Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a profile of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. About midway through, reporter Nick Bilton reports that Jack Dorsey has seen his role at Twitter reduced. While this had been known for some time, what was surprising where the reasons:
“Mr. Dorsey’s role has since been reduced after employees complained that he was difficult to work with and repeatedly changed his mind about product directions. He no longer has anyone directly reporting to him, although he is still involved in strategic decisions.”
On Tuesday, Dorsey posted a response on his tumblr. He says the reduction of his role was always part of the long-term plan when he came back to Twitter in 2011.:
“In Spring of 2011, Dick asked me to take an operational role overseeing product, design, and brand. Our shared goal was to get those organizations back under him as soon as possible, simply because it was the right thing to do for the company. We moved all of my reports back under him in January of this year after leadership was firmly in place. This allowed me to focus on refining our brand and logo, to work more with Dick and the leadership team on our direction forward, and ultimately return the majority of my time to Square, where I’m CEO. I’m back to going to Twitter on Tuesday afternoons, something I started before taking the interim operational role.”
While Dorsey doesn’t directly call the claims of employee complaints false, his version is certainly different. No one could fault Dorsey, of course, for wanting to simplify and focus more on Square, where he is CEO, and which is red hot at the moment.
Still, it’s interesting that anonymous employees at Twitter went behind Dorsey’s back to complain about him to New York Times reporter Nick Bilton. If anyone ought to have a handle on what’s happening inside Twitter these days, it ought to be Bilton, who is after all, writing a book about the company.
And I would assume that Bilton wouldn’t have published that characterization without feeling it was solid, and essential to the profile. It won’t help his relationship with Dorsey, or his access (if he has any) down the road to Dorsey. Not the kind of bridge you burn lightly.