Jack Dorsey is a well thought-of person. A founder of Twitter and an innovator in many ways. Square, his “other” company appears to be doing very well for itself and created its own unique niche – mobile payments. It partnered with Apple, Starbucks and everyone else to grow and even took advice from senior Apple execs to help shape the company. Literally. Phil Schiller came up with calling it “Square” and shaping the device as a small square that plugs into the iPhone headphone jack.
However at Twitter his role is diminishing. One minute he’s a loud executive being invited to all kinds of public meetings and debates (like Irish television, for example) to act as a thought leader, and the next minute he’s nowhere to be seen. Right now is a “nowhere to be seen” type of moment.
Dorsey appears to be supremely smart, and supremely into new technology. So much so that I always reckoned he was being slightly groomed for a possible big role at Apple. In fact I’ve regularly pitched him or Scott Forstall to be future CEO’s – and not too far in the future (my theory was always that Tim Cook doesn’t feel comfortable as CEO but is there to steer the ship for a few years while someone else hashes out a more aggressive Jobs-esque roadmap for the future without the pressure of being CEO).
However my theory is missing something. Right now that “something” is Dorsey. He’s just vanished into thin air. And this NY Times article about Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, explains why…
Mr. Dorsey’s role has since been reduced after employees complained that he was difficult to work with and repeatedly changed his mind about product directions. He no longer has anyone directly reporting to him, although he is still involved in strategic decisions.
Mr. Dorsey declined to comment on how people feel about working with him. But, in a statement, he said he considered Mr. Costolo to be one of Twitter’s founders. “He’s had a dramatic impact on the company and the culture,” Mr. Dorsey said. “He’s questioned everything we started with and made it better.”
That small snippet from a long, and worth-reading, article certainly puts the cat amongst the pigeons. The article briefly mentions how Costolo addresses Dorsey in meetings, with a brash “what do you think?”. Costolo, a CEO talking to an innovator, has to drag information from Dorsey. If this is true, then it seems to me that Dorsey is bored of Twitter and more focused on the cool new kid on the block, Square.
It’s also quite a character attack on Dorsey, who is presumably still learning his trade. He comes across quite well in Kevin Rose’s Foundation, for example. But quite dry. Which makes me think that perhaps the personality clash isn’t working out more than just Dorsey being bad for a culture.