This morning, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced he’s laying off 336 employees, but would do so “with the utmost respect for each and every person.” Also this morning, Twitter engineer Bart Teeuwisse woke up, checked his phone, and learned that he’d been laid off through iOS notifications.
Twitter plans to lay off eight percent of its workforce, the bearded Machiavellian at its helm announced in a memo to the company today. Those 336 workers who will be going home without their jobs can at least take comfort in the fact that when Jack Dorsey cut them loose, Jack didn’t beat around the bush. Jack gave it to them straight, baby.
Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter and the man you can blame for destroying your productivity at work, turns 33 today. Fashion designer Calvin Klein is turning 67. Meg Ryan is 48. Today show news anchor Ann Curry is turning 53. Former GE CEO Jack Welch is 74. Ted Turner is turning 71. Jodie Foster is 47. Restaurant-less chef Rocco DiSpirito turns 43. Model Daria Werbowy is 26. Actress Allison Janney is 50. WNYC president Laura Walker is 52. TV legend Dick Cavett turns 73. Jerry Sheindlin, the former People's Court judge and husband of Judge Judy, is turning 76. Former football player and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad is 60. And Larry King is 76 today, or just 24 years away from celebrating his centennial.
People who use Twitter, a service which posts short updates to the Web and cell phones, love nothing more than to Twitter about themselves, and the medium they've so enthusiastically adopted. If you go by the Twitterers' collective reporting, every event, from an earthquake in Los Angeles to terrorist bombings in Mumbai, is more notable for the fact that people are writing about it on Twitter than for its inherent interest as news. The dominant narrative of Twitter is the rise of Twitter, the latest force to displace the mainstream media and roil the world's information economy. Too bad the real story of the company is one of top-to-bottom incompetence.
The Wall Street Journal is running a strange article about Twitter. Everything about it strikes me as bizarre, right down to the picture, which shows Jack Dorsey, the cofounder recently ousted as the company's CEO. Indeed, the article is more telling in what it doesn't cover than what it does.For example, it doesn't even allude to the company's office drama; cofounder Biz Stone subs in as spokesman for new CEO Ev Williams. It also skips over Twitter's latest privacy violation, which even affected the author of the piece. But it does, in a roundabout way, get at the heart of Twitter's problem: The tool for posting short text updates can be useful for businesses — just not Twitter itself. Cofounder Biz Stone suggests the company may find a way to charge business customers for "premium services." A great idea. If only it had tried it a year ago, before the market crisis made such a move look desperate, rather than a bold experiment. (Photo by Getty Images)