Just over a year ago, MB was among the first to write about Square – Twitter creator Jack Dorsey’s smart, cashless payment system. The original post, from May 2010, was written following a visit to Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco who were trialling Square with their tech-savvy clientele. A year on, and both Sightglass and Square have gone from strength to strength. On any given morning in Sightglass, Frank Sinatra’s on the record player, chirpy hipsters are bagging up beans, and the Creative Director of Pixar is waiting for his latte. Hater’s gonna hate, but Sightglass is where SF’s who’s who in tech and creativity go to get their jump start on the day.
Square is still in use at Sightglass, but since officially launching in October 2010 Square has also added the former U.S Treasury Secretary to its board, raised $100 million in funding, processed $2m a day in card payments, and been valued at over $1 billion. Jack Dorsey clearly puts his caffeine kicks to good work!
But, just as Twitter redefined how people communicate and share information, how does Square intend to go up against the big, bad world of corporate finance? The global banking crisis has not only caused people to loose trust in the financial industry, but has also been a huge contributor to a sea change in consumer expectations. While individuals were quickly adapting to technological development, the big banking corporations found themselves struggling to keep up. As Jennifer Schenker, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Informilo, said recently, “The thing holding back mobile banking is the business model, not the technology”. Fortunately for Dorsey, it seems the time has never been better to re-draw the landscape of personal finance, both in terms of winning consumer trust and pushing boundaries of tech. And, if his recent product announcements are anything to go by, it seems Dorsey’s business model for Square has the agility and holistic view the bigger hitters are sadly missing. For now, it’s David – 1, Goliath – 0. Only time will tell if the banking behemoths will come back fighting, or find it’s game over.