Square’s Hook-Up: Closing Deals

The deal between Square and Starbucks may usher in micropayments for the everyman (in ways that Starbucks’ own mobile phone payment hasn’t). So far, so good.

Even more interesting: applying this mentality to the enterprise problems our customers are solving. In short, Square is solving a little piece of a big problem – giving mobile users and small retailers near-instant access to the convenience of real-time credit card processing.

The most interesting tech companies we work with do things just like this – with one important difference: They solve big problems. It’s what inspires them, and often, what gets them funding. Big data. Big security. Big supply chain. Big money wasted, every day. And big money found.

So do you change the model? That’s easy for the pundits to endorse – but how do you still support the big-think development that paves the way for the real game-changers?

A lot of people will say that the market for apps is a telling precursor: solving small problems, or making small improvements, with small bits of software, for small money. For a buck, or two, or five, you get a small tweak to a nagging problem, or a sweet improvement to something you didn’t know you wanted: real-time directions. Phone flashlights.

It’s definitely easier to get in the door if you’re not asking someone to change how they work. Or bet big money on the change.

And everyone wants to spend less, on just about everything. But my money’s on solving real problems – not just putting a flashlight into a phone. We ‘just’ need to make the big solutions a lot simpler to understand, and be adamant about making them more compelling. This means listening to customers, a lot more. They’ll tell us about their dozens of nagging problems. That’s a great place to start – especially if we embed the change in something as everyday as paying for their morning cup of joe.