Jack Dorsey could be out of the picture on Twitter these days, but he’s still philosophical about the company. In response to a tweet asking about his biggest regrets (coupled with, sigh, anecdotal claims of political bias on the platform), the company’s co-founder and former CEO offered the big observation that he wishes the company had never existed.
“The biggest problem and my biggest regret is that it has become a company,” Dorsey tweeted.
If you haven’t heard of Dorsey nobody before the idea that Twitter was never meant to be a company might sound strange. But he doesn’t really mean that the project should never have existed, more so that if he could rewrite history, he would (allegedly) steer Twitter toward being a protocol, not a company. “[I] I don’t believe that any individual or institution should own social media or media companies in general,” Dorsey said tweeted back in April. “This should be an open and verifiable protocol. Everything is a step towards that.”
Sure, Dorsey made absolute bank when Twitter went public in 2013, but tech billionaires always seem to have these hypothetical regrets, don’t they? (To Dorsey’s credit, at least he did I’m doing something worthwhile with much of that money.)
In response to a more sensible follow-up question from Jane Manchun Wong, Dorsey reiterated that he wished Twitter had become an open protocol rather than a company. The company has certainly struggled to please investors, chart a growth course, and even offer a definition of exactly what its mission is over the years, though it has become a real-time information dissemination program that many, among which world leaders consider essential.
Is it a Monday morning quarterback if you’re criticizing your own decisions, years after you’ve made a fortune from those same decisions? Whatever it is, it’s probably not very productive, and yet Twitter’s bearded esoteric guru continues to tweet through it even when everyone else on Twitter is going through the company’s most tumultuous phase yet.
Dorsey’s dream isn’t dead, though, it’s just more likely to be realized through a project parallel to Twitter itself. Even with the little blue bird stuck in Elon Musk’s self-driving train, Twitter’s open source spinoff Bluesky is still working toward the dream of decentralization, and its plans for a fully open social networking protocol seem to remain intact amid the chaos.
Despite his lofty ideals, Dorsey threw his weight behind Musk’s acquisition bid earlier this year. But if @jack values transparency and an open environment above all else for the social platform he co-created, a tech executive infamous for misleading statements, concealment of company data and throwing NDAs around is a strange person to befriend, to say the least. Of course, Dorsey could make many hundreds of millions from the deal if it goes through, though that’s all very much up in the air as Musk and Twitter they go to court in October.