By Ken MacQueen - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 0 Comments
The billionaire co-creator of Twitter wants to change the world again—this time, rethinking the way we shop
It’s a Wednesday, so Jack Dorsey is sipping tea in a 20th-floor lounge of Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, chatting with a Maclean’s reporter about the Canadian launch of Square Inc.—a mobile credit card reader and business management system—and the second revolutionary idea he has helped create in his 35 years. Canada is the first stop in Square’s global expansion. “We want to carry every transaction in the world,” he’s said, never one to dream small. Wednesdays are reserved for marketing, communications and growth. As chairman and co-founder of Twitter, the ubiquitous 140-character micro-blogging site, and CEO and co-founder of Square, he’s learned to compartmentalize.
The rhythm of his San Francisco-based business week goes like this: Mondays are for management issues at the two private companies with multi-billion-dollar evaluations. Tuesdays it’s engineering and design. Wednesdays are for evangelizing the brands—tools, he believes, of a new world order. Thursdays are for outside business partners and suppliers. Fridays he tends to employees, performances and goals, and recruits talent for companies undergoing exponential growth. Sundays are for strategic thought, and job interviews. On the sixth day he rests. He remains an influential force as chairman of Twitter, but he’s more engaged in the day-to-day operations of Square. Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 12:03 PM - 0 Comments
To me, one of the most interesting shows to revisit is a show that failed but became the template for many other, greater shows to come. He & She, which I talked about a few weeks back, is a show like that, a one-season flop that didn’t have time to reach the heights of the later sitcoms that copied it. And another show like that is Square Pegs, a 1982-3 cult flop starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker as two smart, geeky, awkward high school freshmen trying, and failing, to get into the school’s cool clique. Sony released the complete series on DVD today — we have SJP’s Sex and the City movie to thank for that — and it’s reasonably-priced for 19 episodes (including one hour-long special) and new interviews with the creator and nearly the entire cast, including Parker. This show has been borrowed from so much that it’s practically like watching the next 25 years of “teen” entertainment in embryonic form. Other reviews call it “An awful show”; I don’t. It’s not a great show, though it might have become one if it had run longer, but it’s a very important one, and quite fascinating to watch.
Square Pegs was created by Anne Beatts, one of the founding writers of Saturday Night Live; like almost all the other writers and actors, she left after the fifth season and went to L.A. looking for new worlds to conquer, and her agent suggested that she write a show based on her experiences as an unpopular smart girl in high school. So she did, and Square Pegs came out before Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club, before Head of the Class, before The Wonder Years, before Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie or the TV series), before My So-Called Life, before Clueless, before Freaks and Geeks, before Election, before Napoleon Dynamite, before the WB network started and before the WB network ended. There were very few high school shows of any kind; the TV adaptation of Fame had started earlier that year, but that was about a different kind of high school. And there was the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which came out after the pilot of Square Pegs was shot but before it was picked up, but that was about sex and drugs in high school (hence, Fast Times); it was, in a way, a brilliant comic take on a sub-genre of high school entertainment going back to Rebel Without a Cause, showing us the sordid truth about what really goes on in high school. Another type of high school entertainment was the show from the teacher’s point of view; this gave us The White Shadow and that first Bill Cosby show that nobody remembers. (He was a high school gym coach.) And then there was high school as pure comic fantasy, like Dobie Gillis (and why isn’t that on DVD, for Pete’s sake? It’s got Bob Denver, Warren Beatty, Tuesday Weld) — basically the old-fashioned college comedy transplanted to high school.
Square Pegs was something different at the time, though it doesn’t seem that way now. It was not about the seamy or sexy side of high school: Beatts recalls in her DVD interview that she was able to assure networks that the show wouldn’t have any untoward content because: “These girls don’t have sex and they don’t do drugs; they only wish.” It was not told from the teachers’ point of view and had few adult characters of any importance at all. It emphasized the idea that high school is about cruelty, heartbreak, and constant scheming to get in with the right crowd. The lead characters can’t get the boys they want and they don’t want the boys they can get. It is, in short, the template for the type of high school show that we have seen over and over again since then: the “bittersweet” high school show, where you spend 1% of your time studying and 99% of your time trying desperately to fit in with the cool crowd, where episodes always seem to be leading up to a dance at the gym, kids have unnaturally hip taste in music, and the stories usually end in failure followed by a little bit of life-goes-on uplift. If you compare the end of the pilot of Square Pegs (with guest stars The Waitresses, a New Wave band that did the theme song and also performs their own song “I Know What Boys Like”) with the dance-at-the-gym ending of the Freaks and Geeks pilot, while the shows are very different — for one thing, Square Pegs is a sitcom with a laugh track and Freaks is an hour-long dramedy — there are similar story beats and a similar idea of how to structure a story: your characters don’t get what they want, but they’re happy and smiling at the end because they make the best of what they have. “My life is over — I might as well dance with Johnny Slash” is a line that, filling in a different name, any character on any teen show after Square Pegs could have said.
As a show, Square Pegs is, like most sitcoms in their first seasons, notable more for its potential than for Continue…