Jack Dorsey was born on November 19, 1976. He is an American Internet entrepreneur and programmer who is a co-founder and former CEO of Twitter Inc. as well as the CEO and chairperson of Block Inc., a financial payments company.
Jack Dorsey was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Tim and Marcia Dorsey. He is part of Italian descent on his mother’s side. His father worked for a company that developed mass spectrometers and his mother was a homemaker. He was raised Catholic and his uncle is a Catholic priest in Cincinnati.
Dorsey attended Bishop Dubourg High School. In his younger years, he worked occasionally as a fashion model. At age 14, he had become interested in dispatch routing. Some of the open-source software he created in the area of dispatch logistics was still being used by taxicab companies as of May 2007.
Dorsey enrolled in the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1995 and attended for two plus years before he transferred to New York University in 1997, but dropped out two years later, one semester short of graduating. He came up with the idea that would eventually become Twitter while studying at NYU.
While working on dispatching as a programmer, Dorsey moved to California. In 2000, Dorsey started his company in Oakland to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the Web. His other projects and ideas at this time included networks of medical devices and a “frictionless service market.” In July 2000, building on dispatching and inspired partly by LiveJournal and by AOL Instant Messenger, he had the concept for a Web-based, real-time, status/short message communication service.
When he first saw the implementation of instant messaging, Dorsey wondered whether the software’s user status output could be shared easily by friends. He approached Odeo, which at the time happened to be interested in text messaging.
Dorsey and Biz Stone decided that SMS text suited the status messaging concept, and ended up building a prototype of Twitter in about two weeks. The idea attracted multiple users at Odeo and investment from Evan Williams, a co-founder of that firm in 2005 who had left Google after selling Pya Labs and Blogger.
Noah Glass, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone co-founded Odeo, later renamed Obvious Corporation, which then spun off Twitter Inc., and Dorsey became Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer.
Dorsey saw the start-up through two rounds of funding by venture capitalists. He reportedly lost his position for leaving work early to enjoy other pursuits. As the service began to grow in popularity, Dorsey chose the improvement of uptime as a top priority, even over creating revenue. As of 2008, Twitter was not designed to earn profit. Dorsey described the commercial use of Twitter and its API as two things that could eventually lead to paid features. His three guiding principles, which he says the company shares include: simplicity, constraint, and craftsmanship.
On October 16, 2009, Williams took over as the company’s CEO, while Dorsey became chairman of the board. During his time as chairman, Dorsey joined several State Department delegations, including a trip to Iraq in April 2009, led by Jared Cohen.
When Iranians took to the streets in the Green Revolution, Twitter was scheduled to conduct maintenance of the site, which would entail temporarily shutting down Twitter’s servers. Dorsey responded to a request from Cohen to delay the maintenance so it wouldn’t affect the revolution of Iran because many Iranians were using Twitter to communicate and coordinate. Since President Obama announced there would be no meddling in Iran, the move sparked controversy.
In May 2016, Dorsey announced that Twitter wouldn’t count photos and links in the 140-character limit to free up more space for text. This was an attempt to bring in new users, since the number of tweets per day had reportedly dropped about 500 million in September 2013, and its peak of 661 million in August 2014 and approximately 300 million in January 2016.
On November 22, 2016, Dorsey was briefly suspended from his own Twitter account with 3.9 million followers. After restoring the account, Dorsey tweeted that his suspension was allegedly an internal mistake.
In February 2017, Dorsey and Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani matched a $530,000 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union raised by Twitter staffers. Their match brought the total donation up to $1.59 million.
In March 2018, Dorsey announced that an improved version of the verification would be coming to Twitter. The purpose of redesigning verification was to allow people to verify more facts about themselves, further emphasizing proof of identity. The overhaul was not in place before the U.S. midterm election of 2018 to help in verifying the identities of the candidates.
On August 30, 2019, Dorsey’s personal Twitter account was reportedly breached for nearly an hour by a group calling themselves the Chuckling Squad, posting and retweeting a number of racist tweets.
On October 23, 2019, Twitter’s stock price fell by nearly 24 percent, from $38.83 to $30.75. The season was earnings miss off the third-quarter report, which Twitter would blame on ad targeting issues. Dorsey had been making concerted efforts to dampen the effect that Twitter had on political elections, which included banning all political ads. This was also seen as a large contributor to the drop. Dorsey announced that, as of November 22, 2019, Twitter would ban all political advertising. The policy applies globally to all marketing campaigns related to political issues.
On February 29, 2020, it was announced that activist hedge fund Elliot Management led by billionaire Paul Singer was looking to remove Dorsey and nominate four directors to Twitter’s board, including Elliot’s senior portfolio manager Jesse Cohn. Dorsey received support from entrepreneur Elon Musk and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and others. The two parties reached an agreement days later, with Dorsey remaining CEO.
In October 2020, Dorsey was one of several tech firms CEOS subpoenaed by the US Senate Commerce Committee. Republican Roger Wicker, who chairs the commit, led the charge to force the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google to testify about the legal immunity the tech platforms receive under Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1996.
He announced his departure from the role of Twitter’s CEO on November 2021. His resignation was effective immediately. Dorsey was replaced by the company’s former CTO Parag Agrawal, who took over as the CEO effective immediately. Dorsey continued to lead as the CEO of Block Inc. In May 2022, Dorsey left the board of directors of the social network.
In October 2022, Dorsey retained his 2.4% ownership of Twitter when the company was bought by Elon Musk.