How Square Designed Success

It was announced today that Square will be teaming up with Starbucks to handle their debt and credit card payments.

This fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States and eventually customers will be able to order a grande vanilla latte and charge it to their credit cards simply by saying their names.

This is big news and a clear indicator, to me anyway, that leading by design is the way to go.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to make this observation. If you’ve been following Square, you know they’re a design-focused organization. Clearly they’ve got the chops there. But, if you’re living in San Francisco and used their products you also may notice they’ve got the process down as well.

Before they hooked up with Starbucks, Square hooked up with a smaller, local shop: Sightglass. It was big news back in 2010 when Square launched their service there and since then they’ve had the perfect proving grounds for their product. If you do a Google search, you’ll see that the Square/Sightglass connection has been a strong one over the last couple years.

Square has been working up to this for many months; researching, experimenting, testing and iterating on their products down at Sightglass. Honing it, getting feedback and making changes over time.

Clearly, it’s now ready for prime-time and ready to be scaled up.

This is a great example of leading with design, doing experiments and research to uncover real problems, iterating on the product and starting the process over again.

Kudos to Square for showing us how it’s done! I’d wish them luck, but my guess is they’ll continue doing what they’re doing and as such won’t need it.


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