“Farewell to Jack Dorsey, the weirdest CEO in Silicon Valley,“ Io Dodds wrote in the Independent this week as the news broke that the 45 year old Twitter founder was stepping down in order to fully dedicate himself to his other passion project: cryptocurrency.
Or, more specifically, the payments platform Square, which Dorsey co-founded in 2009. (“Tech Crunch led with the headline Jack Dorsey dials in on his dream job” ran a Tech Crunch headline).
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led’. Ultimately, I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure,” Dorsey said in a statement released on – where else – Twitter.
Clearly, Dorsey practices what he preaches; in its 15 years of existence Twitter will now have had four CEOs, two of whom were in fact Dorsey.
Writing in the Guardian, Richard Seymour sees Dorsey’s defection as the smart move. “In some ways, the choice between Twitter and Square is a straight choice between political clout and profit. Square, a payments platform co-founded by Dorsey in 2009, is worth almost three times Twitter’s current value at about $97bn (£73bn).”
It seems unlikely however that Dorsey, one of the most enigmatic and unpredictable tech CEOs around is purely doing this for the money. Also in the Guardian, John Naughton has compared Dorsey to another tech visionary; Steve Jobs.
“There are interesting parallels between Dorsey’s relationship with the company he co-founded and Steve Jobs’s with Apple, for both were ousted at one stage by their board colleagues and were then brought back to rescue said colleagues from their incompetence” Naughton writes, before going on to point out that both men endured “sojourns in the wilderness” after being ousted from their first companies, during which time they successfully founded new ventures. (Dorsey was kicked out of Twitter but regained the top seat in 2015) “Which only goes to show that sometimes being fired is the best thing that can happen to a visionary,” Naughton says.
This time, however, it’s clear that the decision to leave is Dorsey’s alone. Either way, the occasion of his departure from one of the 21st century’s most ground-breaking tech companies offers an unmissable opportunity to recount some of the eccentric CEO’s more outlandish manoeuvres. Wherever he ends up, it seems his weirdness is destined to continue.
A Higher Calling
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