Jack Dorsey: The Man Behind Twitter and Square

“What’s Happening?” – the $38 billion dollar question.

To many, it’s something we ask on a daily basis. So, how can someone turn this simple question into one of the most innovative companies of our generation? What’s more interesting – the fact that Twitter wasn’t created by a Silicon Valley mogul, but rather by Jack Dorsey, a native of St. Louis, Missouri.

Fascinated by the coordination of train systems and dispatching vehicles that need constant, real-time communication with one another, Dorsey first began programming to fill this need. At the age of 15, he wrote the code for a dispatch software of taxicabs, which is still being used by some companies today. Of course, he didn’t stop there.

After attending a few semesters of college at New York University, Dorsey decided to do what many entrepreneurs before him did, drop out.

“The concept of ‘here’s where I am, here’s what I’m doing, and anyone who’s interested can follow along, real-time” is what Dorsey would spend the next few years of his life obsessing over. This simple concept, he thought, had the potential to change the way users communicate and share information with each other. “A dispatch system that can help friends stay connected” –Dorsey on Twitter’s vision early on.

On March 21st, 2006 Dorsey sent the first message, “just setting up my twttr” and a star was born.

Now, Twitter has over 105 million users and is a primary source of exchanging information worldwide. And Dorsey is not stopping there. In 2010, he founded Square, which allows users to receive credit card payments on their phones and tablets by using a tiny “square” credit-card reader connected to the device. Valued already at $5 billion, Square, like Twitter, is changing the world’s perceptions on commerce.

Dorsey is also an early-backer of start-ups such as Instagram, KickStarter, and FourSquare. He is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion, but clearly is not done changing the world yet. His aspirations of becoming the mayor of New York City go to show how high he raises the bar.

@Jack will remain asking the world, “What’s Happening?”