Jack Dorsey - the innovator - joins Disney board

Steven Loeb · December 23, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/33f5

Dorsey joins other Silicon Valley executives Sheryl Sandberg and John Chen

Jack Dorsey is of the most famous tech entreprenuers in the Valley, he will now be taking his talents to one of the most storied companies in American history. 

Dorsey has been appointed to the board of directors at the The Walt Disney Company, it was announced on Monday.  Dorsey will be an independent director, and will start immediately, replacing outgoing board member Judith L. Estrin, who has been serving for 15 years, the limit that Disney has set for its board members.

Dorsey also announced the news on Monday, in a tweet that seemed to poke a little fun at his new company:

So what does Dorsey bring to the hallowed halls of Disney? Basically, he knows how to use technology to reach multitudes of new people, Robert Iger, Disney’s chairman and CEO said in a statement.

“Jack Dorsey is a talented entrepreneur who has helped create groundbreaking new businesses in the social media and commerce spaces,” said Iger.

“The perspective he brings to Disney and its Board is extremely valuable, given our strategic priorities, which include utilizing the latest technologies and platforms to reach more people and to enhance the relationship we have with our customers.”

Dorsey will hardly be the first Silicon Valley tech pioneer to join the Disney board. Steve Jobs joined back in 2006, back when Disney bought Pixar for over $7 billion. 

Current members include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (of "Lean In" fame) and John S. Chen, former CEO at Sybase and current interim CEO at BlackBerry. 

The Dorsey legacy

Jack Dorsey is one of those people who, when I hear his story, makes me say, "oh, I've wasted my life!"

As the co-founder of Twitter, and the founder and CEO of Square, Jack Dorsey founded two of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley before he was 35. When Twitter went public earlier this year, Dorsey earned $1.06 billion from the 4.9% of the company, or 23.4 millon shares, he owned. And Square could see its own IPO as soon as next year.

But beyond just being successful, Dorsey has come to represent a lot more than that. He has also emerged as a great innovator and leader in the tech world.

Dorsey is someone who has tried to model himself after Steve Jobs, calling Jobs "an artist" and someone who "had no constraint of what he wanted to see in the world, and he had this amazing ability to convince people it should exist."

He has even expressed interest in possibly running for Mayor of New York City one day.

It says a lot that when 60 Minutes interviewed him earlier this year, they labeled the segment "The Innovator."

When VatorNews founder and CEO Bambi Francisco interviewed Dorsey back in 2008, he discussed how constraints helped him.

"I'm a big believer in creativity through constraint," he said. "When you limit the canvas size you get more creative. A lot of creativity comes through hard times and constrained times. It makes you strive to be your best."

(Image source: https://techonomy.com)

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.


Bambi Francisco Roizen

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Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.