Jack Dorsey recently offered a look at the early days of Square, but today at the Techonomy Detroit conference, he was asked about the company’s future — specifically what Square will look like in five years.
Dorsey didn’t get too specific in his answer, but he did talk broadly about his goals. He offered an ambitious vision (albeit one that anyone who’s been following the company is probably familiar with): rethinking payments and money, which have been around for thousands of years, and taking the “mechanical burden out of the process.”
At the same time, Square’s plans go beyond payment processing (something that you can already see in newer versions of the product). Through payment processing, Dorsey said Square starts functioning like web analytics for smaller businesses. For example, if you’re a mom-and-pop store in Detroit, it’s hard to track how many cappuccinos you’ve sold in a given day unless you count the number of cappucino cups coming out of the dishwasher.
“Meanwhile, a company like Starbucks knows what’s being bought and sold, knows what the weather does to their day,” Dorsey said.
Square also has data about a consumer’s credit card purchases, so it might eventually provide similar analytics around personal finances (as others have suggested in the past). Dorsey said there’s a lot of “unhealthy” behavior around personal spending and debt, and that’s “purely because of lack of data. It’s criminal.” It’s not clear how he wants to change that, but it sounds like Dorsey thinks Square has a role to play in fixing things.
Earlier in the interview, Dorsey offered another thought on how he’d like to see Square change — a change that may be less relevant to customers, but seemed appropriate given the conference’s theme of American competitiveness. Dorsey said the company’s card readers are currently designed in California but manufactured in China and Mexico. He added, “We do have a goal to make them entirely in the United States.”
I wrote a separate post covering Dorsey’s explanation as to why he takes the bus to work every day.