From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:
Jack Dorsey is a latter-day legend among entrepreneurs, and no wonder. Not only did he help found Twitter, where he serves as executive chairman and head of product development, but he’s also founder and CEO of Square, which is trying to foment a revolution in payments by allowing people to use their mobile devices as wallets.
Revolution, in fact, not simply disruption of the existing way of doing things, was Dorsey’s main message in a keynote talk this morning at TechCrunch Disrupt, a startup tech conference in San Francisco. “We need to change the name of this conference,” he told thousands of attendees hanging on his every word. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say, mostly aimed at dashing precious beliefs of entrepreneurs:
I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never woke up one morning and thought I need to get a ticket to San Francisco. I actually wanted to be Bruce Lee.
Actually I wanted to be a sailor, to explore the world. I wanted to be a tailor, to build things myself that I could share with other. I wanted to be an artist, specificallly a surrealist.
Along the way, I realized life really happens at intersections. Literally for me. I was fascinated by cities.
I thought about founders–in particular the Founding Fathers of the United States. They realized they wouldn’t get everything right at the start. There would not be one founding moment but many. A lot of the ideas they had at the time were wrong (slavery, for example, or women’s suffrage).
So there’s a massive amount of energy spent on the founding moment. At Twitter, not so. Companies have multiple founding moments. I consider CEO Dick Costolo a founder. He’s really reconsidered everything and made the company better. Same at Square with its COO. Same at Starbucks with Howard Schultz, who was not a founder. Marissa Mayer, not a founder of Google or Yahoo, but with the drive and smarts to create another founding moment at Yahoo.
So a founder is not a job, it’s a role. An idea that can change the course of the company can come from anywhere.
Science fiction writer William Gibson said the future has already arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed yet. Our job is to distribute the future that is already here. We need to make sure it spreads all over the world, as quickly as possible, and with the right values.
We have the change the name of this conference. What we really want is not disruption, but revolution. It pushes people to do the right thing. It doesn’t always have to be loud or violent. It’s just as powerful in its stillness.
So the key is how we recognize disruption. We want to distribute the future more quickly. We don’t want to just disrupt things and move them around. We want purpose. …
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