Jack Dorsey has been named the new CEO of Twitter, The New York Times reported. He’s been serving as the interim CEO for three months, ever since Dick Costolo left the position. He co-founded Twitter, is the founder of Square, and will continue to also serve as CEO of Square, Variety reported. Dorsey is a brilliant man, who had a speech impediment at a child that helped shape what eventually turned into his vision for Twitter. He won’t be taking a salary for his job as CEO of Twitter, according to a securities filing.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Dorsey Had a Speech Impediment as a Child That Eventually Led to His Idea for Twitter
Jack Dorsey was born in St. Louis and had a speech impediment growing up, CNET reported. He was embarrassed by his speech problems and stayed at home a lot as a child, passing the time by listening to police scanners. The short bursts of communication that officers use to communicate fascinated him and, years later, inspired his idea for microblogging. As the CEO of Twitter, Dorsey said that he’ll focus on disciplined execution, communicating Twitter’s value to users, and simplifying the service, The New York Times reported.
2. Dorsey’s First Creation Was Taxi-Dispatching Software, But He Also Loved Punk Rock And Worked as a Massage Therapist
At the age of 15, Dorsey created taxi dispatch software that some taxi companies still use today. This was his first major software creation, Business Insider reported. In 1998, Dorsey hacked into Dispatch Management Service’s computers while Greg Kidd was building the software, and sent Kidd an email from Kidd’s own account stating that he could fix the security hole, The Wall Street Journal reported. Before Twitter he also founded dNet, a company that enabled same-day e-commerce purchases
But Dorsey wasn’t just a computer geek as a teenager and a young adult. He also attended punk rock concerts and ran a fantasy football league with his friends, the Wall Street Journal reported. The fantasy league was pre-Internet and as “smooth as it could be,” his friends said, recounting how Dorsey kept everything in a computer database and used the local newspaper for stats. In his mid-20s, he also became a certified massage therapist for awhile.
Even to this day, he stays involved in a variety of interests. For example, he’s on the board of Disney, Business Insider reported.
3. He Co-Founded Twitter, But His History There Hasn’t Always Been Peaceful
Dorsey is a co-founder of Twitter, but his history with the company hasn’t always been peaceful. He co-founded Twitter with Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006. He approached Odeo, a podcast startup run by Williams and Stone, with the idea of sharing a status quickly and easily with your friends. His idea was originally called Status, then called Obvious, before they settled on Twttr (eventually renamed Twitter), a simple site that allowed 140-character statuses, Biography reported. Dorsey, Stone, and Evans bought the Twitter domain name for $7,000, Business Insider reported. When it was first launched, it was referred to as a type of group send SMS application, TechCrunch reported back in 2006. In fact, the top comment reads: “This is NEVER going to catch on.”
Dorsey was Twitter’s CEO in 2006, Variety reported, and he published Twitter’s first tweet: “just setting up my twttr.” But his positive relationship with the company didn’t last long. Williams replaced Dorsey as CEO of Twitter in 2008. Dorsey was essentially forced out and he was very angry at the board, his co-founders, and himself, CNET reported. New York Magazine reported that Dorsey was forced out because he was too quirky, leaving every day at 6 p.m. for yoga classes and fashion school.
After Dorsey left Twitter, he had no daily involvement with the company until 2011, when he became executive chairman after Costolo replaced Williams as CEO. While Dorsey was gone from Twitter, he spent much of that time redefining himself, The Wall Street Journal reported. He had a lot of interests but had a tough time pulling it all together and creating a finished design. So he got coaching, learned from his mistakes, and learned how to have a greater focus when he returned to Twitter in 2011.
Despite the controversy of the past, Dorsey has been thoroughly invested in his role as interim CEO. He’s making moves to create a long-form publishing option at Twitter that allows some posts to be longer than just the 140 characters that Twitter is famous for, Variety reported. Now that he’s the permanent CEO, his job at Twitter won’t be easy. In August, Twitter’s stock was at an all-time low, many executives and employees were leaving the company. Some have expressed concern about a lack of vision at Twitter, Re/code reported.
4. He’s Also the Founder and CEO of Square
Dorsey is also the founder of Square, a digital payments company, and had publicly stated he would never leave his job as CEO of Square to be permanent CEO of Twitter. Variety has reported that Twitter investors are now saying they’re OK with Dorsey being CEO of both companies at the same time. Square is on its way up, having confidentially filed for an initial public offering, USA Today reported.
5. He’s Not Married And Considers His Businesses His Children
Dorsey isn’t married and he doesn’t have children. He’s publicly stated that Twitter and Square are like his children, and choosing between which one to run would be like having to choose between his own kids, Re/Code reported. As far as dating, Dorsey is frequently connected to his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Kate Greer. Before Greer, he was spotted with British model and actress Lily Cole, Business Insider reported.
Dorsey’s also a billionaire, with a net worth of more than $1 billion. He first became a billionaire in 2012, Business Insider reported.