Discover more from Undigital
Jack Dorsey's Resignation Letter to Mark Zuckerberg
You've probably heard by now, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder & CEO of Twitter, resigned effective yesterday. The news had been rumored yesterday morning, with CNBC reporting that Dorsey's departure was imminent. By afternoon, Dorsey had confirmed it, tweeting an email he sent to employees announcing that he was stepping down.
Dorsey's email mentioned his successor, Parag Agrawal, and thanked employees for their ambition and potential. He even mentioned Bret Taylor, who is the President and COO at Salesforce, and is now Chairman of Twitter's Board.
More interestingly, however, is what Dorsey had to say about Mark Zuckerberg. To be fair, he doesn't actually mention him by name, but read this passage and tell me it's not a direct shot at Facebook's founder and CEO:
After almost 16 years of having a role at our company... I decided it's finally time for me to leave. Why? There's a lot of talk about the importance of a company being founder-led. Ultimately I believe that's severely limiting and a single point of failure.
If that wasn't direct enough, Dorsey had even more pointed words. "There aren't many companies that get to this level," Dorsey wrote. "And there aren't many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we'll prove this was the right move."
Even without mentioning Zuckerberg by name, it doesn't take much to see the connection. No other founder exerts as much control over a company as Zuckerberg--who literally owns a majority of the voting shares in Facebook--does over the company he founded in his dorm room at Harvard.
More than that, no other founder is as closely associated with the dire problems facing a company as Zuckerberg. In confirmation of what most people already knew, Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen made it clear that Zuckerberg is fully aware of the harm caused by the company's pursuit of "engagement at all cost," but isn't willing to make changes.
You could argue, then, that Facebook's biggest problem is Mark Zuckerberg. If there was ever a "single point of failure" in a company, this is it.
If you think I'm reading too much into the email, consider this: Dorsey has mostly been an absentee CEO at Twitter for years, spending more of his time leading Square, the payment processing company he founded, where he is also CEO.
That's not to say that Twitter won't benefit from having a full-time CEO, as activist investors have pushed for in the past. Dorsey was known to pay little attention to areas of the company that didn't interest him and was notoriously slow to make decisions.
At the same time, however, Dorsey was known to delegate most decisions to his deputies anyway (most notably, Agrawal). My point is that I'm not sure Dorsey had himself at the top of the list of "founder CEOs that have to go."
It's fair to debate Dorsey's reasons for leaving, and more curiously--his reasons for leaving now. On one hand, the fact that Dorsey resigned, effective immediately, came as a surprise. No one was even in the office as the company gave everyone a "day of rest."
On the other hand, Dorsey's departure almost seems overdue. Twitter has been unable to keep pace with its tech brethren over the past few years in most of the metrics that matter. Even as it has accelerated the pace of launching new products, and has recently reported solid revenue numbers, active user growth has mostly stalled.
Regardless of his reason, I think it's clear that he took the opportunity to make a statement about founder CEOs in general, and one notorious tech CEO in particular.
I wrote more about the idea of CEOs getting out of the way in my column at Inc.com this morning:
Jack Dorsey's Resignation Letter from Twitter Reveals a Harsh Truth About Leadership Most People Never Learn | Inc.com — www.inc.com Twitter's co-founder says he doesn't want to be a "single point of failure."
Other articles you might like:
An introduction to Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO - The Verge — www.theverge.com Parag Agrawal is Twitter’s new CEO, replacing longtime chief executive and co-founder Jack Dorsey as the head of the social media company. Here’s a look at his past history and major projects at Twitter.
Andy Jassy, Amazon’s New CEO, Enters the Ring | Vanity Fair — www.vanityfair.com Jeff Bezos’s handpicked successor wants the world to know he is humble and understated. Will running a $1.75 trillion company—in the midst of a changing labor landscape and seemingly inevitable regulatory onslaught—change that?
Apple Just Announced It's Doing Something It Has Never Done Before, and It's Great News for iPhone Owners | Inc.com — www.inc.com The company has said it will now supply parts to third-party repair shops even if they aren't Apple Authorized Service Providers.
Twitter Made a Small Change and It's a Very Bad Sign That It's Becoming More Like Facebook | Inc.com — www.inc.com It's getting harder to avoid the algorithm.