Our names have gravitational pulls to them; we either become that which our parents gave us or we shift in the opposite direction as we choose it. I am reminded of this axiom each time I deconstruct people’s names. It almost never fails; people end up reverting to or inverting the meaning of their names.
Such is the case with Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter. Pull up a seat my fellow sojourners as I take you on a journey of discovery that will humanize Jack’s travels and give context to the man who is the head of one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. In the process, we might just find out why Jack chose to call his company Twitter and decipher the musings behind the company’s logo.
In order to know a person, it is essential to revisit his/her childhood. Jack was born in Saint Louis, Missouri on November 19th, 1976 to Tim and Marcia Dorsey. Jack’s father worked at a company that developed mass spectrometers and his mother was a homemaker. Take note of his father’s profession, that will be illuminating down the line. Jack was always different; he did not walk the conventional path, his journey always involved taking a divergent road.
By the age of fourteen, Jack was well on his way in revolutionizing how we communicate as a species. While most his age were interested in getting the attention of girls or desperately trying to avoid the pitfalls of zits, Jack focused his attention on developing a tool that optimized dispatch routing. This technology depended on open-source coding where Jack invited other programmers to take part in an ecosystem that fostered collaboration and idea sharing. The technologies that Jack created at the age of 15 is still being used to this day by taxicab companies to convey messages about riders and destinations.
After working for a few years as a dispatching programmer while attending New York University, Jack eventually quit college a semester before graduating and moved across the country. He landed in Oakland in 2000 to start a company that specialized in helping dispatch couriers, taxis and emergency services by leveraging the internet. While honing this craft, Jack built the foundations of Twitter as he started to develop its source coding inspired by LiveJournal and AOL Instant Messenger.
While fine tuning the platform that would eventually become Twitter, Jack wondered whether the software users’ statuses could easily be shared among friends. This wonder gave way to an inspiration, Twitter was born with the idea of sharing short messages on an open network that invited a shared experience in a collaborative environment. This radical yet common sense idea instantly attracted users at Odeo and eventually an investment from Evan Williams, a co-founder of Odeo who left Google after selling Pyra Labs and Blogger.
Jack was and is a trailblazer; not intent on accepting what is, Jack is always pondering what could be. Twitter has taken on Jack’s personality, they are not interested in optimizing how humans communicate, Twitter is intent on changing how we share conversations. The idea that I had to boil down my screeds to less than 280 characters was an affront and I personally railed against the tyranny of limited speech. Yet despite of my protests, here I tweet.
I have to give credit to Jack, his insistence that we find a clear and concise way to state our minds helped me become a better writer. I learned the value of economies of words and how to share my outlooks without writing books. Twitter became my watering hole where I met countless others who thirsted knowledge and sought information that diverged from “media narratives”.
Pay attention to Jack’s tweets and you will realize that Jack is doing the same thing; though he is worth billions and his company has the power of Poseidon’s trident, Jack has retained his idealism through it all. There is a reason why Twitter gave Black Lives Matter its own emoji and why Twitter actively courts “black twitter’s” insights on a regular basis.
Incredibly disappointing and increasingly irrelevant https://t.co/LKVVtWWdJ1
— jack (@jack) December 22, 2020
It is on this thought that I return to the meaning of Jack Dorsey’s first and last names. Did you know that Jack means “God is gracious” and his last name means “Dark”. Without realizing it, Jack pays homage to his first name daily by gracing humanity with a technology that allows billions around the world to connect with fellow free-thinkers and believers in free speech. Yet, like many of us, Jack also battles the darker side of his soul.
How does a billionaire make his fortunes while retaining his morality; this is a conundrum that has haunted the aristocracy for centuries. It is easy to stay true to one’s mission when one is broke or struggling to make ends meet, but the tests that come when one becomes fabulously wealthy are too onerous to explain. Jack has to balance the interests of shareholders, whom he has a fiduciary responsibility to, with the interests of users. This delicate dance witnesses Twitter at once shaping public perception while concurrently banning users who don’t conform to “community standards”.
Jack sits beneath the Sword of Damoclesor as his techs and engineers have to hone an algorithm that can either raise public awareness or plunge humanity into the darkness. Jack in this way is the meaning of his name, he gets to decide between grace and darkness on any given day. Heavy is the head that wears this crown, but through it all, Jack occasionally offers a window into his soul.
Twitter is wonderful for this reason, once in a while people we elevate reveal their true thoughts. I believe in my heart that Jack is actually a good guy and employs thousands of engineers, technicians, project managers and beyond who go to work daily trying to make this world into a better place. Here is to God being gracious and the battles we all take on daily basis to overcome the darkness in our hearts. May humanity reach a day where speech is encouraged and people are judged by the quality of their characters and their thoughts.
As far as the Twitter logo, lets circle back to Jack’s father’s profession as a mass producer of spectrometers. A spectrometer is a scientific instrument that separates and measures spectral components, it deciphers light into spectrums by unpackaging it from the source. Twitter does the same thing, it deciphers our thoughts and unpackages our streams of consciousness from the source. As far as Twitter’s logo, a bird symbolizes freedom and endless possibilities.
Jack should know that there are certain birds that should never be caged, doing so robs humanity of songs that need to be heard. As you know by the articles I keep producing content on a daily basis, I am a good guy who is battling my own darkness as I try to be the essence of my first name. Teodrose means “God’s gift” and my last name means “my love”. As @markwahlberg notes in “the Other Guys” and I now retweet towards the CEO of Twitter, hey @Jack, “I’m a peacock you gotta let my tweets fly! Click To Tweet
“Innocence is never lost, beloved. Never. It’s our souls. Our original good. Innocence is when you live love—in love, with love, being love—where love is your foundational and highest value.” ~ June Teenth
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