveness which FaceBook gets is just not happening in mobile. There is no location-based app whose breadth of uptake promises anything even remotely resembling the comprehensiveness of insight into real time activity that FaceBook gives into real identity.
This is the goal that Jack sets himself. If I sit on both sides of the payment and merchant transaction, I will nail infinitely more of reality down than FaceBook ever could.
Sigmund Zuckerberg patiently listens to you saying whatever you want to say about whatever you’ve been doing. B.F. Dorsey tirelessly watches everything you do as you skitter through life’s maze, one real-time transaction after another. Which of these two virtually omnipresent virtual omniscients knows the most about what’s really going on in people’s lives out there?
You might not care. Jack says he does, and I believe him, because he seems to be even more compelled by the desire to find out what’s really going in the world this second than he is about how to make money out of it. Not because he won’t be making money out of it.
Just to prove we put ‘finding new stuff’ ahead of being swept away by some highly persuasive advocate giving a great interview, here are a couple of merciless parody videos of Square.
Here’s a video from Square:
Here’s a live third party demo of Square Card Case and Square Register
Here’s a live demo of Google Wallet
Here’s a press release about a new Juniper Research report:
NFC Mobile Payments to Drive Contactless Transactions to Reach Nearly $50 billion Worldwide by 2014
Orange and Barclaycard Contactless Mobile Payments