Jack Dorsey is an American entrepreneur and programmer. Most know him as the co-founder of Twitter, but Dorsey is also the co-founder, chairperson, and principal executive officer of Block – the creator of financial services platform Square.
After brief stints at the Missouri University of Science and New York University, Dorsey moved to San Francisco in 1999 where he started a company. In addition to taxi dispatch, Dorsey worked on software that could also be used by couriers and emergency services vehicles.
As he recounted in a Flickr post: “One night in July of that year I had an idea to make a more “live” LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it.”
Dorsey built a simple prototype but no one seemed interested and the idea was shelved for five years or so. When he landed a job at podcast company Odeo, he met Evan Williams and Biz Stone and found a creative environment where the idea could be pursued further.
The trio built another prototype in two weeks and showed it to their Odeo co-workers also served as guinea pigs. The prototype was based around a central premise of enabling users to easily share their status with friends via SMS without having to write a blog post.
Twitter is born
Twitter was named after the original code name of the project twttr, itself inspired by Flickr and the five-character length of SMS short codes. The decision was also influenced by the fact that the domain Twitter.com was already registered.
Dorsey posted the first Twitter message on March 21, 2006, under the simple handle “@jack” and the platform went public four months later. In October, Dorsey, Williams, Stone, and others founded Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo’s assets. They then spun Twitter out into its own company in April 2007.
Dorsey was appointed CEO at the age of 30 but was soon replaced by Williams in October 2008.
When Twitter held an IPO in 2013, he attained billionaire status.
Dorsey co-founded the multinational tech conglomerate Block in 2009 alongside friend Jim McKelvey and also Tristan O’Tierney.
Dorsey changed the name of the company to Block, Inc. in December 2021 to reflect his interest in blockchain and the increasingly varied services the company offered.
Dorsey also founded the decentralized social network protocol Bluesky. It was announced as a spin-out organization from Twitter in 2019, recruited its first employees in 2021, and was incorporated as a public benefit company soon after.
The blockchain-based social media platform earned over 30,000 users after its beta launch and, before selling the company, Dorsey had plans for Twitter to become of the first major proponents of decentralized social media.
Primarily, the company intends to establish “a new foundation for social networking which gives creators independence from platforms, developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience.”
- Jack Dorsey is an American entrepreneur and programmer. Most know him as the co-founder of Twitter, but Dorsey is also the co-founder, chairperson, and principal executive officer of Block – the creator of the financial services platform Square.
- Partly inspired by his dispatch business and also by AOL Instant Messenger and LiveJournal, Dorsey had the idea to develop a short message communication service in 2000. The idea was shelved for a few years before he developed a prototype at Odeo with eventual Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
- Dorsey co-founded the multinational tech conglomerate Block in 2009 alongside friend Jim McKelvey and Tristan O’Tierney. He also announced the decentralized social protocol Bluesky in 2019.
- Jack Dorsey: American entrepreneur and programmer, known for co-founding Twitter and being involved with the financial services platform Square.
- Early Career: Dorsey began by writing dispatch software for taxi companies during high school. He then moved to San Francisco, where he worked on software for couriers and emergency services vehicles.
- Twitter Inspiration: In 2000, Dorsey conceived the idea for a real-time short message communication service, influenced by his dispatch business and platforms like AOL Instant Messenger. The idea was initially put aside but gained traction when he joined Odeo and collaborated with Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
- Twitter’s Creation: The team built a prototype for easy sharing of status updates via SMS, leading to the birth of Twitter. The name was inspired by the project’s original code name “twttr” and its five-character length. Dorsey posted the first tweet in 2006, and Twitter went public in 2007.
- Leadership Changes: Dorsey became CEO of Twitter at 30 but was later replaced by Williams. He achieved billionaire status when Twitter had its IPO in 2013.
- Twitter’s Revenue Model: Twitter generates revenue through advertising and data licensing. In 2021, it earned $4.5 billion from advertising and $570 million from data licensing, though it faced a net loss.
- Square and Block: Dorsey co-founded Square in 2009, providing merchant services and payment solutions. He later changed the company’s name to Block, Inc. in 2021 to reflect its broader services and his interest in blockchain technology.
- Bluesky: Dorsey initiated the decentralized social network protocol, Bluesky, with plans to establish a foundation for independent creators, developers, and user experiences. It was announced as a spin-out from Twitter and aims to promote decentralized social media.