The Jack Dorsey Story
I came across this post on TechCrunch linked to from Fred Wilson's blog. It is really something. Jack (@jack) is the guy who invented Twitter. The first tweet is like the first phone call. The post is worth the read.
- The guy is from the Midwest. He grew up in St. Louis. A guy who went to the same high school as me in Kathmandu and the same college in Kentucky lives there now.
- He started out at Missouri State.
- He taught himself programming early.
- He has a thing for New York.
".....One night, I couldn’t sleep, I just had to write a prototype script. It would sit on a server, take incoming emails, broadcast them out to a list, and also record them in a database that I could view on the Web.” That was the first glimmer of Twitter......But for a variety of reasons, dNET did not get traction in the market, and so Jack embarked on a period of freelance programming before joining a podcasting start-up called Odeo, primarily to work with Evan (a.k.a. @ev) Williams, formerly of Google....... The very first tweet was an internal one that Jack sent out at 12:50 p.m. on March 21, 2006: “just setting up my twttr.” A few minutes later, he tweeted innocuously: “inviting coworkers.” This was the beginning of the Twitter revolution....... Jack and his colleagues lugged big plasma screens across the country and set them up in the hallways of the conference to display the live Twitter chatter about the conference sessions in action, one at the registration desk and one at the exit from the main conference room.......“We were really good at getting the right friends in. We had a lot of high-powered, vocal bloggers using Twitter at South by Southwest. They were talking about it non-stop at the conference. And the press happened to be watching, too. And it just blew up.”....... I was really surprised by the velocity.....“We weren’t really ready to take money right away, but we got a note from someone. We went to meet them for breakfast at the top of this hotel in San Francisco and had a pretty good conversation. We were still kind of forming the company and whatnot. When we got back to the office thirty minutes later, we found a scanned image of a check for half a million dollars in our inbox.”.......It was not where he comes from, but ‘Is this guy fun to work with? Is he going to challenge us? Is he smart?’ This person was going to take a seat on the board.”.......Fred Wilson says he likes to think of himself as the entrepreneur’s consigliere..... The beauty of being a venture capitalist is we’ve seen all these issues a lot of times......... “Fred had our phone on priority dial, so he could reach us at any time.......He is very engaged and whenever we need something, we call him up. He is excited to do anything for us.” Jack points out that Fred isn’t just focused on big-picture strategy, but also on the nitty-gritty features of Twitter as an avid user. “We listen to what he thinks and what he needs from the product,” says Jack. “And that has been a great way to get into the relationship and for both of us to trust each other more. As we worked on the product together, we began to learn, ‘Oh, this is how Fred is, and this is how Jack is.’ We began to learn each other’s faults. And that couldn’t really happen any other way.”........ I want a VC who is always thinking a few steps ahead of me....... “We had a lot of conversations with people down in the Valley,” Jack said. “At the end of the pitch, the person across the table would say, ‘Well, we’ll let you know fairly soon, like in an hour or so. We just want to talk internally, but we’re really excited.’ We didn’t react well to that. We wanted to be questioned, we wanted to be challenged, and we wanted to see some of their thinking around actually developing this product.”....... Jack found more of those challenging VCs on the East Coast than on the West Coast. “I think it was just an attitude thing,” he said. “I found the East Coast to be a little bit more aggressive. They say what they mean in the hopes of just moving on right away. On the West Coast, people were a little bit more laid back. If they thought we were going down the wrong path, they wouldn’t necessarily say it, but they might make it known in an indirect way. I just didn’t appreciate that at all.”........“We turned down a bunch of VCs,” Jack said. “We saw a name, but there wasn’t enough behind the name immediately. A VC has to show me right away that I can trust them. It’s hard to do. But when it’s right, it’s right. And we were very fortunate in it being right with Fred. He was very aggressive, in a good way, in a thinking way. He had no subtlety at all. But more importantly, he was a day-to-day user of our service and he obviously loved it. He came to the pitch with a bunch of requests for features and lots of questions about why we had done what we had done........ During their courting period, Fred showed Jack he could provide more than just money; he could contribute to the product’s vision and direction to help lead the company to success. If your VC doesn’t show you that passion for your product and your own personal success, as well as an ability to add value during the due diligence process through their strategic or product insight, then he and his firm may not be the right business partner for you. As Dorsey put it to me, “When selecting our VC partner, I knew I was hiring a boss I couldn’t fire.”....... The entrepreneur is your client. It’s a very weird relationship because the entrepreneur is not exactly paying you, even though they really are paying you. But they absolutely can’t fire you. In fact, you can fire them. So it’s among the weirdest kinds of service relationships that one could come up with.”.......the best entrepreneurs don’t focus on the money, they focus on their dream for the business......Are you done? If you are, then exit. If you’re not, keep going for it.”...."