When a tech startup announces a major expansion on three fronts simultaneously, you don’t have to be a master product manager to know that its product is taking off. Smartphone tech startup Square, whose free credit card reader facilitates easy and secure mobile payments, is doing just that, with a major expansion of its San Francisco headquarters, a new office in Canada’s Kitchener-Waterloo (which will please recently laid off Blackberry employees in the city) and, most importantly, a new office in New York.
Square ‘belongs in New York’
On reading this intro, the more observant product manager will be asking why a new office in New York is ranked as “most important.” Well, it all has to do with the beliefs of Square’s co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey (yes, that’s the same Jack Dorsey who is the creator, co-founder and Chairman of Twitter).
Dorsey, it turns out, is a New York enthusiast. The startup’s new office there will be the base for tripling the company’s engineering talent in the city – a process Dorsey himself dubs “aggressive.” At a recent roundtable he hosted at Columbia University, he said that he had a number of reasons for believing that Square “belongs in New York”.
“We actually tried to start the company in New York almost five years ago, but we weren’t able to hire the engineers and designers we needed to at the time,” he said.
But why the Big Apple now?
At the time, the problem wasn’t so much a lack of talent as the lack of a single meeting place for engineers and designers in the Big Apple. But that lack of community has been transformed now, Dorsey says, and is no longer a problem.
Many product managers who’ve been following trends would agree: Bonobos, for example, moved from San Francisco to New York last year, attracted in part by the tech talent pool there.
Dorsey went on, “This city has something very different from Silicon Valley. New Yorkers are facing different issues, and the people in New York are actually living the problems we are trying to fix.”
He also announced that Square will be investing heavily in recruiting more women in New York, because of the “different perspective” they bring with them.