The importance of timing in business

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

It sure does.

Just yesterday, Blockbuster was in the height of its career, catering to first-dates, take-away nights and one problem which hasn’t seemed to evaporate…nothing but shit on TV. Since then, much has changed. Game-boys are not only in colour but you can get them in HD or even 3D and telephones without cables, well… they are extinct. Except, people haven’t all of a sudden lost taste for films or speaking to one another; the technological advances over time have simply shaped our expectations and desires. As technology progresses, we as humans are beginning to expect more from it, and part of this move from reality to social network is partially thanks to Zuckerberg but another Tech-Hero…Jack Dorsey.

Warning: The following inspirational quote may just inspire you enough to quit your job.

‘I never wanted to be an entrepreneur’ — Jack Dorsey.

Jack Dorsey is not only responsible for the creation of Square; a mobile payment company. He is also Co-founder and current CEO of Twitter. What’s particularly interesting about Dorsey is that he actually began one of his greatest creations of all time by shelving it. Twitter as a concept was actually born in 2001. Think back to 2001…the birth of Wikipedia and iTunes. These giants were embryo’s, barely finding their feet and Twitter would have been in the same boat. We now know of Twitter’s potential, but Dorsey didn’t have that privilege and his first test failed miserably (thank God). In this trial he found out many things, one being, no one cared. There was no reason for people to be interested in him simply writing about his location for example. Secondly, nobody else had a Blackberry. He recognized that even the greatest idea does not work above time. Timing essentially dictates the impact and power a product is likely to have. And this information would soon play a key role in Twitter’s future success.

As we’re already talking technology let me use the opportunity to bring up a classic. You must have seen Back to the Future, well, if you could travel back in time (to 2001) I’m sure you’d use twitter to make yourself billions right?

Wrong…so wrong!

2006 is when Dorsey recognized for the first time that there were major advances in cellular communication, those mobile users who were with the Carrier Verizon could now message those on Cingular, cross carrying was the dawn of a new technological age for the US and Dorsey was already one step (one shelf) ahead. After working at a Podcasting company called Odeon, where again he realized that nobody really cared about that either (he was one of those people) he’d still managed to pick up a few assets in the form of two very creative, hard-working, experienced individuals who also turned out to be Co-founders of Twitter. Dorsey said it took him two weeks to unshelve his masterpiece and create the basics of what we use today. He says not much has changed, only refinements made, but that won’t ever change. No great product has ever just…stopped. Every formula that makes that product work grows old just as people do and it then has to learn to adapt.

A good example is looking at Twitter’s Key Values for 2016. After Dorsey re-joined his fellow Co-founders in 2015 after a brief departure in 2008, Dorsey has said in an interview that you essentially cannot keep up if you’re not participating in the race to begin with. What’s most significant about this is that a lot of what is rooted in Twitter’s values for 2016 probably didn’t exist back in 2008.

Have a look below;

Twitter’s 5 Key values for 2016.

  1. Refining and simplifying the product
  2. Live Videos
  3. Giving creators the best tools to express themselves
  4. Safety
  5. Developers.

Look again… do you notice that a lot of what twitter is aiming to do is specific to what the social networking world of today demands? For instance, the incorporation of Live Videos/Periscope and hotness on safety to meet the demands of those strongly against trolling and protecting their privacy. Even SIMPLIFYING the product is in there…during the initial stages of development Dorsey was focused on refinement and 10 years later it’s still a key aim. WHY? What’s he doing wrong?

Answer: Absolutely Nothing.

Times have changed. Contactless is making banking so much easier, Online shopping is making supply and demand a lot easier and Smart phones…well they are just making life itself easier. Dorsey is competing with that ‘ease’ and its neverending. Dorsey’s perspective on the matter is a rather simplistic one. Instead of literally competing with these technological advances he merely embraces them. An an example of this; He says that Twitter has had ‘multiple founding moments’ (perhaps this should have been our key quote) and what this essentially states is that there is no limit to potential because there is no end to it. Business is opportunity. With these advances comes an opening, one that allows Dorsey to review, revitalize and evolve his product.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Square.

Square was experiencing the same problem in this sense, but before I get into that, the story of its inception is one you have to hear. Have a seat…if you’re not seated already. The Co-founder Jim McKelvey lost business because he didn’t accept credit cards and his customer didn’t have cash. Both McKelvey and Dorsey noticed that again the world had advanced right before their eyes. Everyone was now paying with plastic but why were sellers resisting?


Charges for the hardware, fees for transactions and another monetary irritant called interchange. But like we’ve already discussed you have to be in the game to keep up and these people, ‘the resistance’ shall we call them, were only spiting themselves. I needn’t go on because we know how this story ends, besides, the beginning is where your success lies. Identifying one simple everyday problem could be the beginning of your career. Also, time waits for no man, not even the richest amongst them. Choosing the right moments to seize opportunity and monitor the changes of the consumer in that time frame are really what’s going to give you your chance to thrive. So do it. There’s no time like the present.

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This article was written by Marcus Benjamin

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