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Jack Dorsey: well-designed products should be 'invisible' to users

Posting in Architecture

“I never grew up wanting to be an entrepreneur”

With that disclosure, Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square and co-founder of Twitter, kicked off a recent talk at Stanford University, in which he discussed his goals and mindset, which was not simply to found new enterprises, but to create products or services that make a difference in the world.

He pointed to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, which is probably one of the most pointed examples of  successful product creation.

The bridge, which was built in three years more than 75 years ago, is an example of elegant product creation and design done right. "It's really not just the end product, its the magical way they built it," he observes, noting that the structure represents that convergence of engineering and architecture into a single vision that often is lacking in many of today's enterprises.

It has enabled generations of end-users to get from point A to point B, without even thinking about the bridge they're traversing. "They’re thinking about point B so much that the bridge just completely disappears," he says. That's been a goal with his innovations as well, he says. The goal is to make products and services "that are just so intuitive that they simply just disappear into people's lives."

"We want to build companies, we want to build products, we want to build ideas that have a timeless, effortless value, such as the Golden Gate Bridge," Dorsey relates. "Everything  that we do has to have some sort of purpose. It has to have the answer the question why.  It's the easiest question to ask, kids ask it all the time -- but it's the hardest question to answer. But that’s where truly great ideas, where truly great companies come from, is the constant asking of this very simple question."

For example, as Dorsey was launching Square, the challenge was to attract people to work on payments. "It's the least sexy thing in the world." But Dorsey has been able to impress upon prospective employees (as well as investors) that the company would not focus on the mechanisms of payments, but on the experience of being able to transact business anytime, anywhere customers want to do so.

(Thumbnail photo credit: CBSNews.com)

— By on June 8, 2013, 9:50 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure