20 December 2021

The New York Times: “Jack Dorsey’s Twitter Departure hints at Big Tech’s Restlessness”

As Recode’s Peter Kafka wrote this year, this year’s big wave of tech executive departures partly reflects the fact that the biggest Silicon Valley giants are so huge and profitable that they no longer need visionary founders in charge — just competent managers who can keep the money-printing machines running and avoid any catastrophic mistakes.

But it also hints at how little fun the titans of tech seem to be having. The founders of today’s biggest tech giants are growing tired of managing their empires, which are increasingly burdened by political controversy and hard-to-fix problems like misinformation and hate speech. They don’t see an easy way out, and they’re more excited by building new things than fixing old ones. So they are turning those empires over to others and heading off in search of new frontiers.

It seems obvious what Mr. Dorsey’s next frontier will be. He’s obsessed with Bitcoin (it’s the only thing in his Twitter bio), and he talks about cryptocurrency and the decentralized web with the kind of zeal he once used to describe Twitter.

Kevin Roose

On some level it’s hard to fault people for moving on with their lives if they feel that they no longer belong, that they don’t make meaningful contributions anymore, or have other business ideas to pursue. But leaving (or attempting to rewrite the story, as Mark Zuckerberg is doing with the Meta rebranding) when things get rough does suggest a degree of immaturity, a lack of responsibility which should make us cautious of future initiatives from these co-called ‘visionaries’ – and there are ample reasons to distrust both Bitcoin and Facebook’s metaverse.

Mr. Dorsey with President Barack Obama in 2011
Mr. Dorsey with President Barack Obama in 2011. Larry Downing/Reuters

Personally, I am more worried about the direction Twitter is going to take under new leadership, as its new CEO, Parag Agrawal, is also a known cryptocurrency enthusiast. You may accuse me of lacking vision, but I fail to see how Twitter and crypto fit together. I fear that pushing these misguided crypto initiatives will derail the company and end up wasting time and resources on the wild-goose chase that is Bitcoin.

Post a Comment