Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Start-Up Uses Design to Foster Its Principles

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Start-Up Uses Design to Foster Its Principles

Article excerpt

The offices of Square, a start-up that processes credit card transactions through smartphones, are open and transparent -- just as the company's founder says he wants the company itself to be.

The headquarters of the start-up Square would be the absolute worst place to play hide-and-seek. There are no offices. Executives sit in open cubicles. All of the conference rooms, large and small, are surrounded by walls of clear glass. The only real place to hide would be in the toilet.

This openness might seem odd, given what Square does. It manages more than $2 billion a year in credit card transactions made through mobile phones. But the company was set up this way by Jack Dorsey, Square's chief executive and co-founder, for a reason: to promote trust and transparency among the company's employees, which Mr. Dorsey hopes will translate to its customers. Design, he says, has the power to determine a distinct mind-set, something he needs if Square is to succeed as a mobile payment system.

If Willy Wonka built a financial institution, instead of a chocolate factory, it would look something like Square. During an interview at the company's San Francisco offices with Mr. Dorsey, we sat at a square table, in a square glass conference room; the company names those rooms after famous town squares from around the world. Mr. Dorsey was eating nuts out of a square bowl. Employees are even referred to as Squares.

"We believe strongly that the company is going to be reflected in the product and vice versa," Mr. Dorsey said. "The internal matches the external and the external matches the internal, and if we can't provide a clean, simple, well-designed experience in here, it's not going to be reflected in our identity. It's in our DNA." (Mr. Dorsey also is the chairman and co-founder of Twitter, where his obsession with openness is not as extreme. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.