From Dispatching Services to Twitter and Square by Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey

It definitely has to start with every action you do ... And it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference.

- Jack Dorsey

Innovator, web developer and computer programmer that is captivated by maps, Jack Dorsey, is a serial wanderer, mentally and physically. He is best known as the creator of the one of the biggest phenomenon in the internet history, Twitter.

Dorsey that held the billionaire status after founding another company, Square, is focused not only on breakthrough ideas but also radically different kinds of corporate structures to contain and develop them. Dorsey inspired many entrepreneurs as a model of how to start and run a company.

Early Life

Jack Dorsey was born on November 19th, 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the oldest child of Tim and Marcia Dorsey. He went to high school at Bishop DuBourg High School where he became interested in computers and communications and began programming.

At his teenage years, Dorsey started to have interest in logistic dispatching. At the age of 16, Dorsey tried to start his own bicycle courier service, in part to have an excuse to write code to run the business – until he found little demand for bike messengers in St. Louis.

After graduating high school, Dorsey attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology. While attending college, Dorsey discovered a security flaw in a website operated by a New York City company called Dispatch Management Services, run by Greg Kidd. Dorsey found Kidd’s email address on the company’s computer system and sent him a note alerting him to the flaw. Kidd immediately offered Dorsey a job, and he bolted Missouri for the Big Apple.

Dorsey left Missouri University of Science and Technology and transfers to New York University where he dropped out of college before receiving his degree. During those days, Dorsey wore a nose ring, had dreadlocks and tattooed.

Early Careers

Jack Dorsey maintained close relationship with Gregg Kidd. The two went on to start a new company called DNet, which provided same-day delivery of e-commerce purchases. DNet received early funding from the Band of Angels, but the company never quite got traction; the idea came a decade early.

After DNet flopped, Dorsey flew home to St. Louis, trained to be a massage therapist. Beside being a massage therapist, Dorsey also was once a botanical illustration and clothing designer.

Dorsey settled into a tiny shed in the courtyard of Kidd’s house in the Rockridge section of Oakland. Dorsey spent his time helping take care of Kidd’s infant daughter and then picked up work writing dispatch and tickets software for an outfit providing ferry service to Alcatraz. That led to a full-time gig at the podcasting startup but now-defunct Odeo, a directory and search destination website for RSS syndicated audio and video company, built by a former Google employee named Evan Williams.

In 2000, Dorsey started his company in Oakland to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the web. When he first saw implementations of instant messaging, Dorsey had wondered if the software's user status output could be shared among friends easily. Shortly after starting his company, in July 2000, Dorsey came up with the idea for a site that would combine the broad reach of dispatch software with the ease of instant messaging, and approached Odeo to pitch the concept.


Jack Dorsey

Together with Biz Stone and Odeo founders, Evan Williams and Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey started a new company, called Obvious, which they later changed the name to 'Twitter'. Within two weeks, Dorsey had built a simple site where users could instantly post short messages of 140 characters or less, known in Twitter parlance as "tweets." The idea attracted many users at Odeo and investment from Evan Williams who had left Google after selling them Pyra Labs and Blogger.

During the early days of the company's founding, a compilation chronicling the originally named "twttr" and the time leading up to the official launch. On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the world's first tweet: "just setting up my twttr." The tweet is shown in a timeline revealing Twitter's beginning.

Dorsey was named the company's Chief Executive Officer. As the first Twitter, Inc. CEO, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of funding by the venture capitalists who backed the company. Co-founder Evan Williams replaced Dorsey as in October 2008, with Dorsey staying on as company's Executive Chairman. Williams held the job for 2 years before being replaced by Dick Costolo, formerly Twitter's Chief Operating Officer.

As the service grew in popularity, Twitter have seen many positive and negative reviews. IT was once said as an "initially derided by some as a tool for the shallow and self-centered to broadcast the minutiae of their lives to the universe." Some even mocked the service. The problems continues when, the site suffered from frequent service outages.

Dorsey chose improving uptime as top priority, more than he expect to create revenue in which at that time, Twitter was not yet designed to earn. As the popularity of Twitter kept climbing, celebrities, political figures and CEOs started to join the service, Twitter was no longer the aim of many jokes.

Suddenly the head of the "microblogging" movement, Twitter became a powerful platform for U.S. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008, as a method for updating their supporters while on the campaign trail.

Twitter became the national and international prominence after U.S. Presidential candidates in 2008 used the service as a method for updating their supporters on the campaign trail. In June 2009 presidential elections in Iran, when thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets to protest the claimed victory of the Iran's President. When the government blocked text messaging and satellite feeds of foreign news coverage, Iranian Twitter users flooded the site with live updates. A U.S. State Department official even emailed Dorsey to request that Twitter delay its scheduled maintenance so that protestors could keep tweeting.

Twitter continued its debut worldwide as more people are using the service, tweeting their lives into the microblogging system. The service rapidly gained over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. Dorsey described the commercial use of Twitter and its API as two things that could lead to paid features. His three guiding principles, which are shared by the whole company and through its culture, are simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship.

On June 10, 2015, Costolo announced his CEO resignation effective as of July 1st. Dorsey first took Costolo's place as interim CEO upon his departure. On October 5th, 2015, Dorsey was then named permanent CEO of Twitter.

Square and Other Ventures

Jack Dorsey, however, had set his sights on other projects. He became an investor at Foursquare, a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, and launched a new venture, Square, Inc. (originally "Squirrel"), with his friend, James McKelvey. Square allows people to receive credit card payments through a square-shaped device plugged in to their iPhone, iPad or Android devices via the headphone jack. Dorsey is Square's CEO.

"In terms of technology, we're going to see a better and more immediate experience around the everyday things we do in life," Dorsey said.

The company grew from 10 employees in December 2009 to over a hundred employees by June 2011. Square's office is located on Mission Street in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. Square that went public in 2010, was valued at $3.2 billion in September 2012.

Dorsey is also an active angel investor, having put money into Instagram and Kickstarter, among other companies. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Walt Disney Company on December 2013.

On April 2020, Dorsey donated one billion dollars, or a quarter of his net worth, for coronavirus relief.

Personal Life, Wealth and Award

Jack Dorsey is the mysterious owner of a house on El Camino Del Mar in the exclusive neighborhood of San Francisco. The house that is facing the Golden Gate Bridge was sold in February 2012 in a private transaction after being withdrawn from the local multiple-listing service. in May 2012, he took all of Square's 330 employees on a walk across the bridge, which he called a "spectacular influence on all I do."

Dorsey that once dreams to be the Mayor of New York City and sailing around the world, is a committed urbanist, and prefer walking as a mode of transportation. He tweets about the books he reads while on the bus. Dorsey, who once said he spent eight hours a day at Square and eight hours a day at Twitter, is spending less time at Twitter.

Dorsey has his aunt as his biggest influence in life, and have interests in ballet, fiction reading, urban strolls, luxury products, map-making and diary-writing.

With about 26 percent of Square, worth $845 million that Dorsey owns, combined with his 3 percent stake in Twitter, the company for which he is justly famous as co-founder and the technological brains, Dorsey is placing over $1 billion on paper wealth according to Forbes. In June 2015, Dorsey is estimated to have a net worth of $2.4 billion. In September 2015, his net worth decreases to $1.5 billion.

Dorsey that often works up to 18 hours a day, doesn't have a desk in his offices as he's usually mobile. As a CEO of both Twitter and Square, he frequently travel from one office to another which is just a block away in San Francisco, at regular intervals. In the mornings he's at Twitter, and in the afternoons, he's at Square.

Dorsey was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.