Jack Dorsey (second from right), CEO of Square and Twitter, mingles on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the release of the Square IPO on November 19, 2015.
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Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

By David Z. Morris
May 1, 2017

It’s not exactly a business plan scribbled on a bar napkin. But a crude early sketch has emerged showing an early idea from Square, the hot Silicon Valley payment processor.

The sketch by Square’s founder and CEO Jack Dorsey was posted on Twitter by designer Robert Andersen, an early collaborator on the company’s credit card reader software for tablets. Since its 2009 founding and the introduction of its distinctive credit card readers for mobile devices, Square has shown steady growth, recently beating earnings projections and reaching a market value of $6.8 billion.

The sketch shows a rough version of what the Square interface for the iPad would eventually look like. Andersen told Recode that the sketch is from 2010, before the iPad had actually been released.

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Dorsey and his team saw early on that mobile computing would upend a huge market, and they acted fast. Competitors have followed—even craft marketplace Etsy has created its own mobile credit card reader—but Square’s early-mover advantage has kept it in the running against payments products from larger rivals including PayPal and Amazon.

That’s particularly noteworthy since it’s easy for merchants to switch mobile processing services. and competitors often try to undercut Square’s pricing.

The sketch also provides a glimpse into another business that has gone on to significant growth. The logo drawn in the corner of the imagined interface is for Sightglass coffee, a San Francisco coffee roaster that was one of Square’s early adopters, and in which Dorsey is an investor. Sightglass opened its first coffee bar in 2011, and now has three locations, with a fourth on the way.

 

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