Twitter board names Jack Dorsey as full-time CEO

Jack Dorsey has been named Twitter’s newest chief executive.
A confluence of tweetstorms revealed the news early this morning. Dorsey tweeted that he would become the company’s full-time chief executive while remaining in the same role at Square; Dick Costolo congratulated the team and announced that he will be stepping down from Twitter’s board; and a board member said that the search for a chief executive ended with a unanimous vote for Dorsey to come back.
That might over-simplify the company’s hunt for its new leader. It took them 96 days to replace Costolo as Twitter’s chief executive — a move which board member Chris Sacca criticized after Volkswagen replaced its chief executive in just a week. The board was reportedly worried about Dorsey leading Twitter while continuing to work at Square because it wanted someone to focus entirely on the social network.
There were probably other misgivings about bringing Dorsey back. As Fortune explained when reports emerged about him dropping “interim” from his title:

Dorsey’s focus on outside hobbies, including sewing and drawing classes, and his frequent party appearances annoyed his co-workers. His lack of communication to investors and apparent six-figure text message bills annoyed the board. He had frequent arguments with Williams, who had provided the initial funding for Twitter. Oh, and while he was in charge, there was no backup of Twitter’s database.

Dorsey’s experience at Square appears to have changed that. Now he’ll be able to lead the company he co-founded with the benefit of having led another company without being made a “passive chairman” and “silent” board member. And if recent news is anything to go by, being led by the same man could benefit both companies. The split attention that so worried Twitter’s board might actually be a good thing.
These rumblings should mean much to Twitter. “As I step off the board, two reminders: those banging pots and pans outside Twitter know the least about what’s going on inside Twitter,” Costolo tweeted this morning, “and @Twitter, there is only one narrative that matters and it’s the one you’ll create for the world.” I suspect a publicly-traded company’s image is a little more important than Costolo lets on, but it’s probably a welcome sentiment inside the company’s tumultuous headquarters.

The shadow CIO

Most sizable enterprises are experiencing the phenomenon of shadow IT, whereby non-IT departments are taking advantage of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings to bring in new applications more cheaply and more cost effectively than traditional IT has been willing to accommodate them.

Increasingly, this impulse is reaching the CEO and board level, as well, with organizations looking for a ‘shadow CIO’ to provide strategic leadership on how the company can and should transform itself in light of the cloud, mobile, big data and social technologies that are likely transforming their industry.

The trendy title for this shadow CIO is ‘Chief Digital Officer’ (CDO), and recently offered an update on the proliferation of the position.

Searching for a leader

In designating the head IT as the organization’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), enterprises were looking to locate a poobah in charge of everything involved in applying IT to their business.

Most enterprises, however, get the CIOs they deserve. If they don’t hire, promote, evaluate and incentivize their CIOs to be strategic business executives at the table for discussions on business vision and strategy, then the head of their IT portfolio will not be that kind of strategic business executive.

Many enterprises haven’t; and many CIOs aren’t.

Because the current generation of disruptive technologies is truly transformative, organizations are looking for a genuine leader to communicate a comprehensive vision for their company’s sustaining role in a transformed industry and how the company can get there.

Not surprisingly, instead of turning to a CIO whose frequent contribution to technology-related discussions has been, “No. Not that fast. Not that cheaply. Not now,” a number of organizations are looking for someone else to fill the void.  

Just as shadow IT first took firmest hold in marketing with new applications for social monitoring and analysis (listening platforms), the shadow CIO—AKA CDO— often has digital marketing expertise and is given a social media and digital marketing portfolio as part of his or her charge.

Whither the traditional CIO

As with shadow IT, the shadow CIO serves a real purpose and can deliver a real business advantage. But like shadow IT, the shadow CIO can

  • shine a light on the limitations of current IT management;
  • confound and complicate presumably duplicative responsibilities and functions in the IT department, and
  • lead to the diminishment of the IT department role and responsibilities.

CDOs and CIOs can potentially have a direct reporting relationship, whether up or down, or be organizational peers. But make no mistake about it: Unless the CIO is the CDO or has the CDO reporting to him or her, the addition of a CDO is a subtraction from the official CIO function.

Many Chief Whatever Officers (CWOs)

Europeans have long chuckled at the American penchant to name dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of ‘vice presidents’ within the rank and file of a company’s mid-, lower-, and non-management staffs.

CWOs of course are now all the rage, and all that’s required now is for a proliferation of whatever portfolios for the Chiefs to manage, followed by the pushing down and multiplication of CWO title holders. E.g., an increasing number of large firms now have multiple, division-level, CIOs.

Chief Innovation Officers (more CIOs!) or Chief Knowledge Officers (CKOs) have sometimes been named aside or under the traditional CIO function. Traditional CIOs may also have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Infrastructure Officer (still more CIOs!) and more on staff.

What really matters with the shadow CIO/CDO is whether the right strategic vision and plan for leveraging transformative technology is being communicated and effectuated to the CEO and board levels of the company.

If the traditional CIO doesn’t have the capability and support to fulfill that role, someone else needs to. If the organization already has too many chiefs, Chairman of Technology (CoT) or ‘shadow chairman’ has something of a nice ring to it.

What’s with AT&T’s weird response to the Sprint-Softbank deal?

AT&T isn’t against Softbank taking over Sprint. Ma Bell just wants to get something out of the deal, according to Public Knowledge’s Harold Feld. Also Sprint’s buying a majority stake in Clearwire doesn’t give it the direct control of the 4G operator that we thought.

Netflix shareholders vote to change board structure

Shareholders vote overwhelmingly to change the company’s classified board status, which features various members serving staggered terms of differing lengths, into a standard structure in which members come up for vote every year. While non-binding, the vote could leave Netflix more open to takeover.

Cult Hit Settlers of Catan Comes to the iPhone

catanIf you are or ever have been the board gaming type, you may have run across Settlers of Catan, or at least heard of it from a fanatic friend. The game, which is a bit like Risk but without the war (at least in its basic incarnation), is all about resource gathering, trading, and colonization.

Fans of the series (and there are many) will be pleased to know that Settlers is now playable on your iPhone thanks to Catan ($4.99, iTunes link), an app that faithfully recreates the experience on your mobile device. If you aren’t yet a fan, Catan for your iPhone or iPod touch might just be the thing that converts you. Read More about Cult Hit Settlers of Catan Comes to the iPhone

FTC May Force End to Google-Apple Love Affair


No one can deny they’ve been chummy. Google (s goog) and Apple (s aapl) skip about Silicon Valley, hand-in-hand, developing new tech together that is perfectly suited for the Apple hardware it makes its way onto, despite having competing smartphone OS platforms.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to step in on the little dance going on between the two major players, citing suspicion of activity that violates anti-trust regulations. Even though Google and Apple are not technically one company, their cozy relationship could represent a monopoly that is unfair for their competition. Read More about FTC May Force End to Google-Apple Love Affair

EA Getting Sporty With 2009 iPhone Lineup


With the GDC ’09 well under way, there are heaps of announcements being made about video games by pretty much everyone in the biz.

Now that the iPhone and iPod touch have become genuine contenders in the mobile gaming world, they’re getting some high-profile game revelations as well. EA (s erts), for instance, who’ve already brought a lot of big titles to the platform, including Spore Origins and Sim City, will be bringing a slew of new games to the table this year.
In the pipeline for 2009 are a number of ports of some of their most popular titles for consoles and the PC, a hefty percentage of which are sports games, traditionally one of EA’s strong suits. Among the games announced at EA’s GDC keynote are Madden NFL, FIFA, NBA Live, and SSX, which join the previously announced Need for Speed and Tiger Words games. Read More about EA Getting Sporty With 2009 iPhone Lineup

Apple Shareholders Re-Elect Board


The annual Apple (s aapl) shareholders meeting had a different tone than usual on Wednesday, lacking the presence of company CEO Steve Jobs. The Apple board hasn’t had a straightforward year, leading the company through a global financial crisis and aiming to stem the ongoing investor uncertainty surrounding Steve Jobs’ health.

Shareholders seemed to embrace the positive on the whole, wishing Jobs a Happy Birthday (he turned 54 on Tuesday) and offering mixed opinion on how the board handled disclosing information surrounding recent events. Read More about Apple Shareholders Re-Elect Board