[NEWS] Jack hands over the keys to Twitter
On November 29th, Jack Dorsey (@jack) tweeted his last tweet as CEO of Twitter.
As part of the same tweet, he shared a statement in which he announced,
“After almost 16 years of having a role at our company… from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO… I decided it’s finally time for me to leave.”
Although he will remain on the board through May to help with the transition, after that, Dorsey will no longer be a part of Twitter.
Parang Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technology officer, took up the reins of CEO immediately. As a long-time employee of the company, he started at Twitter as an engineer and worked his way up to CTO in 2017.
Dorsey noted in his statement that his resignation was his decision alone and that he believed it was good for the company. In what could be perceived as a dig at Mark Zuckerberg, he said, “there aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego.”
Commentators wonder how the company might change with this announcement. As Wired said about Dorsey, “for the past six years, Twitter was run by someone who was its very soul.” That leaves rather big shoes for Agrawal to fill.
But perhaps Dorsey’s time had come. As described by The New York Times, Dorsey’s departure comes at a time when the company has faced down complaints by investors as well as criticism by some lawmakers that Twitter encouraged hate speech while others voiced concerns about censorship. Wired went so far as to position Dorsey as “the Hamlet of Silicon Valley, acknowledging the problems but hesitating to take the severe measures required to address them.”
In the end, however, Dorsey may have stepped down not due to controversy but because he wasn’t moving things fast enough. As Gizmodo noted, he “kept things slow and steady, which historically infuriated everyone nearly as much as Zuckerburg’s more overt wreckage.”
In 2020, Twitter investment group Elliot Management complained that Dorsey hadn’t done enough to increase stock prices, and voiced concerns over his efforts to lead two large tech companies simultaneously. Until his resignation, Dorsey had been CEO for both Twitter and the online payment processor company Square. According to the New York Times, Elliott executives welcomed Dorsey’s announcement and his decision to name Agrawal as CEO.
Whatever Dorsey’s reasons for leaving, one thing is clear: change is coming, but hopefully it will be a good kind of change. As parting words, in his statement Dorsey concluded with:
“My one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world. Hi mom!”
In other news
- AI robot Ai-Da recites its own poetry. To celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, Oxford University poetry lovers enjoyed a recital of reimagined poetry courtesy of a robot. Imagine that—we now live in an age where robots can now craft their own creative works. The effort of generating words using AI requires significant processing power on a scale that’s difficult to imagine. The AI in this instance, Ai-Da, can produce as many as 20,000 words in 10 seconds. In the story featured on Gizmodo, one of her handlers, Aidan Meller, says “language models are very advanced” in the field of robotics, and soon “they will be completely indistinguishable from human text.”
- Robots come alive! Meet the Xenobot, the world’s first living robot, less than a millimeter wide, made of organic cellular material, not metal, plastic, or other synthetic materials. Xenobots can reproduce, eat, walk (a little), swim, and survive for weeks without food. Made of living cells scraped from frog embryos, CNN reports the cells were “cut open and reshaped into different body forms.” Once in this form, Xenobots can potentially self heal when cut, allowing them “to carry medicines inside the human body, clean up radioactive waste, or collect microplastics in the oceans.”
- Apple will alert you to spyware. The latest privacy initiative from Apple will let you know if state-sponsored hackers suddenly target your iPhone. And, if the government decides to install spyware on your mobile, you can expect a ping. The Cyber Threat Intelligence blog says that the recent revelations about the misuse of a government spyware tool known as Pegasus is behind Apple’s decision. In July this year, an Israeli firm reportedly used Pegasus to hack the smartphones of 50,000 human rights activists, journalists, and politicians.
- Internet access becomes a higher priority for home buyers. When you want to buy a new home, what’s at the top of your must-have list? Omdia, a telecoms provider, surveyed 294 estate agents about U.K. home buyers’ habits to see if their priorities had shifted as a result of the pandemic. It turns out, most buyers still want a more significant amount of space to live in (23%), but the survey revealed a 69% increase in questions about faster broadband, the potential for fiber, and faster internet speeds. And for 20% of buyers, the quality of broadband access in a potential home is their single most important factor. Estate agents received instructions to find speeds of more than 300Mbps by 34% of buyers, and 23% wanted 1Gbps. The upshot? 33% of agents believe great speeds can add significantly to the price of a home.
- Bitcoin code upgraded to protect trades. In the first major upgrade since 2017, Bitcoin’s Taproot code update improves privacy and security for complicated transactions. The goal is to deter potential thieves or snoopers by better disguising when an unusual transfer occurs. Taproot also addresses customer requests for better UI when trading. Demand for cryptocurrency continues to grow. Code, if not fixed, can prove costly, so it’s good to see Bitcoin tightening security to protect users. Crypto platform owners have seen a spate of cryptocurrency heists in recent months.
- Facebook news on platform standards. In the works – more whistleblowing. A leak of internal papers is soon to drop. Gizmodo and other groups will release documents sourced by a former product manager about how the company neglects to deter those who spout hate on the Internet.
- Asteroid collision mission. For those who remember way, way back, to the famous arcade game Atari Asteroids, the news that NASA is about to try and smash up a rogue asteroid for real in space is a bit like a childhood dream come true. The plan is to use a world of astrophysics and space slingshot-style calculus to knock a potentially dangerous asteroid off course. But rest easy: we’re not actually in danger of a collision with the chosen asteroid. This one is just for practice.
Tip of the week
Jack Dorsey’s resignation letter emphasizes an essential practice for business owners in the tech industry and beyond. It’s crucial to take some time for yourself and step back a bit from the work you love. Make time for daily 10-minute meditations and remember to take all of your vacation days.
Steven J. Covey wrote in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.” When you renew and “sharpen” yourself through things like proper rest, learning new skills, and building positive relationships outside the office, you’re much more likely to lead your life with balance.