“… I wanted to be Bruce Lee. I wanted to be a sailor. I wanted to be a tailor. I wanted to craft products and share with others.”
Speaking today at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Jack Dorsey took the audience through how he arrived at being where he is today. It’s a message about being open to future, change and evolution, and changing perceptions.
And it’s also a good sign of how we may not necessarily be able to predict what might come next from him, or the two companies that he helps oversees, the mobile payments service Square and social networking platform Twitter.
“I wanted to be an artist, specifically a surrealist. Because they open your eyes to see the world a different way,” he told the audience.
He noted that people’s idea of Twitter’s founding moment may not be the one everyone assumes: “Everyone think Ev, Biz and I were the founders of a company. But products exist over time and have many founding moments,” he said.
Dorsey, along with Noah Glass and Biz Stone, first founded Obvious Corp. in 2006, spinning off Twitter some time later. First as CEO, then as chairman, and then executive chairman of the company — as well as his other day-job as CEO of Square — Dorsey is one of the more product-focused executives in the tech industry today.
In the six years that Twitter has been around it’s gone from disruptive startup to central player in the technology industry, but it still has a long way to go still in terms of what it can do. The company has been making some significant advances on what that might mean commercially and product-wise — to some people’s dissatisfaction, given what that has meant in terms of how Twitter has limited its API access for some third-party developers — but all with a view to building a viable business and improving communication in the process.
But, to paraphrase Ben Horowitz earlier, to succeed as a leader you have to continue to innovate and not be afraid to change.
And that could also mean failure along the way: “Twitter was not started because we had a good idea. It was started out of a failure. And that can happen today,” he noted. “Pick a movement and join it.”