Twitter—Just the Result of One Kid’s Natural CuriosityNov 13, 2013
With all the hype surrounding Twitter’s IPO, I thought it would be fun to revisit a blog I wrote about Jack Dorsey’s past and how his curiosity as a young man led to the founding of this hugely successful company.
Jack Dorsey was nuts about maps as a kid. He couldn’t get enough of them. But static maps weren’t enough. He wanted to see what was happening on those pictured streets. So he bought a scanner and built software that would allow him to map the movement of ambulances and police cars. He soon realized that he was just showing what had happened, when what he really wanted to know was what was happening. So using these ideas, he landed a job developing real-time emergency dispatch software. But Jack’s passion was for real-time data, and so he was dissatisfied with his software “maps” of the city. They didn’t have any people in them—the generators of real-time data.
And that is when Jack Dorsey began working on the prototype that would eventually evolve into Twitter. The cofounder of Twitter told this story in a talk at Stanford University titled, “The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration.” http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2594
I love this speech because it confirms what I know to be true. The most successful people I know are still trying to figure out how their world works, whether their world involves engines, computers, advertising, or medicine. This is why I believe curiosity is one of the most potent shortcuts to prosperity. Every person that I interviewed for my book, Shortcut to Prosperity, has it.
Curiosity motivates the hard work of innovation
When you are following your curiosity and exploring an idea or discipline that you are passionate about, it’s not work. It becomes effortless, inspired. You find yourself pushing past frontiers, until one day, you are so deep that there’s nobody else to turn to for answers. When that happens, you know that you’ve successfully pursued your passion—and had fun doing it. Along the way, you will have advanced through the Prosperity Cycle and moved closer to your life goal.
Need a way to start feeding your curiosity? Choose a subject that you are curious about and spend a month learning about it. By all means, scour the Internet and put a good book on your nightstand, but also find a living, breathing person who is an expert on the subject and interview them over coffee or lunch. Don’t worry, experts love talking about their expertise, and the majority of people are willing to take the time to guide someone with a genuine interest. The dynamic nature of interacting with a person will deepen the learning immensely. Look for a niche within the subject that you are especially interested in and follow up. It may just influence your next career move.