Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the Twitter
micro-blogging site, is returning to the company he co-founded in 2006 (Twitter
was spun out into a new company in April 2007) to make
the idea he says he had from when he was eight years old, more mainstream.
Dorsey who is 34, is
looking to challenge Facebook's dominance in
advertising among social media companies, he
told students at Columbia University's Graduate
School of Journalism on Tuesday.
"We have a
lot of mainstream awareness, but mainstream
relevancy is still a challenge," Dorsey said, according to a
report on the lecture from The Wall Street
To that end,
have to become
that people can
get into it
he said at
The current issue of
Vanity Fair says Dorsey "found himself working for
a San Francisco software start-up called Odeo, which was going nowhere. One day
he proposed an idea to his boss based on a notion that Dorsey had been noodling
over for years. He was fascinated by the haiku of taxicab communication - - the
way drivers and dispatchers succinctly convey locations by radio. Dorsey
suggested that his company create a service that would allow anyone to write a
line or two about himself, using a cell phone’s keypad, and then send that
message to anyone who wanted to receive it. The short text alert, for him, was a
way to add a missing human element to the digital picture of a pulsing,
"With Twitter, it was an idea I had when
I was eight years old and started developing when I was 14,"
he told The Economist in a video interview.
Dorsey told students at Columbia
that, after a few years away from Twitter that he has spent leading another
startup Square, he's returning to head up Twitter's product development while
maintaining his role at the other company.
"I live and breathe these companies," Dorsey said, and suggested that
they are fundamentally similar in that they operate as utilities for consumers.
"I see Twitter as a pure utility, like electricity or water," he said.
"It's as good as how people want to use it."
Dorsey touched upon
his business model for
Square, which provides consumers an
attachment to their tablets (e.g iPad) and
smartphones that enables them to handle credit
card transactions simply and in some cases for a
smaller fee than the established system.
"Square is enabling people to start a service or
a business immediately," he said.
Dorsey in 2008 was replaced as CEO of Twitter by
another co-founder, Evan Williams (founder of Blogger.com). The two are reported to have had personal
differences. The third co-founder of Twitter is Biz Stone.
Williams was replaced as CEO by a former Google
manager, Dick Costolo, last October.
Dorsey will become executive chairman of the 450
Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters and Jack Dorsey has 1.6m
people following his tweets.