Jack Dorsey is generally well-respected as the founder of Twitter and Square.
But he hasn’t always done well-respected things, according to a New York Times adaptation from Nick Bilton’s book about Twitter.
Dorsey was fired from his position as CEO of Twitter, the company he dreamed up. Bilton paints Dorsey as a distracted, inexperienced manager who was more interested in learning about fashion design than running Twitter.
But when Williams overthrew him as the company’s CEO, Dorsey was hurt.
He was so hurt, Bilton says he nearly went to Twitter’s greatest competitor, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg had been trying to buy Twitter; Dorsey personally informed Zuckerberg when he left Twitter. That led Zuckerberg to make him a job offer, but not for a specific role. Dorsey worried it might look like a demotion.
Facebook had been quietly exploring the possibility of buying the fledgling company, and while Dorsey was intrigued, Williams was not. The day after he was ousted, Dorsey called Zuckerberg to confidentially share the news. To Dorsey’s surprise, Zuckerberg asked if there was a way to prevent the firing, perhaps in order to save the deal. Dorsey assured him that there wasn’t, and Zuckerberg switched his plan from trying to buy Twitter to trying to hire Dorsey. So Dorsey met with Chris Cox, who ran Facebook’s product division, at a Philz Coffee in San Francisco. The discussions soon became more serious. But they didn’t have a specific role in mind. Zuckerberg wanted Dorsey to simply join Facebook in an unspecified capacity, and they would worry about a position later.
As he weighed Zuckerberg’s offer, Dorsey began considering the consequences…Twitter’s embarrassment might prompt a leak about what had really happened. Of greater concern was the appearance of joining Facebook without a significant job title. Would that look like a step down? “Let’s just keep talking and see if we can find the right position for me,” he told Zuckerberg. “I’ve got to think about this.”
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