It’s not everyday that an icon of social media, and the tech field in general, makes such a bold move. Jack Dorsey is stepping down today as CEO of Twitter.
” public resignation letterThe prominent figure spoke out in a series of surprising and eye-opening statements. This is even more shocking for me, who has been following this space closely. The most immediate reaction after hearing the news is to be shocked and then wonder why.
Dorsey does a good job explaining the concept, though he doesn’t really explain it. While his reasoning is solid, it’s a bit unclear. He says he wants to prepare the way for new CEO (effective today, according to the letter) Parag Argawal to take over, and doesn’t want to stand in his way.
Dorsey said that he will resign as chairman of the board immediately. He will however continue to serve as vice chair. According to Dorsey, his resignation was meant to make room for Bret Taylor as the chair so that they can run the business effectively.
I find some fascinating statements between the lines. They make me wonder why Dorsey decided to give up on tech. Dorsey has been a true champion of social media, and also paved the path for others to grow, such as Instagram or Facebook.
Failure is the first observation. Dorsey is clear about this, stating that any founder-led business can be a failure. He doesn’t say he failed or even hint at any specific issues, although one report noted that the company hopes to double their revenue. That’s a tall order and maybe one that Dorsey would like others to lead.
In startup culture, failure is an incredibly popular word. Common tropes include learning from your mistakes, failing quickly, accepting your limitations, and learning from them. If there’s a failure to pinpoint it might be that Twitter has never really captured the attention of the masses — at least not enough that everyone is active and engaged with their own account. Is there something else? HasThe result is that many well-known users are the focal point of all attention. We, the spectators are often left behind.
One other interesting observation is that you should start at the bottom. Dorsey admitted that he once was a very lowly engineer. Maybe by taking his place, it will start a chain reaction in which new engineers find positions at the company and rise up the ranks. That’s admirable if a bit of an overreach. He says one individual can fail, but then suggests that one person could also open the door for talented people to rise in the company. Maybe that’s true, although Dorsey could probably make that happen without stepping down.
It’s his final thought that made me sit up and take notice, though. He adds that Twitter should be transparent. His resignation letter was tweeted by him, which isn’t very common as they sometimes leak intentionally. This statement is not right. I don’t see the transparency when it comes to deciding which voices are heard and which ones are blocked. It is difficult to see the transparency required for admitting bullying on Twitter. The steps needed to eliminate it sometimes are unclear. Many of them are merely for display, and only a handful of options.
Dorsey’s resignation does lead to some major shifts in thought. How will Twitter evolve? What kind of changes will Twitter make? And how can the company find ways to increase revenue? Can Twitter be made more powerful under new leadership?
Dorsey won’t be there to guide that ship, although somehow I think he will always have a vested interest in the company. He can still see it from his mobile phone, even if it’s on a beach.