Culture Productivity & Work

Cubicles are anti-work

While cubicles were developed as the “action office,” they create an environment antithesis to work. Cubicles thwart collaboration.

Says Dilbert creator Scott Adams, ‘cubicles are like prisons.’

Most digital agencies and startups like Square have open offices that encourage human interaction, so-called watercooler chats.

Open spaces increase the chances of overhearing something important, which could clarify a miscommunication, save an email, or lead to the next great big idea. In theory, overcommunication should save employees from having to attend extra meetings.

Note that open spaces do come with their own invasiveness. Coders and editors can justify their use of noise-canceling headphones.

Human interaction is still vital to the workplace

You’ll get more from speaking with a co-worker for a few minutes than you will in an email thread. Serendipity is the name of the game.

Business Productivity & Work

The four corners of Square

gif via the living moon

Jack Dorsey gives out a welcome package to new Square employees. Inside are Square’s guiding principles:

  1. We start small
  2. We collaborate in commons
  3. We round the square
  4. We craft the entire span in a breathtaking way

How we think shapes what we do.


Let’s reconsider our “users”

The word “user” abstracts the actual individual.

Jack Dorsey on why Square “users” are really just customers.  

Social users are customers too, customers of a platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and customers of anyone they follow, individuals as well as brands.  

There isn’t always a monetary exchange involved in social media.  It’s typically a quid pro quo of information.  If you don’t want to participate, you can consume for free. 

We’re all customers of each other, interconnected through physical and invisible wires we call the Internet.  Simple.   


In the Ordinary, Silicon Valley Is Finding the Next Big Thing

On Square:

It linked existing ideas and products with innovation in design and usage to create a new technology.

Not to mention Dorsey’s skillful networking.


Square Partners With Starbucks

Jack Dorsey is our Steve Jobs.  And Square was made for coffee shops.  

Gone are the banknotes and wallets.  Just say your name and that sip is yours.  

The Starbucks and Square partnership will “democratize payments” and make it easier for individuals and small companies to erase the friction of the checkout.  



Thinking of a master plan.



In more and more fields, the originator of the novel idea reaps an outsize share of the benefits. – Seth Godin

Foursquare, Twitter, and Square were first and are reaping the benefits.  Novelty is a tough act to follow. 



Spotify is still a work in progress in terms of design and rivaling iTunes extensive library but what it has done is simplify music access.

Spotify is available on every device possible, making music truly ubiquitous.  You just turn on music (Spotify) when needed, as you do the nearest water faucet for water.

It’s all about reducing choices and unnecessary steps, narrowing clutter, and adding a touch of class to boot. (link)

Like Spotify, Square is a touch away for an instant mobile payment.  Anyone can be a vendor.  Instagram turns amateurs into neo-photographers.  You can backup any file seamlessly into Dropbox.  It’s iCloud done right.  And the Day One App turns all computers and mobile devices into a life-streaming diary.

Keep it simple or prepare to be disrupted.


How I Became My Own Little Apple Store With Square

Square Register from Square on Vimeo.

It was 6 months ago today when I billed my first client using the Square app for $250.

My client told me his digits and pin code on the phone and I billed him on my iPhone at the same time.  Had he been present I would’ve just slid his card through the Square plugin.

He received his receipt 2 seconds after the payment.  Boom.

While I mistakenly got killed on fees it was still a worthy test.  For that moment, I became my own little Apple store.  I’m looking forward to pulling it out of my backpack again and using it more often.


iZettle Vs Square

There’s two major differences between iZettle and Square.

  1. Size and plugin location.  iZettle attaches to the USB part of the phone and looks more like a battery charger.
  2. Sharing.  iZettle enables sharing of the transaction to Facebook and Twitter so you can make/receive payment and share it out to your network.

Jack Dorsey should be excited about the European competitor.

If there’s one thing Jack does best it’s keep his products simple, like Twitter. Square is still thinner than iZettle and goes easily into the audio jack. Adding sharing features is not essential but easy to implement.

Square welcomes iZettle if only to show clear superiority in design and transaction platform.