Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on How to Reform the Platform
|David Senra||Feb 6, 2019|
How Twitter got started: We were trying to start a podcast company before accidentally creating Twitter. We had to switch our strategy because Apple came out with a podcast directory. We weren’t as passionate about it. That gave rise to working on things we were passionate about. Out of that Twitter was created.
We started playing with Twitter in 2006: At that time it was much more focused on what was happening around me and my status. Like a text selfie.
One of the most beautiful things about Twitter is the people that used it showed us what they wanted it to be: At South By Southwest people were using Twitter to tell people what session or bar they were going to. The users started using the @ symbol to address one another.
We benefited from some of the older models of the internet: Pseudonymity remains important. You get to express a little more of yourself but you also get to build identity. We want people to build an identity around whatever name they choose.
One of the things we are focused on right now is how can we clearly identify who is human and who is a bot: That is complicated because scripting gets more and more sophisticated.
Skepticism is necessary: I think a healthy skepticism, a healthy distrust is necessary. Not just for our company. But for the government. And for the technology, we use every day.
Many problems in the future are unpredictable: As a company reaches a certain scale you solve particular problems. Then new problems emerge.
I don’t see Twitter as a social network that benefits from the address book you have in your phone: I see Twitter as an interest network. You may not know the people talking about this topic but they have something interesting to say that you find valuable.
Misinformation is not a solvable problem: Humans have been lying forever. We are not going to solve the lying problem.
Do you regret not buying Instagram: Kevin Systrom was our intern. I was one of the first 10 people on Instagram. I was one of their first investors. I just think text is so powerful. It gets at thinking directly. You can’t get that in an image. And video takes a long time to consume. Text is fast and to the point. Images and text can coexist but they serve different use cases.
The context of having no way to edit a tweet: We started Twitter as texting. One way to view Twitter is a text conversation with the world. The beauty of conversation is if you say something wrong you correct it. It is not a post. It evolves.
How would you describe getting kicked out of Twitter [in 2008]? It was an awakening for me. I attribute a lot of who I am today to events around that time. I cried the day I got kicked out. It was really hard.
With the exception of working at one or two companies, I never had a real job:I did consulting. I created my own things. When I started Square I had $400,000 in credit card debt. Working at a traditional company is not for me. I love building things from scratch. I love that feeling.
What was your biggest mistake building Twitter: Not focusing on our superpower. Being too reactive to what everyone else was doing. We needed to go deeper into what we do best which is public conversation.