Jack Dorsey is one of Silicon Valley’s eccentrics.
If he was a character in a movie, you’d think he was too cliche.
Acutely earnest and idealistic, he passionately believes that tech can bring about global peace and prosperity.
He’s a kind of hippie libertarian, a philosophy that seems somewhat baffling at times. He also happens to be a genuine tech visionary.
His resignation from Twitter is the second time he’s left. After leaving the social media giant that he co-founded the first time, he setup the digital payments company Square in 2009 – which has become wildly successful.
I came back to Twitter in 2015.
Until Monday he was running both companies – a situation that didn’t sit well with many investors.
Last year Elliott Management, a large Twitter investor, tried to make him choose between the two. They wanted a chief executive that spent their time on Twitter and Twitter alone.
This in part explains why Twitter’s share price didn’t nose dive when their iconic leader suddenly resigned again.
There has been a prevailing attitude for a long time amongst investors that Twitter is leaving money on the table – that it could generate a lot more revenue from its large and engaged user base.
And certainly a chief executive that had its undivided focus on Twitter might help.
When you compare Twitter to Google or Facebook, it’s a relative minnow.
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Dorsey has been seen for some as the reason for Twitter’s stunted growth. A Twitter purist, who had helped create the platform, but didn’t want monetization at the expense of user experience.
To be fair to Dorsey he has tried to experiment with ways to generate more revenue. He also announced a target of 315 million monetizable users by the end of 2023 – and to double revenue in that year.
Twitter has done well at adding users during the pandemic, however that target is hugely ambitious.
It’s a goal that incoming chief executive, Parag Agrawal will inherit.
Indian born, Agrawal has risen though the ranks to become an apparently competent and well-respected chief technology officer. He’s been described as a safe pair of hands, and he has a huge job ahead of him.
Agrawal instantly takes on Dorsey’s monetization headache. Twitter is not Facebook. It holds far less information about you, and therefore the data it holds isn’t as valuable to advertisers.