February 16th, 2010
06:56 PM GMT
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NEW YORK CITY – Let's face it: the news these days is pretty depressing. High unemployment, spiraling deficits, lawmakers quitting because the mood is so poisoned in Washington. So, it was a breath of fresh air when I sat down with Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter (@jack) to talk about his new company Square.

You might think that someone who has achieved so much so young might be… well… a little self-important. But I found the exact opposite. When I met Dorsey, he was passionate about his work, polite and generous with his knowledge – basically a really really NICE guy. Maybe it is his mid-western background that keeps him grounded, I don’t know. But it was refreshing.

Square, Dorsey’s new project is looking to take mobile banking to a new level. They have developed software and a small hardware device that will allow anyone will a portable computer or smart phone to accept credit-card payments. If you meet a friend for dinner and have no cash, you can whip out your card and pay them right there on the spot.

In the demo we did, Dorsey charged me $4 for the interview (well $3 and I gave him a $1 dollar tip!).

Banking through mobile phones is not new in Africa, but those of us in Europe and the U.S. are a bit behind. This payment system hopes to change that. Square is beta testing with iPhones now, but plans to expand to Blackberries, Android and laptops and officially launch this summer.

The day I interviewed Dorsey, we met at one of his local haunts, Third Rail coffee shop on Sullivan Street. The two proprietors are guys who left their former jobs in the pursuit of perfect cup of java (and they’ve come pretty close!).

Dorsey and I then talked about Square, the competition (a handful of other companies are also working on mobile payments systems) and tech start-ups and I left feeling… well… hopeful.

Despite all the gloom and despair, New York City is humming with entrepreneurs. Some are chasing their own dream, some working on new ideas that have the potential to radically change the way we live/do business. And there isn’t any economic data that captures that. No monthly government reading that measures innovation. It is important to remember that when you read yet another headline about sub-par growth and lost jobs (even if I am the one writing, or saying, it!).

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Wee Khee Loh

    Great stuff! May I know where can I learn more about this products?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:54 am |
  2. adam

    ...but those of us in Europe and the U.S. are a bit behind. ?

    I have been banking via mobile phone for 5 years in europe...
    not to mention paying for things like movie tickets, the metro, donations to charities, via SMS for almost 10 years...

    February 17, 2010 at 7:02 am |
  3. crap

    crap what useless product is this, everything is not lucky as twitter crap.

    February 17, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  4. Ejoh A

    Any new creation or invention that causes positive change should be encouraged and applauded.twitter good job!

    February 17, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  5. Javi

    When it comes to money, the thing that every one is worried about is safety. Why have you not talked about that?

    February 17, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  6. Crispin

    Are they gonna talk about the security of this device or do they plan to talk about it only after its implemented? Your potentially giving every person access to use any credit card and transfer money directly to that persons account. I think the key to this device to succeed will depend on security. I also hope banks don't extend their evil hidden costs used in credit cards to this invention.

    February 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
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    I think liberalism.I think i liberate.Library is medium.

    February 18, 2010 at 5:18 am |
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