Corporate circles across the world are abuzz with a conspiracy theory that Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is exulting as Elon Musk bought Twitter early this morning. From CEOs to vice presidents to general managers and lowest-rung executives are saying that Dorsey, who resigned as Twitter CEO in November 2021 reportedly because the Twitter Board asked him to step down, is the key person in the whole saga of Musk acquiring the social media site.
Speculators go to the extent of suggesting that Musk is Dorsey’s proxy or at least a part of a plan hatched by the former social media company CEO as some sort of avenging his humiliation by the Twitter Board.
Dorsey is hardly hiding it. He believes that with Musk buying the company, Twitter is finally heading in the right direction. Both Musk and Dorsey have always been on friendly terms. They have been spotted together or heard converging on several topics in the past, especially on their shared interests in Bitcoin and possibilities for cryptocurrency. They also seem to have mutually compatible thoughts on subjects like web3 and its futuristics.
Tesla CEO Musk has been seen supporting Dorsey on several occasions too. He was one of the few who supported Dorsey when Paul Singer, hedge fund manager, activist investor, and co-CEO of Elliott Management was reportedly pressuring him in 2020 to step down.
Dorsey had co-founded Twitter in 2006 and he served as CEO until 2008. He later returned to the position in 2015 and stepped down, handing over his responsibilities to now CEO Parag Agrawal, last year. Since then, even though he still holds a seat on the board, he has kept himself away from commenting on anything Twitter-related. That is until Musk bought the platform, which Dorsey feels is great for the company.
Musk and Dorsey have also been seen supporting one another in bad and good times. At the time when Dorsey was fighting with the board, Musk came out in support and said “Just want to say that I support @Jack as Twitter CEO. He has a good heart.”
It all started back in 2020, when Elliott Management purchased $1 billion of Twitter stock and demanded major changes at the company, with the primary aim of removing Dorsey from the CEO’s position. At the time, Dorsey refused to step down as the CEO, arguing that he was a founder of Twitter and therefore should be the one who could run it.
Last year, Elliott Management increased its holding in Twitter by buying more than $200 million of stock, at a time when the company’s value fell by more than 15 per cent. This possibly forced Dorsey to step down from the CEO’s position.
According to a news report, the Twitter Board reportedly accused Dorsey of being inattentive to Twitter’s earnings potential and said that he was splitting his time as CEO of Square, shares of which constituted around 85 per cent of his wealth. Dorsey was also criticized for moving too slowly, with a preference for talking instead of doing. Being a good friend, when Dorsey returned as Twitter CEO in 2015, Musk said, in friendly advice, that he should not run two companies at a time.
Last year, a Vanityfair report by Nick Bilton stated that Dorsey resigned abruptly. In the report, one of the Twitter employees highlighted that instead of having “an overlapping transitionary period” where Jack should have trained his successor Parag Agrawal, the replacement happened immediately, which was kind of odd.
Though Dorsey never revealed the reason behind the resignation, it is believed that his sudden resignation was due to pressure from the board. Signing off as Twitter CEO, Jack just said that Twitter was “ready to move on from its founders”.
It is only recently when Twitter was evaluating Musk’s offer that Jack took a dig at the board members. He said that the board has “consistently been the dysfunction of the company”.
Dorsey seems to have a lot of faith in Musk and it shows in his tweets. Hours after Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, Dorsey shared his happiness. “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step,” he said, highlighting the fact that after the deal is complete, Twitter will cease to be a publicly listed company and will become a private company with full ownership resting with Musk.
Considering the bonhomie between Musk and Dorsey and how happy the former Twitter CEO seems at the deal, there is a buzz that it is possible that Musk and Dorsey jointly set the wheels in motion that led to the sale of Twitter.
For example, Kara Swisher, arguably the top and most influential tech journalist in Silicon Valley, says this in a sort of thinking aloud tweet. “This is like Knives Out, internet moguls version,” Swisher said while quote tweeting another tweet that said, “Crazy thought what if @Jack masterminded this whole thing.”
This original tweet, by the way, came from David Sacks, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
While the conspiracy is just a conspiracy theory, the way Dorsey has endorsed Musk, and the way the two seem to have interacted previously, it will not be completely preposterous to think that Dorsey played some important role in Musk’s successful bid for Twitter. After all, do keep in mind that Dorsey at the moment — and for a few more weeks — is part of the Twitter Board, the same board that is okaying the deal.