Dorsey: I am the CEO of Square and I am not leaving

Steven Loeb · June 17, 2015 · Short URL:

Jack Dorsey shoots down the rumors that he might come back on as Twitter's permanent CEO

Well, the speculation was fun while it lasted, but despite as much as many would like to see Jack Dorsey ride in and save the day at Twitter, including at least one major Twitter investor, it looks like that simply is not going to be the case.

Dorsey issued a statement to ReCode on Tuesday, making it clear what his intentions are going forward, which means staying on in his current role at Square.

“As I said last week, I’m as committed as ever to Square and its continued success,” he said. “I’m Square CEO and that won’t change.”

This was a reaffirmation of a statement made by Dorsey last week, in which he said pretty much the exact same thing.

“I am grateful for the talented team at Square, which I will continue to lead,” Dorsey said in a press release  “We have built a very strong company from top to bottom, and I am as committed as ever to its continued success.”

This new statement came on the same say that outgoing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said at the Bloomberg Tech conference on Tuesday that the company "is legitimately doing a search" to find someone to replace him. Twitter’s Board immediately formed a Search Committee to find permanent CEO, which is being chaired by the Board’s Lead Independent Director, Peter Currie, and includes Peter Fenton and Evan Williams. 

Now, Dorsey didn't ever actually say that he wouldn't be the CEO of Twitter, just that he was still going to continue to lead Square. Some will likely take that as an indication that he may pull an Elon Musk, who is currently the CEO of two major tech companies: SpaceX and Tesla. But, let's be realistic, there is an extremely small chance of that happening. 

There are two good reasons that I can think of why Dorsey would choose Square over Twitter.

First, there is a major opportunity ahead for Square. The company, which closed a $150 million funding around at a $6 billion valuation this past October, has been talked about as a potential candidate for a public offering for years.

The company was said to entertaining the thought of an IPO in 2014. The rumors were making their rounds—supposedly of talks with banks, like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. And Square hired former exec Sarah Friar as its new CFO last year.

Dorsey, however, scuttled those plans in February of last year due to problems with revenue. Namely, the company is not profitable. 

That may not be as much of an issue going forward, especially with the company's current valuation, and I imagine that Dorsey would like to do what he was not able to at Twitter: see his company through to the other side.

On the flipside of that, there is Twitter, a company that has already done its IPO and is now under the harsh glare of the public eye. Dorsey has been getting heat for months for the direction the company was going, in terms of both users and advertising revenue, and whoever does take his job will immediately be under the same microscope. I can't imagine that anyone would give up a job they love for that.

It's far more likely that the company will hire in-house, with both Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of global revenue and partnerships, Anthony Noto, who is Twitter’s finance chief, more likely candidates for the job than Dorsey.

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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, 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, 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 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.


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