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Victoria Faraci is an English graduate student at The University of Waterloo, currently on a Co-op term as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre.
I was fortunate enough to attend a guest lecture by twitter co-found Jack Dorsey this past week at The University of Waterloo. In the wake of his uwaterloo debut, I’d like to share what I took away from this experience. I was nervous, I must admit, because I am pretty new to twitter. I sat next to Karin Schmidlin and when we saw tweets being broadcast on the back-drop right behind where Jack was about to stand, she kindly recommended that I change my profile picture from the generic “egg-head”, as she called it, to a photo of me…out of respect for Jack, of course.
It was great to see that he started off his talk with photos of his parents, telling us the story of his childhood and where he began. Slowly but surely, Jack (I feel like we are on a first-name basis now) fascinated the crowd by bringing us up to speed on the person behind twitter. When we did get to hear the story of twitter, he said that in about 2 weeks, he and his team built just about everything that we use today.
When I looked around at the live audience, fingers typing furiously to get stream-worthy tweets in, I realized that the crowd was absolutely captivated by Jack. This is Waterloo, the city where entrepreneurship never sleeps: it is celebrated, promoted, and encouraged. He defined what he thought it meant to be an entrepreneur, saying it doesn’t mean that you start a business, but it means that you take risks. You make a bet, and sometimes you lose that bet, sometimes you win, but you should always keep making new bets.
If you have an idea, get it out of your head!” –Jack Dorsey
If the English-major in me was forced to dissect his lecture, I would say that the central theme was undoubtedly resilience. Resilience in the face of challenges, successes, failures, you name it. There is a persistence, a down-right grit that characterizes entrepreneurs. Listening to Jack’s non-linear path to success was inspiring, especially for me when entrepreneurship has never really been something on my radar. Jack’s blatant curiosity for anything and everything was obvious in every story he told. He said as a programmer, his wrist would hurt so someone recommended that he get a massage. But, he didn’t just want a massage. He wasn’t content with that. He wanted to know everything there was to know about massages, instead. We found out that our social-media guru is actually a certified massage therapist.
Big take-away message:
For Jack’s big take-away message, he said that whatever we want to see in the world, we need to be the ones to learn how to make it happen. Putting up a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Jack said,
we have to build a company that builds a bridge that stays up 100% of the time, meeting people where they are."
He shared with us a tip he uses in his everyday life: a ‘dos and don’ts’ list. Telling the audience to make a note on their smart phone device and to start recording things they want to do more and less of, and then review the note at the end of each day.
After the talk, we learned that Jack is opening up the first Canadian office for his new company, Square, that will be based in Kitchener- Waterloo!