DETROIT—Fortune magazine calls Jack Dorsey "The Pride of St. Louis" in its latest issue, and no wonder: the Twitter and Square co-founder is riding high thanks to an initial public offering in the works for his former company and tremendous growth for his latest.
That kind of serial success at just age 36 has journalists like David Kirkpatrick calling him the most likely entrepreneur to pick up the mantle of disruptive innovation left by the late Apple founder Steven Jobs. (Kirkpatrick also cited Tesla CEO Elon Musk a worthy heir.)
At Kirkpatrick's Techonomy Detroit conference, held here last week at Wayne State University, Dorsey dropped by to co-moderate a panel discussion between small businesses from the region. In between their stories—the panel included the publisher of the progressive weekly newspaper Michigan Citizen, the founder of area ice cream purveyor Treat Dreams, and the founder of local tech startup community GrowDetroit—Dorsey dropped a few nuggets of wisdom.
On user experience:
The most important thing that we want to do with our mission, building our services and the software, is finding ways to develop products that are so intuitive and so easy that they actually give time back to the entrepreneurs that are using them to focus on what's more meaningful.
We want to build software that you understand how to use when you open it up. If you can make technology fade away, you can give time back to the sellers to focus on building their business.
On the news business:
Technology like Twitter puts a spotlight on these atomic units of really great content.
That [Fourth Estate] narrative will never go away; it's important to democracy. We need to figure out the models of revenue that will sustain that.
It's the responsibility of every entrepreneur to play with new things. It gives you new ideas & might change the course of your business.
The one job of technology is to connect more people. It allows more people to participate and it enables them to participate faster.
The thing that always impresses me about entrepreneurs is that they do things for themselves. They want to see something exist in this world, and they build it. They fight like hell to get it out there, for whatever they believe. They're making a bet with the world and themselves that it resonates with people.
"That bet changes every single day," Dorsey added. "Sometimes we lose that bet."