The New Yorker has written a great, long profile of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. (And it’s a huge counterpoint to Nick Bilton’s book on Twitter, which makes Dorsey look like a backstabber.)
The New Yorker story, by D.T. Max, contains these bizarre details, which we’ve quoted in indented text:
1. His skin once turned orange:
Formerly a vegan — too much beta-carotene turned his skin orange — he is now on the Paleo diet, which forbids refined sugar and grains.
2. He rides the bus to work every day:
A ride costs two dollars, but Dorsey has a monthly pass, so the actual price, he told me on a recent commute, is closer to a dollar 70-five. “If you buy it in bulk, it saves you a little bit of money,” he explained.
3. He never reads real books:
When people give him books, he says, he gives them away, then downloads the e-book, which he usually deletes from his iPad after he’s finished.
4. He eats at the same restaurants every week:
He has a weekly restaurant schedule: “Zuni on Tuesday, Aziza on Monday, 54 Mint on Wednesday. Thursday, Tiburon. Friday, I don’t go anywhere.”
5. He is a semi-reluctant billionaire:
According to Forbes, Dorsey is America’s sixth-youngest billionaire. Seven years ago, he was in debt. He seems somewhat discomfited by this turn: he likes money but dislikes himself for liking it. At one point, he commented, “One of my ex-girlfriends said to me, ‘Money is round. It’s made to roll.’ I definitely took that in.” He quickly added, “It really weighs on me. I definitely feel the most fundamental issue is economic equality.”
6. He once had dreadlocks that were blue and orange:
At the end of 1999, [he] moved to San Francisco and started a Web-based dispatch firm. (Dorsey withdrew from N.Y.U. a semester short of graduating.) Dorsey took on the look of a bike messenger, with dyed dreadlocks that ranged from bright blue to peroxide orange.
7. He’s a failed massage therapist:
He hoped to open a chair-massage service for programmers, in San Francisco. He imagined having a place that “gave programmers code therapy and massage therapy.” (He promises that he was serious.) But when he went back to San Francisco, in 2005, he discovered that “everyone was a massage therapist,” and dropped the idea.
8. He once got a nose ring:
“That really hurt,” he says. “That was a mistake.”
9. He once rewrote the online ticketing program for the Alcatraz ferry:
He searched ads on Craigslist and found an opportunity: the ticketing program for the tourist ferry to Alcatraz needed a revision. The system was beset by fraud, and Dorsey wrote a more secure program.
10. He once hired two anarchists to work at Twitter:
Dorsey remembers the two anarchist programmers refusing to sit during sit-down meetings and refusing to stand during the standup ones.
11. He once stole some money from New York mayor Mike Bloomberg. He used the mayor’s credit card to demonstrate Square before people realised that money would be deducted from their accounts:
… he pulled the same trick on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who demanded the money back.
12. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used to cook him dinner:
For a time, Zuckerberg and Dorsey met regularly for dinner. When they got together, Zuckerberg cooked. During the meal, they warily conversed about technological trends. Dorsey says, “He’d ask me if I had any ideas. Am I seeing anything in video? And, immediately, I’d turn back the question: ‘What are you guys seeing?’ ”
13. He thinks about chucking the whole thing in and disappearing from the tech world:
“I’m at a point in my life when I want to go deeper,” he said. “I could just move down to Marfa and become an artist.”