Jack’s Passive-Aggressive Memo To Square

Thought leadership disguised as an internal memo? Most obvious #humblebrag ever? Square co-founder Jack Dorsey has posted an internal company memo to Medium this morning, where he rants writes about how some people at the company were using his name to push through and sell ideas. That is, he explains, it’s the whole “Jack really wants this to happen, Jack thinks this is an amazing idea, Jack said, etc.” thing.

The memo is actually dated September 2012, so it’s not exactly the company’s current dirty laundry, but it’s an odd thing to share right now, given Square’s state of affairs.

The company is in the middle of transitional period which sees it shutting down its consumer-facing Wallet application and launching new products in an effort to expand the business into new areas. So why point back to a time when things where not well in Squaresville? Why not just stay heads down, working?

Writes Dorsey, in a memo dated “Wed, 5 Sep 2012”:


I’ve noticed a funny thing in the company. There’s been a high occurrence of folks using names, mine for instance, to push through an idea. “Jack really wants this to happen, Jack thinks this is an amazing idea, Jack said, etc.”

This is obviously counter to the meritocracy/marketplace of ideas we want to build. Using someone else’s name to sell an idea does two things:

It diminishes your authority.
It diminishes the idea’s merit.

Simply: if you have to use someone else’s name or authority to get a point across, there is little merit to the point (you might not believe it yourself). If you believe in something to be correct, focus on showing your work to prove it. Authority derives naturally from merit, not the other way around.

We want more passionate debates about bold and crazy ideas rethinking what we’ve taken for granted rather than discussions that end in “John wants this, this is how we’re supposed to do it.” The former will keep us agile and innovative, the latter will make us irrelevant.

[tl;dr: Some asshole keeps telling everyone Jack wants this. Stop that.]

Can someone please Rap Genius this thing?