Jack Dorsey’s abrupt public announcement that Twitter CEO had resigned, it was only going to happen in one place: Twitter. It reminded me a lot of Elon Musk’s tweet adventures. Dorsey then tossed his resignation onto the social networking platform he co-founded. It was easy to imagine him savoring the drama of speculation and reaction that unfolded.
This isn’t Dorsey’s first resignation letter to Twitter. He was forced out as CEO chair in 2008. Only to return to executive chairman three years later.
The email sent out to Twitter staff, in which he announced his resignation, stated that he believes the firm should be independent of its founder and not under their direction. After putting the news on Twitter, he claimed that it was his decision. What does this all mean?
Social media’s midlife crisis
Dorsey’s decision was not unexpected. He has been under intense pressure by activist investors for more than a decade to speed up Twitter’s development, and improve its financial performance.
Wall Street investors have criticized Dorsey’s other interests. These include Square, the payments giant, which he founded during his last Twitter exile , as well as pursuing futuristic projects that are decentralizing (meaning that traditional corporate control is removed from) the internet, finance, and social media. Notably, Twitter’s share prices rose with the announcement. However, they were pulled down by the market due to concerns about the COVID micron variant.
There is a commonality between Dorsey, Jeff Bezos, and Musk. Bezos and Musk, like Dorsey have two companies, Amazon/Blue Origin, and Tesla/SpaceX, and they also seek different forms of excitement. With Bezos’ efforts for space orbit, and Musk sending a Tesla Roadster sport car into space, both Bezos/SpaceX and Musk are similar. All of this seems to indicate that mega-tech founders are tired of the mundane management of their most recognizable companies and want something different.
Twitter has a social-media component. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are becoming more entangled in political controversy and complicated issues like disinformation, privacy breaches and hate speech. Twitter was, for instance, the preferred megaphone for Donald Trump, but he later banned him. Now hate speech is a global problem. These companies may be facing a midlife crisis.
Lest we forget. Anton Khodakovskiy
There are no easy solutions. It makes sense that Dorsey would rather create new things than fix existing problems. It may be a good idea to give up control of your empire and go on a quest for new horizons.
In his farewell message, Dorsey refers to “founder ego” as a joke at Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg has not shown any signs of letting go of Facebook/Meta. He is actually looking to increase the company’s influence through upgrading its operations to a more virtual reality version the internet, known as the Metaverse or 3Dweb.
Dorsey tweeted in protest of Zuckerberg’s historic October announcement that it would rebrand as Meta. Although Dorsey claimed this week that Twitter is his favorite, I suspect he sees trouble ahead for social media companies as well as the concept of traditional platforms.
My view is that the days of young developers wanting to work at Google, Facebook, or Twitter are over. They are now more interested in “flipping NFTs” (buying and selling digital collectibles for quick profits) and writing applications to the (non-Meta). metaverse. Regulators are increasing the heat upon Silicon Valley’s older guard regarding their ethical standards for data use and content. If the metaverse is the future it raises questions about how a microblogging platform that has a small user base fits in this new 3D era.
What’s next for Jack?
Although Dorsey has given Twitter control to the 37-year-old chief tech officer Parag Agrawal, he will be able to spend more time on Square. The company is worth more than twice as much as Twitter and has been working to bring cryptocurrencies into mainstream commerce.
Square currently has Bitcoin on its balance sheet. It plans to launch a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange called tbDEX and possibly move into Bitcoin mining. Dorsey also invests in angel projects in many other projects, such as music streaming app Tilal, where Jay Z is co-investor.
The loose and free-wheeling approach that characterised early social media platforms has been reflected in the cryptocurrency landscape. The popularity of decentralized start-ups such as finance platform Compound and crypto exchange Unswap is growing rapidly.
They are dominated Uniswap founder Hayden Adams and MakerDao’s RuneChristensen, eccentric geniuses who have unique backgrounds and a voracious appetite for risk. It will be a great place to return to optimism for burnt-out tech professionals.
My students and I often say that we live in the age where technology is evolving at a faster rate than any individual can. We need to think differently about technology in order to survive.
Silicon Valley CEOs such as Jack Dorsey are the ones who ushered in this new era. Now they have to adapt and reinvent what they created. Dorsey is a veteran of the new camp and has one foot. Although his departure doesn’t give me much confidence in traditional social media platforms, it does give me the opportunity to give more energy to crypto and tech start ups. The Conversation