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Interesting - if only he had square, you wouldn't have needed to go to the ATM

For a second I thought about signing him up on the spot. At one point during the conversation I did walk him through the entire payment flow of the Square app. That's what got us on the topic of humanizing computers!

This just gave me a thought that could potentially be great but also scary at the same time.

What if homeless people signed up for square? They will now be able to accept Credit Cards. As people don't carry cash anymore, the common thing people say is "I don't carry cash." because they don't, but then he whips out a device with square and says "No problem, I accept Credit Cards too!"

Though, getting an Android or iOS device plus be near Wifi or pay for cell service and have a bank account. Sounds a bit tough to set it all up for a homeless person.

Great story, btw. Sounds like you met a nice guy. Most of the Homeless I run into in SF are pretty nuts.

This was actually the first thing that occurred to me as we got talking. I then realized it wouldn't really work since he probably doesn't have an active bank account to receive the money.

I'd love the day when there are beggars using Square. It would mean that our designs are simple enough for a homeless person to use!

Dude, I really liked the story. I'm glad you wrote it and had this experience. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt while reading the comments, but your phrase "It would mean that our designs are simple enough for a homeless person to use!" really, really, REALLY rubs me the wrong way. Whether you notice it or not, whether you intend it or not, you are sounding incredibly patronizing to other human beings. It makes you sound sheltered and ignorant. Both in the way you phrase your story (Homeless people can be interesting?!?!) and in this concept that designs would need to be "simple" or someone who is homeless to use.

I suggest spending a LOT more time outside talking to strangers if you think you need to "simplify" things for homeless people. Talking to and helping a homeless person does not make for a blog post in my life, and many other people's lives.

Imagine replacing "homeless" for any other adjective. "It would mean our designs are simple enough an asian to use!" "It would mean our designs are simple enough an MIT student could use it!"

It's offensive.

As you yourself have showed, "homeless person" != "dumb person".

I'm fairly certain a not despreciable amount of homeless people are totally capable of using complex designs.

Not that we should aim to making designs complex, but we shouldn't use "simple enough for the homeless" as a motto either.

I was reading through your blog, assuming this was some faux-naivety mixed with socially uplifting product placement (look! hip young designer of the future actually LEARNS from has-been discard of the old materialism! wow!) and then you went and ruined it.

Are you seriously proclaiming to the world in general that you've absolutely no idea about the socio-economic impacts that a cashless society will have, and their potential for exclusion as well as inclusion within a social sphere?

Are you seriously so naive in reality that you cannot picture some very important men (you know, the kind who invite the Zuckerberg's of this world to behind-the-doors meetings, politely suggest some features that should be included, and then ensure that the resultant IPO is very much in his favour, markets be damned) looking at Square, and its ilk, and imagining a world where our "homeless hero" cannot be a part of society?

This is not to mention that "the homeless", are by their very definition, already excluded from a large part of society, and that the American model has seen a dramatic increase in social exclusion in the last thirty years, which trend-wise, seems to lead to the logical assumption that it will probably increase in the short term. (How short-term might depend on several issues, however that's a different thread)

Oh, to be young and such a waif! The blind optimism of a useful idiot!

“Technique has taken over the whole of civilization. Death, procreation, birth all submit to technical efficiency and systemization.”

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