After eight years of watching brands bully random people on Twitter, Jack Dorsey said he was stepping down as the company’s CEO yesterday. He’s handed the keys to the birdcage to Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s current CTO.
300-character background: Dorsey cofounded Twitter in 2006, and served as the hot-take site’s first CEO until he was pushed to chairman in 2008. Since he returned to the corner office in 2015, Twitter became profitable and established itself as the world’s digital watercooler for culture and politics. But a lack of product innovation and (some argue) mismanagement means it’s still sitting at the social media kids table.
- Twitter’s stock climbed 67% during Dorsey’s most recent tenure, compared to Meta’s (formerly Facebook) 260%. And Twitter only snagged $3.7 billion in revenue last year, while Meta raked in almost $86 billion.
You can’t fit a Twitter peg into a Square hole
In a letter to staff, Dorsey said he was leaving in part because he believes the company is ready to move on from its founders. But it’s worth noting that Dorsey is staying on as CEO of another company he cofounded: the payments giant Square. He’d been double-dipping as CEO of both Square and Twitter since 2015.
Decentralize Dorsey. The tech mogul has expressed his undying love for bitcoin numerous times, saying at one point it could bring about world peace. Some analysts speculate that Dorsey’s departure is mostly about freeing up time for making big crypto moves at Square.
- Square offered bitcoin trading through Cash App in 2018, created an independent team for bitcoin open-source work in 2019, and announced it would launch a whole new business to build decentralized finance (DeFi) apps for bitcoin in July.
Crypto might also be central to Twitter’s roadmap. Agrawal, a machine-learning and AI expert, has been leading the company’s Bluesky project that aims to create a “decentralized standard” for social media. And apparently he’s only ever had positive airport experiences: He only tweeted 10 times this year.
+ Fun fact: Argawal joins the growing ranks of powerful US tech executives of Indian descent. Google, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and now Twitter are all run by people who grew up in India.—MM
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