Jack Dorsey: Here's why I really stepped back from Twitter

The Twitter co-founder disputes a New York Times report that his role at the company shrank after employees found him indecisive and "difficult to work with."

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last month. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey struck back at a New York Times report that he'd lost his operational role at the company after Twitter employees had found Dorsey "difficult to work with."

In a post on his personal Tumblr, Dorsey wrote that while he'd taken an operational role overseeing product, brand and design in the spring of 2011 at the request of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, the two executives had always intended to shift those functions back to Costolo "as soon as possible." This past January, "[w]e moved all my reports back to him... after leadership was firmly in place," Dorsey wrote.

The NYT's Nick Bilton had offered a different take on that transition, writing that Dorsey was effectively undercut after complaints about his leadership. Bilton's piece was a profile of Costolo that addressed Dorsey's role mostly in passing.

Here's what Bilton wrote:

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.

Dorsey clearly disputes Bilton's unsourced charge, though it's worth noting that he declined to comment when Bilton asked him about it. Instead, he apparently prefers to have the last word via his Tumblr. Here's the full text of what he wrote there:

There was a great profile in the New York Times about Twitter's CEO, Dick Costolo, which mentioned my work at the company. It's not a common arrangement, so I'd like to clarify a few points.

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.

We haven't talked about this publicly because it's not what people using Twitter every day care about.

I'm fortunate in life to be a part of two foundational and mission-driven organizations, and I'm always going fight like hell to make them thrive. And they are! Now back to our work.