Tech giants are looking for new horizons because they are tired of their empires.

At the time of his return to Twitter in 2015 as temporary CEO, Jack Dorsey waxed ecstatic, describing the app as the “closest thing we have to a global consciousness.” As of Monday, Dorsey was no longer preaching. In resigning, he said in an email to Twitter staff, “I feel it is time for Twitter to exist on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.” He made the announcement that Twitter’s CTO, Parag Agrawal, will take over as the next CEO. Dorsey’s leaving isn’t that shocking in certain ways. An activist investor has been putting pressure on him to increase Twitter’s growth and profitability for more than a year now. While he’s been heading Square, the rapidly expanding financial services business he co-founded, there was always a sense that he might decide that one CEO role was enough for him. (In his email, Dorsey said that he had made the decision to leave Twitter.)

However, Dorsey and several of his fellow tech moguls are engaged in something else. They seem to be tired and dissatisfied with their occupations, so they’ve decided to look for a new challenge. This year, Jeff Bezos stepped aside as CEO of Amazon in order to pursue his boyhood dream of traveling into space. A year after Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down as Google’s founders, the company has invested in initiatives like airship and flying taxi development. As of this writing, Mark Zuckerberg is still CEO of Facebook, but the firm has renamed itself Meta, and the corporation’s metaverse pivot appears to be aimed at re-invigorating a staid corporate culture.

One explanation for this year’s massive exodus of Silicon Valley’s top executives is that the companies are now so large and successful that they don’t require visionary founders to lead them; instead, they just need competent managers who can keep the money-printing machines running and avoid any catastrophic mistakes.

As far as Dorsey’s next step is concerned, it seems to be evident. When it comes to cryptocurrencies and the decentralized web, his fervor for the subject is as strong as it was for Twitter when he first started using it.

At a Bitcoin conference in Miami in June, he said, “I don’t believe there is anything more significant in my lifetime to work on, and I don’t think there is anything more enabling for people across the globe.”

In recent months, Dorsey, whose oracular beard and odd health practices have made him a Silicon Valley cult figure, has become a crypto influencer. Fans of Bitcoin rejoiced when he resigned on Monday, believing he would devote his newfound time to their cause. It’s more probable that he will continue to push crypto ideas at Square, where he has already begun developing a decentralized financial firm.)

Dorsey’s crypto fantasies have always found a home at Square, a company that specializes in mobile payment systems. In the meantime, he’s been experimenting with ways to apply Bitcoin’s concepts to Twitter. To let third-party developers create Twitter-like social networks with their own rules and features, the company established a decentralization project called Bluesky last year and added support for Bitcoin tipping. Since Dorsey’s replacement, Agrawal, has been heavily engaged in these efforts, they’re unlikely to go away after Dorsey leaves.

This may be seen as a way for them to avoid accountability for the mistakes they made at their former jobs — shooting themselves into space and playing around with crypto while others clean up the mess they left behind. Even so, it’s important to know when to hand the baton off. As a result, it is difficult to condemn Dorsey for his desire to decentralize the internet, beginning with himself.



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