You may be familiar with Jack Dorsey and his work, or he may just be another face of the entrepreneurial tech world for you. Whatever the case is, there’s a lot we can learn from him.
He started as a programmer, and is now best known as the creator, co-founder and chairman of Twitter (now you may feel like you know him) and the CEO of Square (a company for mobile payments).
‘Innovator of the Year Award’ for technology was given to him by The Wall Street Journal. He’s also one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
Another thing he does differently is that he works hard. And by hard I mean 8 hours in the first company, followed by an 8-hour shift in the second. Daily.
Also, he creates billion dollar companies, but still takes the bus or bikes to work.
So clearly he knows what he’s doing, both in life and in business, but also shows an interesting personality. And we can learn from his words and actions.
Here are some life lessons:
1. Look out for ideas.
“Ideas can come from anyone and they can come anytime. We all have various directions that we want to take the company and sometimes those ideas come during a shower, sometimes they come when we’re walking, sometimes they come when we’re talking with other employees at the coffee store.”
If you’re complaining about not having any ideas to work on and use it as an excuse not to have hobbies or build businesses, then you’re destined to fail.
Ideas are everywhere around us, just like inspiration can be found in daily life. You just need to be open to them, to notice them and to actually take action once that happens.
2. It all starts with passion.
“Twitter has been my life’s work in many senses. It started with a fascination with cities and how they work, and what’s going on in them right now.”
Jack Dorsey has been coding since he was 14. And he combined it with his biggest passion – maps.
He was in love with big cities and enjoyed wandering through them – New York and San Francisco, for example. And he was obsessed with maps.
But paper ones were dead already, and the Internet was just starting to thrive, so he started programming to play with them. He drew maps and made dots around. Soon he implemented the same techniques in the businesses he created.
You can hear him talk about that, how he started Twitter, and much more, in the very first episode of The Foundation podcast:
3. Use routines for discipline and productivity.
The shocking number of hours he works daily would be impossible if he wasn’t using an interesting technique – theme days.
He plans out his week in advance and focuses on one thing each day, in both companies. That helps him stay concentrated, get things done and move forward in a certain area every single day.
Here’s what he shares in an interview for Fast Company:
“All my days are themed. Monday is management. At Square we have a directional meeting, at Twitter we have our opcomm [operating committee] meeting. Tuesday is product, engineering, and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks. On days beginning with T, I start at Twitter in the morning, then go to Square in the afternoon. Sundays are for strategy, and I do a lot of job interviews. Saturday is a day off.”
4. Embrace simplicity.
“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”
In life and in business those who choose less over more succeed in the long term. And Twitter is one of the greatest modern proofs of that.
In just 140 characters you have to say the most important things about yourself. Which means there’s no room for anything unnecessary, or even slightly important.
Also, all your messages have to be short. So no fluff, repetitions or complex sentences. Just simple thoughts.
5. Take action upon your ideas.
One of the things Jack talks about in the video above is new ideas. He says that we should all get them out of our head as soon as we have them, to write them down, to go show them to someone, to even start coding them and create something to present them.
He advises everyone to put their idea on the shelf as soon as possible. And – most importantly – to be okay if it doesn’t work out and to quickly move onto the next.
6. Use data.
He shares that in Square they have a metric that shows how many times users look at their dashboards which shows how much they care about that.
And if you’re a fan of startups, or have some kind of a digital business, you know that’s not the typical metric.
So the lesson here is: build your own system that’s according to the results you get from data.
“You need to have an understanding of the momentum of what you’re doing and where you’re going. And you can only get that from data.”
So that’s how you become a successful tech startup founder. You have to be purpose-driven, find what works and do more of it, be passionate about the work you do and willing to hustle more than the average person. But you also need to get out there and do some things differently.
And if you can’t think of anything, there’s already so much powerful advice you can follow from those who are where you’re heading.
So what do you like the most about Jack Dorsey? And what else can you learn from him?
Image by JD Lasica @Flickr