Decades before Jack Dorsey became a titan of the technology industry with not one but two CEO titles to his name and an eye-popping $12billion net worth, he was a young man from St Louis who dabbled in modeling and aspired to become a fashion designer, or a massage therapist.
Now that Dorsey, 45, resigned as Twitter‘s chief executive officer, the bearded billionaire with a penchant for nose rings, tie-dye shirts, long walks and fasting will have plenty of time to pursue his new passion: bitcoin-mining.
Dorsey still remains the CEO of Square Inc, the hugely successful financial payments company that he co-founded in 2010.
In recent years, Dorsey has been using his considerable public platform to proselytize about the merits of cryptocurrency, particularly bitcoin.
Next chapter: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey resigned on Monday after 16 years with the company he co-founded. He is currently working on a new bitcoin-mining venture
Dorsey got his start as a model before turning his attention to computer programming. He dropped out of NYU a month shy of graduating
In July, he announced that Square was launching a new bitcoin-based venture ‘with the sole goal of making it easy to create non-custodial, permissionless and decentralized financial services,’ he tweeted at the time to his 5.9million followers.
Speaking at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, Dorsey said he hopes bitcoin can help bring about ‘world peace.’
Dorsey was born and raised in St Louis, the son of of a businessman and a homemaker.
In his youth, Dorsey dabbled in vintage clothing modeling and created dispatch routing software used by taxi companies before enrolling in University of Missouri-Rolla. After more than two years, he transferred to New York University, but dropped out just one semester shy of graduating in 1997.
Dorsey conceived of the idea that would later turn into Twitter while still at NYU.
He moved to California to pursue a career as a programmer and launched his own company providing web-based dispatch services in 2000.
Around that time, Dorsey began exploring the idea of sending instant messages in real time to a small group of people, and approached a podcasting company called Odeo, where he met his future Twitter co-founders, Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
Dorsey and Stone build a prototype of Twitter in about two weeks, and the new service drew many users at Odeo before the company folded.
Twitter, initially known as twttr, was launched on March 21, 2006. Dorsey’s first-ever tweet simply read: just setting up my twttr,’
Seven months later, the burgeoning social media company’s co-founders purchased the domain name twitter.com for $7,000.
Dorsey (far right) co-founded Twitter in 2006 after meeting his partners at the podcasting company Odeo
On March 21, 2006, Dorsey sent out his very first tweet, which read: ‘just setting up my twttr’
Dorsey took the reins of the company as CEO but continued pursuing his other passions, including fashion design and yoga.
In his 2013 book Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, author Nick Bilton quoted Dorsey as telling his business partner Noah Glass: ‘I’m going to quit tech and become a fashion designer.’
Dorsey would leave work to take fashion design classes at Apparel Arts, a design school in San Francisco. His other hobbies included drawing and hot yoga.
At one point, Twitter co-founder Williams told Dorsey: ‘you can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter. But you can’t be both,’ according to Bilton’s book.
In 2008, Dorsey was replaced by Williams as CEO but returned to the role in 2015.
In his goodbye letter addressed to Twitter employees on Monday, Dorsey said he has ‘worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders’ and that to focus too much on whether companies are led by their founders is ‘severely limiting.’
Dorsey wrote that he also will be leaving the company’s board around May 2022, saying that he wants to ‘give space’ to new CEO Parag Agrawal to lead.
‘I’m really sad… yet really happy,’ Dorsey wrote in the note addressed to his ‘team.’ ‘There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.’