Bored with their empire, Tech Titans seek new frontiers

Mr. Dorsey, whose oracle beard and quirky wellness routines have made him a cult figure in Silicon Valley, has become a crypto influencer in recent months. Bitcoin fans on Monday cheered his resignation, assuming he would spend his newfound spare time defending their case. (A more likely scenario is that he will continue to push crypto projects on Square, where he has already started building a decentralized financial company.)

Mr Dorsey didn’t respond to a request for comment so I’m not quite sure what’s behind his departure, but it’s easy to see why he’d become restless on Twitter after more than 15 years of involvement. He cut his teeth during the internet boom of the late 2000s and early 2010s, when being the co-founder of a popular social media app was a pretty stellar gig. You were invited to fancy conferences, investors showered you with money and the media proclaimed you a disruptive innovator. If you were lucky, you were even invited to the White House to hang out with President Obama. Social media was changing the world – Kony 2012! The Arab Spring! — and as long as your fuel consumption figures kept moving in the right direction, life was good.

These days, running a giant social media company – by the looks of it – is pretty miserable. Sure, you are rich and famous, but you spend your days managing a bloated bureaucracy and being blamed for the demise of society. Instead of disrupting and innovating, you sit in boring meetings and fly to Washington for politicians to yell at you. The cool kids no longer want to work for you — they’re flipping NFTs and building DeFi apps in web3 — and regulators are breathing down your neck.

In many ways, today’s crypto scene has inherited the loose, free-spirited spirit of the early social media companies. Crypto startups are raising tons of money, attracting massive amounts of hype and embarking on utopian-sounding missions to change the world. The crypto universe is full of weird geniuses with unusual pedigrees and big risks, and web3 – a vision for a decentralized internet built around blockchains – contains many of the kinds of complex technical problems engineers love to solve. Those factors, plus the huge sums of money flowing into crypto, have made it a tempting landing place for burnt-out tech workers looking to reconnect with their youthful optimism — and perhaps CEOs too.

“Silicon Valley technology is the old guard, distributed crypto is the frontier,” Naval Ravikant, another crypto booster and early Twitter investor, tweeted this month.

Square, which builds mobile payment systems, has always been the most natural outlet for Mr. Dorsey’s crypto dreams. But he has tried to incorporate some of Bitcoin’s principles into Twitter. The company added Bitcoin tips and last year launched a decentralization project called Bluesky, which aims to create an open protocol that allows third-party developers to build Twitter-like social networks with different rules and features than the main Twitter app. (Mr Agrawal, who takes over from Mr Dorsey on Twitter, has been heavily involved in these initiatives, meaning they are unlikely to go away if Mr Dorsey does.)

A cynical interpretation of what is happening to Mr. Dorsey and his colleagues is that they are simply trying to evade responsibility – shooting themselves into space and fooling around in crypto while other people clean up the mess they have in their old jobs. created.

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