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Twitter co-founder preaches entrepreneurship

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and Square, spoke to Carnegie Mellon students on Wednesday about entrepreneurship and his vision when founding Square.

Dorsey co-founded Square, a mobile payments company, in 2009 with artist James McKelvey. Square offers consumers free credit card readers that allow them to accept payments with their smart phones or tablets. Last year, the company was valued at more than $1 billion by venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Dorsey’s visit to Carnegie Mellon is one of several trips he is making to colleges and universities this week to recruit new talent for Square, including visits to Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Square has also posted job openings on TartanTrak and sent recruiters to this year’s Technical Opportunities Conference.

“Everyone is really clamoring for engineers, so the recruiting is getting more aggressive,” said senior computer science major Amy Quispe, who was in the audience for Dorsey’s speech. “I think that sending Jack was the right thing to do. His name is so strongly associated with the Square brand.”

“I never wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Dorsey said. Instead, Dorsey said that he had ideas and a willingness to take risks to see his ideas through. He emphasized that though founding Square was one of those risks, “you don’t have to start a company to be an entrepreneur. You can have an entrepreneurial attitude.”

“I was thoroughly inspired by his view on this matter, because it comes to show that everyone has this potential,” said sophomore computer science major Isaac Lim after the event. “The only ones that work out in the end are by the people who have the determination and drive to see their ideas through.”

Dorsey peppered his speech with inspirational quotes and imagery. Toward the end of his speech, he likened Square to the Golden Gate Bridge. “Not only is it this beautiful end product, but the way it was built was also amazing.... Everyone who worked on this bridge is proud of it. Their children are proud of it and their grandchildren are proud it,” Dorsey said. “We also want to build a company that not only has a great end product, but that we are proud of the work that went into it.”

“He really had the reality distortion field down. It was everything I was promised,” Quispe said. “His talk focused on selling us on the grand vision of Square, and that really put the audience in awe.”

Having sold many students on his vision of entrepreneurship, Dorsey went on to explain how Square supports this vision. “Founders can happen anywhere, and ideas that can change the course of a company can come from anywhere. This is basic principle that we use to run Square,” Dorsey said. “We’ve built a foundation for our folks to move really fast on a very, very large canvas.”