When Jack Dorsey, the billionaire tech CEO of Twitter, was 15 years old, he developed software that allowed taxis to communicate with dispatchers in real time.
That may not sound unusual in today’s climate of innovation, but to put it in perspective, the year was 1990 – 17 years before the iPhone would come out and 14 years before Facebook existed.
That early software invention spurred Dorsey to do what a lot of other tech CEOs did – go to college, quit college and move to California.
After Dorsey moved there in his early 20s, he hustled his computer knowledge and ideas for connecting people in real time and ended up presenting an idea for a social media outlet that would allow people to share what was on their mind – or what they had for lunch – with friends and family.
The result was Twitter.
He has been in, then out and then back in as head of Twitter, and during his time out, he developed a second tech company, Square.
He’s testified before Congress about the social media outlet’s role in shaping the 2016 presidential election, and last month had a sit-down with the winner of that election.
Dorsey, who meditates, fasts and takes ice baths, is one of the tech creators who seems to always create news, or at least start a conversation.
Here are a few things to know about Jack Dorsey:
- Dorsey was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on Nov. 19, 1976.
- He worked as a model when he was young.
- He became interested in computers as a teen and began programming while still a student at Bishop DuBourg High School. When he was 15, he wrote software that helped taxi drivers remain in real-time communication with dispatchers. Some taxi companies still use that software.
- Dorsey attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology before attending New York University. He dropped out of NYU before he received his degree.
- He moved to Oakland, California, in 2000 to start a business that expanded his taxi dispatch software. As that business grew, Dorsey had the idea of combining the taxicab dispatch software with an instant messaging system.
- According to Biz Stone, an executive with the former Silicon Valley company Odeo, Dorsey pitched an instant messaging system. "He came to us with this idea: What if you could share your status with all your friends really easily, so they know what you're doing?” From that meeting, Dorsey, Stone and Evan Williams, the founder of Odeo, started a company called Obvious. Obvious would change and develop to become Twitter.
- Dorsey was named CEO of Twitter in 2006.
- Dorsey sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006. It read: “just setting up my twttr.”
- Dorsey was replaced by Williams as Twitter CEO two years later, on Oct. 16, 2008. He stayed with Twitter as company chairman.
- Twitter struggled at first but grew to become more prominent when celebrities, politicians and CEOs began using it. By 2010, there were 55 million tweets being sent daily.
- Dorsey invested in Foursquare, a social networking company, and launched Square. Square allows people to use a small device that you can plug into a phone or computer to receive credit card payments. In March 2011, Dorsey announced Square was processing $1 million in gross payment volume per day. Gross payment volume climbed to $2 million per day in April and $3 million per day in May.
- On March 28, 2011, Dorsey returned to Twitter as executive chairman when Dick Costolo replaced Williams as CEO.
- Twitter’s initial public offering in November 2013 made Dorsey a billionaire in a 24-hour period.
- On June 10, 2015, Costolo resigned as CEO of Twitter. Dorsey assumed the post of interim CEO until he was named permanent CEO of Twitter on Oct. 5, 2015.
- His account was once suspended by Twitter. Dorsey said it was an “internal mistake.”
- Dorsey has donated to Democratic Party candidates.
- In September 2018, Dorsey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
- He met with President Donald Trump in April 2019 about Twitter’s move to limit or remove some users.
- Dorsey said in a fitness podcast recently that he rarely eats. He said he eats one meal a day during the week and only water from Friday until Sunday night. He said he eats “fish, chicken, or steak with a salad, spinach, asparagus or Brussels sprouts,” plus “mixed berries or some dark chocolate for dessert and also… (some) red wine.”
- Dorsey lives in San Francisco and walks 5 miles to work each day.