The voices on the police scanner intrigued young Jack Dorsey. They never used many words but managed to communicate quite a bit. The hours he spent listening to that radio paid off years later when, as an adult with a cell phone, it inspired him to create Twitter. Dorsey tells Lara Logan about his brainstorm for the popular social medium, his separation and reunion with the company and his current venture, Square, for a 60 Minutes profile to be broadcast Sunday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Dorsey grew up in St. Louis, where his love of trains and how they work led to his obsession with the dispatching of emergency service vehicles. Young and shy because of a speech impediment, he spent a lot of time listening to the chatter on the police scanner. "They're always talking about where they're going, what they're doing, and where they currently are," he says. "That is where the idea for Twitter came [from]...Now we all have these cell phones. We had text messaging and suddenly we could update where I was, what I'm doing, where I'm going, how I feel. And then it would go out to the entire world," he tells Logan.
It did go out to the entire world. And now 200 million people use Twitter, and "tweet" over a billion times every three days. Says Dorsey, "I'm most proud of how quickly people came to it and used it and in a million different ways. They're all over the world. And Twitter enables them to take a $5 cell phone and wherever they are, communicate with the world, for free."
Dorsey was forced out of Twitter due to internal discord. He says, his weakness was his own reticence, an issue he still works on. "The biggest thing I've learned is that I need to communicate more. I need to be more vocal." He understood the move but was still hurt. "I was angry...at the board...at my cofounders. I was angry with myself," he recalls. He says he holds no grudges.
Dorsey was eventually invited back to help run his old company, but not until after he founded Square, a mobile payment company that created software that allows anyone with a smart phone to accept a card payment. It's becoming more and more popular, especially with smaller businesses. He brainstormed the idea with an artist friend who was prevented from selling a work of art because he couldn't take a credit card.
Square is a world-changing idea Dorsey hopes will remove cumbersome cash from business transactions. "Money touches every single person on this planet and at one point in their life they feel bad about it," he tells Logan. "It feels dirty sometimes. It never feels great, but it's great when it disappears. Feels like you're taken care of. It feels like the world is just working."