Squares

Jack Dorsey Can’t Even Look at a Picture Anymore Without Wanting It to Be a Vine

He also thinks the AP needs to pick some better passwords.
Mr. Dorsey and Ms. Brown. (Photo: Courtesy Hearst)

Mr. Dorsey and Ms. Brown. (Photo: Courtesy Hearst)

Twitter cofounder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey took the stage in a non-Silicon Valley venue this afternoon: an auditorium in the Hearst HQ, for a chat with Harper’s Bazaar executive editor Laura Brown. 

Fittingly for an audience of stylishly attired editorial belles, Ms. Brown led by asking Mr. Dorsey about his leadership philosophy. The man, it seems, likes to think of himself as an editor.

“I’ve studied a lot of editors, I’ve studied a lot of newspapers and magazines,” Mr. Dorsey explained. He thinks of his own job as editing the team (brings new meaning to “kill your darlings”), as well as crafting both mission and product for the company. “It’s a constant chance to make it better and better and better and better. Sometimes the best edit is a complete rewrite,” he concluded.

“Not when you’re going to the printer!” rejoined Ms. Brown. “But you don’t have to worry about that, because you’re all in space,” she added, making a grand hand gesture.

Speaking of magazines, the one he’s learned the most from “in terms of just great product design” is The Economist. You can instantly tell the week’s most important story by looking at the cover, and “it’s snarky. It has a personality.” Jack, why didn’t you say something?

After a brief Vine-off with Ms. Brown, Mr. Dorsey waxed poetic about the humble video-sharing app: “I think it’s an entirely new art form, and I think it’s amazing–every picture I look at right now, I want it to move, I’m waiting for it to move. Where’s the sound?”

“It’s changed my perspective on media and art,” he added. “Not only can you take a picture of the beach, but you can actually see the waves move. You can hear the beach.”

Other odds and ends the audience learned about @jack: Yes, his breakfast really is boiled eggs with soy sauce (and mixed berries!) every single day; he took sewing classes long enough to make two skirts, but bailed before he reached pants; and he considered becoming a massage therapist who focused only on San Francisco programmers. (He gave up on that last one when he realized it was a categorically terrible idea.)

As for that longstanding desire to run this town, it sounds like Mr. Dorsey is a little puzzled by how his life’s turned out: “I’ve always wanted to be a mayor.” He added, “I’ve never wanted to be an engineer. I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never wanted to be a programmer. I happened into it because those were the tools I needed to use to build what I wanted to build.”

Oh, and about the AP’s hacked Twitter account, which briefly sent the stock market plunging yesterday. Mr. Dorsey pointed the finger square at whoever was charged with managing it: “I think having really strong passwords is really, really critical.” (A big laugh from the audience.) “I think security and privacy, a lot of people consider them end-points, but it’s an evolution.” Changing your password regularly, he added, would help.

As Betabeat filed out of the auditorium, we passed Nina Garcia. “He’s fabulous, fabulous,” we overheard her say.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com