“I don’t have a laptop. I only use my phone.”
That was the answer that drew gasps and incredulous laughter at Twitter Australia’s HQ in Sydney on Friday morning. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and founder and CEO of Square, runs two global companies FROM HIS SMART PHONE.
— Raelene Castle (@raelenecastle) May 24, 2018
The revelation came in response to a question from the host Deborah Knight about what advice he has for users to manage social media.
Knight cited the 2016 image of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg having the camera and microphone on his laptop taped over and asked what mere mortals would do if they knew what tech founders knew.
It was at this point the American Dorsey revealed he doesn’t own a laptop and rather does everything from his phone, at which point the room went almost silent save for a few disbelief-laced guffaws.
— Rosie Thomas 💪🏼💕 (@1RosieThomas) May 24, 2018
Dorsey says he dictates a lot – which he says is quicker than typing. He has notifications turned off when he’s working so that he’s not constantly reacting and he only uses one app at a time.
Dorsey also has a rule where laptops are closed and phones are away in meetings.
He says it means rather than everyone being distracted and half-hearted, meetings can be meaningful and productive – even if they’re only 15 minutes.
He doesn’t check his phone until he’s at work and says being mindful of tech addiction and its impact on health is critical.
All of which is probably quite valuable and apt advice regardless of your day job. Had Dorsey been around afterwards for questions I would have liked to know when he stopped using a laptop, how he edits longer documents on his phone and whether he has assistants who use a computer for him.
Early in their conversation Deborah Knight asked the Twitter co-founder if he has sent a thank you note to the US President Donald Trump, to thank him for ensuring the platform remains front and centre in news and politics.
He didn’t commit to a yes or a no but instead said it was important to consider the context.
‘We have the benefit of having every significant world leader of note using twitter to broadcast. Some are more vocal, and obviously have a higher velocity than others but the important thing is that we hear from our leaders directly.’
Dorsey says the fact users can disagree with, debate and comment directly is part of Twitter’s value.
“People don’t come to Twitter because it’s a social network. They come because they’re interested in certain things, in what’s happening in the world and want to connect with other people who shares those interests,” Dorsey said. “Conversation is our true superpower.”
“For every interest out there – small or broad based – we have someone who’s passionate about it & tweeting about why it’s important to them. That’s the lifeblood of what we do. It’s all about the conversation.” @Twitter CEO @jack on the true purpose of Twitter. #BrekkieWithJack pic.twitter.com/dbHqMFTfv2
— Nicola Hazell 🌈 (@nic_hazell) May 24, 2018
When asked whether the Cambridge Analytica scandal could have enveloped Twitter he was adamant that trust is the critical pillar.
“Our focus is on how do we earn and build trust. I can’t speak to the action and our reaction, but I can say we would take that principle. How do we earn more trust? How do we make sure we are building trust?” he says. “We have faults and we could do better but I think we have been transparent about our success and our failures.”
— Dr Bronwyn Carlson (@BronwynCarlson) May 24, 2018
While he helped design a platform he wanted to use, Dorsey says Twitter has genuinely been shaped by the users.