I’m not in Square’s target market segment, but I’ve been on their bandwagon for some time. I love their concept and execution. After reading this interview with CEO Keith Rabois, I’m getting myself a cushion and cup holder for my seat on the bandwagon and will be making myself comfortable.
I’ve highlighted the quote that resonated with me the most: “… there’s strength in crafting an entire experience.” It sounds obvious, but there are companies that talk about it, and there are companies that actually internalize this and execute. This is why Apple is so dominant. It’s not the technology—the iPhone doesn’t have dominant specs; take screen size, camera quality, or network speed, for example. But it does have a tightly-integrated value chain that creates such a great total customer experience (i.e., Apple store, iTunes, devices, highly-motivated application developers, etc.); it’s extremely hard for Google, Microsoft, and others to compete.
Look at Amazon v Barnes & Noble (here’s a link a relevant G+ post by yours truly: Hey Barnes & Noble, it’s not the Nook, it’s about Customer Intimacy). Amazon is all about convenience and customer intimacy. Amazon has made it amazingly easy to buy anything, not just books. Electronic content with Amazon is very convenient—I read my eBooks from Amazon on my Kindle, iPad, Windows laptop, MacBook Pro, and my Android phone (which I will switch out for an iPhone when my wireless plan renews). Amazon has created an amazing total customer experience, supported by excellent technology and business model innovations.
I like Square’s focus on small business. Rabois’s response to the question about moving up-market is encouraging. So many companies want to move up-market because deal sizes are larger and I believe partially because of vanity. I agree with Rabois that Square has an immense value proposition (in a word, Simplicity) which is probably the #1 priority of buyers in most small business owners. Medium or large-sized businesses would likely have a different list of priorities (e.g., deeper analytics), causing their “simplicity play” to be less effective.
I chuckled a little bit at the PayPal reference in the article because of experiences my wife has had in her adventures as an eBay vendor. PayPal can be a pain to deal with at times, especially when your funds are on hold and you don’t know why. Simplicity and transparency are paramount.
Thank you for reading!
If you’ve been following along, thank you! This is my fifth post, which marks some sort of a milestone (or at least WordPress thinks so). I am definitely open to having conversations, so please comment if you like the post, or better yet if you think I’m dead wrong!
You can find me on Twitter: @jimargarcia (Apparently there’s another Jimar out there that jumps on the “jimar” handle before I can.)