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The glamorous life of tech billionaire Jack Dorsey, who is known for eccentricities like eating one meal a day and taking ice baths

Jack Dorsey cofounded Twitter.
Jack Dorsey cofounded Twitter.David Becker/Getty Images
  • Jack Dorsey cofounded Twitter in 2006 and the company made him a billionaire.

  • He stepped down as Twitter CEO in 2021 and supported Elon Musk's takeover of the company.

  • Dorsey runs the financial services company Block and is famous for his unusual life of luxury.

From attending the Super Bowl with Jay-Z and Beyonce to texting with Elon Musk, the Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey leads an interesting life.

Dorsey has had a turbulent career in Silicon Valley. He launched Twitter in March 2006, and two years later, he was booted as the company's CEO. After his departure, Dorsey launched the financial payments company Square in 2009, which he rebranded as Block in 2021. He rejoined Twitter in 2015.

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He led Twitter through the tech backlash that engulfed social-media companies, testifying before Congress multiple times and later stepping down as CEO of Twitter in 2021. He encouraged Musk's Twitter acquisition the following year. Dorsey continues to lead Block, where in April 2022 he changed his title from "CEO" to "Block Head."

The tech entrepreneur has provoked his fair share of controversy and criticism over the years and like some other billionaires, he owns a stunning house, dates models, and drives fast cars.

Here's what we know about Dorsey's career rise and life outside of work.

Rebecca Borison, Madeline Stone, Katie Canales, Bethany Biron, and Isobel Asher Hamilton contributed reporting to earlier versions of this story.

Dorsey began programming while attending Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis.

A young Jack Dorsey in front of a computer with a map of America behind him.
The Twitter cofounder was coding in high school.Vine

At age 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that is still used by some taxi companies, according to a biography on Dorsey. For fun, he attended punk rock shows.

 

Like many of his fellow tech billionaires, Dorsey never graduated college.

Young Jack Dorsey sitting on a red couch.
Jack Dorsey is one of many tech founders to drop out of college.edyson / Flickr

He briefly attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology and transferred to New York University before calling it quits in 1999, one semester before graduation, to focus on his idea for Twitter, according to the biography.

 

In 2000, Dorsey built a simple prototype that let him update his friends on his life via BlackBerry and email messaging.

Young Jack Dorsey.
Jack Dorsey built an early version of his idea for Twitter in 2000.joi / Flickr

The experiment with basic code on a Blackberry predecessor – detailed in a 2013 New Yorker article – didn't impress his friends. Around 2002, he became a professional masseur, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He got a job at a podcasting company named Odeo, where he met his future Twitter cofounders.

Jack Dorsey sitting on a couch with Biz Stone and Evan Williams.
Jack Dorsey with his Twitter cofounders.Twitter

He got his license in about 2002 before exploding onto the tech scene, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the first tweet.

A tweet from the account @jack which reads: "just setting up my twttr."
Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet in 2006.Twitter/@jack

Dorsey kept his Twitter handle simple, "@jack." He hasn't changed it since. In 2007, Dorsey became Twitter's first CEO.

A year later, Dorsey was already less hands-on at Twitter.

Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey in suits and ties.
Dorsey took a step back at Twitter shortly after it was launched.Wikimedia Commons

By 2008, Williams had taken over as CEO, and Dorsey transitioned to chairman of Twitter's board.

Dorsey immediately got started on new projects. He invested in Foursquare and launched a payments startup called Square that let small-business owners accept credit-card payments through a smartphone attachment.

In 2011, Dorsey got the chance to interview President Barack Obama in the first Twitter Town Hall.

Jack Dorsey and President Obama in Twitter Town Hall
Twitter had its first Town Hall with President Barack Obama in 2011.Reuters

Dorsey had to remind Obama to keep his replies under 140 characters, Twitter's limit at the time.

 

Twitter went public in November 2013, and Dorsey was a billionaire within hours.

Jack Dorsey in front of a microphone.
Twitter made Dorsey a billionaire.AP

In 2014, Forbes pegged Dorsey's net worth at $2.2 billion, and it spiked as high as $12.5 billion in 2021.

It was revealed in a 2019 filing that Dorsey earned just $1.40 for his job as Twitter CEO the previous year.

jack dorsey
Jack Dorsey in 2017.Rolf Vennenbernd/Getty Images

The $1.40 salary actually represented a pay rise for Dorsey, who in previous years had refused any payment at all.

He's far from the only Silicon Valley mogul to have taken a measly salary — Mark Zuckerberg makes $1 a year as CEO of Facebook.

 

He bought a BMW 3 Series with his newfound wealth but reportedly didn't drive it often.

bmw 4 series concept detroit auto show naias 2013
Jack Dorsey owned a BMW Series 3 at one point.Alex Davies / Business Insider

"Now he's able to say, like, 'The BMW is the only car I drive, because it's the best automotive engineering on the planet,' or whatever," Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told The New Yorker in 2013.

 

He also reportedly paid $9.9 million for this seaside house on El Camino Del Mar in the exclusive Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco.

Jack Dorsey 10 million San Francisco home
Jack Dorsey shelled out millions of dollars for a house in San Francisco.The Real Estalker via Sotheby's

The house has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Jack Dorsey told Kara Swisher in 2018 that Elon Musk was his favorite Twitter user.

elon musk
Elon Musk was a prolific tweeter, even before he bought the company.PewDiePie/YouTube

Dorsey said Musk's tweets were "focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly."

He added that he enjoyed all the "ups and downs" that came with Musk's sometimes unpredictable use of the site. Musk himself replied, tweeting his thanks and "Twitter rocks!" followed by a string of random emojis.

Both Musk and Dorsey are crypto enthusiasts and have been friendly in the past — even texting each other.

 

Dorsey has also engaged with other tech entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, who once served him a goat he had killed himself.

A goat
Mark Zuckerberg served Jack Dorsey goat.Gene Kim

Dorsey told Rolling Stone about the meal, which took place in 2011. Dorsey said the goat was served cold and that he stuck to a salad.

 

Dorsey's eating habits have raised eyebrows over the years.

Jack Dorsey speaking to another man with a microphone.
Jack Dorsey says he fasts.Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

In 2019, Dorsey appeared on a podcast run by a health guru who previously said that vaccines caused autism. Dorsey said during his interview that he ate one meal a day and fasted all weekend. He said the first time he tried fasting it made him feel like he was hallucinating.

"It was a weird state to be in. But as I did it the next two times, it just became so apparent to me how much of our days are centered around meals and how — the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down," he said.

In a later interview with Wired, Dorsey said he ate seven meals a week, "just dinner."

 

The singer Azealia Banks said she was sent clippings of Dorsey's beard hair to fashion into a protective amulet, although Dorsey denied this happened.

Azealia Banks in an orange bodysuit, sticking her tongue out.
Azealia Banks claims Jack Dorsey sent her clippings from his beard.Getty

In 2016, Banks posted on her now-deleted Twitter account that Dorsey sent her his hair, "in an envelope." Dorsey later told the Huffington Post that the incident never happened.

 

In September 2018, Jack Dorsey was grilled by lawmakers alongside Facebook's then-COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey taking an oath.
The Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey were grilled in a Senate Intelligence Committee.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dorsey and Sandberg were asked about election interference on Twitter and Facebook as well as alleged anti-conservative bias in social media companies at the event.

During the hearing, Dorsey shared a snapshot of his spiking heart rate on Twitter. He was in the hot seat for several hours, and he showed his heart rate peaked at 109 beats per minute.

Dorsey has faced his share of controversy. In 2018, a tweet about his vacation in Myanmar provoked an outcry.

bagan myanmar
Jack Dorsey tweeted about his vacation in Myanmar.Shutterstock/Martin M303

Dorsey tweeted glowingly about a vacation he took to Myanmar for his birthday in December 2018. "If you're willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar," he said.

This came at the height of the Rohingya crisis, and Dorsey was attacked for his blithe promotion of the country — especially since social-media platforms were accused of having been complicit in fueling hatred toward the Rohingya.

 

Dorsey has said he doesn't care about "looking bad."

Donald Trump.
Jack Dorsey has said he doesn't care how people perceive him.Reuters

In a bizarre Huffington Post interview in 2019, Dorsey was asked whether Donald Trump — an avid tweeter — could be removed from the platform if he called on his followers to murder a journalist. Dorsey gave a vague answer that drew sharp criticism.

Following the interview's publication, Dorsey said he didn't care about "looking bad."

"I care about being open about how we're thinking and about what we see," he added.

Dorsey testified before Congress once again on October 28, 2020.

Jack Dorsey on a video call in the hearing.
Jack Dorsey tuned into the hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation/Handout via REUTERS

Dorsey appeared via videoconference at the Senate hearing on Section 230, a part of US law that protects internet companies from legal liability for user-generated content, as well as giving them broad authority to decide how to moderate their own platforms.

In prepared testimony ahead of the hearing, Dorsey said stripping back Section 230 would "collapse how we communicate on the Internet" and suggested ways for tech companies to make their moderation processes more transparent.

And during the hearing, Dorsey once again faced accusations of anti-conservative bias.

The accusations from Republican lawmakers focused on the way Twitter enforces its policies, particularly the way it has labeled tweets from President Trump compared to other world leaders.

Dorsey took the brunt of questions from lawmakers, even though he appeared alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

He appeared in another hearing a few weeks later with Zuckerberg, facing questions from Republicans who were displeased with how the platforms had dealt with President Donald Trump's social media accounts.

When he's not in Washington, Dorsey regularly hops in and out of ice baths and saunas.

A sauna with two women reclining on the benches.
Dorsey enjoys regular saunas and ice baths.Shutterstock

Dorsey said in the "Tales of the Crypt" March 2019 podcast that he started using ice baths and saunas in the evenings around 2016.

He said he alternately sits in his barrel sauna for 15 minutes and then switches to an ice bath for three. He repeats this routine three times before finishing it off with a one-minute ice bath.

He also likes to take an icy dip in the mornings to wake him up.

 

Dorsey's dating life has sparked intrigue. In 2018, he was reported to be dating the Sports Illustrated model Raven Lyn Corneil.

A composite image of Raven Lyn Corneil and Jack Dorsey.
Jack Dorsey reportedly dated Raven Lyn Corneil in 2018.Sports Illustrated Swimsuit / YouTube / Getty

Page Six reported in September 2018 that the pair were spotted together at the Harper's Bazaar Icons party during New York Fashion Week. Page Six also reported that Dorsey's exes included the model and actor Lily Cole and the ballet dancer Sofiane Sylve.

 

At the end of 2019, Dorsey said he would move to Africa for at least three months in 2020 and he almost lost his role as CEO.

Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey was almost ousted by an activist investor in 2020.AP Photo/Francois Mori

Dorsey's announcement followed a tour of Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

"Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I'll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020," he wrote on Twitter.

But, then Dorsey came under threat of being ousted as Twitter CEO by the activist investor Elliott Management.

The firm wanted to oust Dorsey because he was splitting his time between two companies — by acting as CEO of both Twitter and his financial-tech firm Square (now called Block) — and because he was planning to move to Africa.

But Dorsey managed to strike a truce with Elliott Management.

Jack Dorsey speaking into a microphone.
Jack Dorsey was able to reach a truce with the firm.AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Twitter announced on March 9, 2020 that it had reached a deal with Elliott Management that would leave Dorsey in place as CEO.

The deal included a $1 billion investment from the private equity firm Silver Lake, and partners from both Elliott Management and Silver Lake joined Twitter's board.

Patrick Pichette, the lead independent director of Twitter's board, said he was "confident" they were "on the right path with Jack's leadership" but added that a new temporary committee would be formed to instruct the board's evaluation of Twitter's leadership.

A year later, Twitter announced that Dorsey had stepped down as CEO.

Jack Dorsey sitting on an armchair speaking into a microphone.
Dorsey stepped down as CEO in 2021.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter said Parag Agrawal, the chief technology officer, would take over as CEO.

Dorsey posted on his Twitter account saying: "Not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter."

In his tweet, he included a screenshot of the email he sent to Twitter staff announcing his resignation.

In May 2022, his time on the board of directors officially ended, an anticipated move that coincided with the company's stockholder's meeting.

 

Two days after Dorsey stepped down as Twitter CEO, Square changed its name to Block.

The logo for Jack Dorsey's company Block.
Block's revamped its logo.Block

"The name change creates room for further growth," the company said in a statement.

"Block references the neighborhood blocks where we find our sellers, a blockchain, block parties full of music, obstacles to overcome, a section of code, building blocks, and of course, tungsten cubes," it added.

The line about tungsten cubes was an apparent reference to a craze among crypto enthusiasts of paying as much as $3,500 for novelty tungsten cubes.

In April 2022, Dorsey changed his official title at Block from CEO to "Block Head."

Jack Dorsey's official photo on the Block website: His face on a red cube.
Jack Dorsey changed his title from CEO to "Block Head."Block

The title change was made official in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 20, 2022.

"There will be no changes in Mr. Dorsey's roles and responsibilities," the filing said.

Block's website was also updated to list his new title as Block Head.

 

 

 

The Block head is also a big believer in cryptocurrency, frequently posting about its virtues.

Jack Dorsey speaking into a microphone.
Jack Dorsey likes to post on social media about crypto.Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

In particular, Dorsey is a fan of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency he described in early 2019 as "resilient" and "principled." He told the "Tales of the Crypt" podcast in March that year that he was maxing out the $10,000 weekly spending limit on Square's Cash App buying up bitcoin.

In October 2020 he slammed Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong for forbidding employee activism at the company, saying cryptocurrency is itself a form of activism.

He's also said he hopes bitcoin can help bring about "world peace" in a panel alongside Musk and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood called "The B Word" on July 2021. He said he loves the bitcoin community because it's "weird as hell."

"It's the only reason that I have a career — because I learned so much from people like who are building bitcoin today," Dorsey said.

 

 

 

Dorsey is no stranger to public scrutiny.

Jack Dorsey speaking into a microphone with a blue scene in the background.
Dorsey was subpoenaed in Twitter's legal battle with Musk.AP

In August 2022, Twitter's former head of security, Peiter Zatko, filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC, alleging the company participated in negligent security practices under Dorsey.

In his 84-page report and subsequent testimony, Zatko made a number of allegations against the company, including claims it had "egregious deficiencies" around security protocol and that Dorsey experienced a "drastic loss of focus" in his last year as CEO of Twitter.

A month later, Dorsey was deposed and questioned under oath for another issue: Musk's legal battle with Twitter over his proposed $44 billion takeover.

Musk's team accused Twitter of misleading investors and intentionally "miscounting" spam accounts, BI reported.

In 2022, private texts revealed Dorsey had tried to get Musk involved with Twitter a year prior to the Tesla CEO's $44 billion proposal.

A composite image of Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk.
Text messages between Dorsey and Musk were uncovered as part of Twitter's lawsuit against Musk.Getty Images

In the texts, Dorsey explained why he left the company and said he previously pushed to get Musk involved with Twitter.

"A new platform is needed. It can't be a company. That's why I left," Dorsey wrote to Musk, adding he thought Twitter should be an "open-sourced protocol" and couldn't "have an advertising model."

Dorsey also told Musk he had advocated for the Tesla CEO's addition to the Twitter board a year earlier. But his request was denied, which he said he thought "was completely stupid and backwards."

In October 2022, as Musk was finalizing his Twitter deal, Dorsey quietly launched a beta for his new social-media company, Bluesky Social.

Bluesky Social logo
In 2022, Dorsey launched a Twitter rival.Bluesky Social

The blockchain-based company's beta launch raked in 30,000 signups in two days. According to Bluesky's website, the company is intended to support "a new foundation for social networking which gives creators independence from platforms, developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience."

As of November 2023, the company said it had over two million users.

More recently, Dorsey has apologized for some of the things that have taken place at Twitter since Musk took over.

A tweet from Jack Dorsey
Dorsey apologized for the layoffs at Twitter.Jack Dorsey/Twitter

After Musk ordered mass layoffs at Twitter after taking over in November 2022, Dorsey tweeted an apology: "I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that."

"Folks at Twitter past and present are strong and resilient," he wrote on Twitter. "They will always find a way no matter how difficult the moment. I realize many are angry with me."

He continued: "I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter. I don't expect that to be mutual in this moment...or ever…and I understand."

And despite initially supporting Musk's takeover, Dorsey hasn't always agreed with all of the Tesla CEO's decisions.

Jack Dorsey Elon Musk
AP/Getty Images

In 2022, Dorsey criticized Musk's decision to rebrand the social media site's Birdwatch feature to call it Community Notes, dubbing it the "most boring Facebook name ever."

In April 2023 the Twitter cofounder openly criticized Musk's leadership in a series of social media posts Friday, writing that "it all went south" and Musk "should have walked away" from the acquisition.

But in July 2023, Dorsey said "running Twitter is hard" after Musk sparked a backlash by announcing "rate limits" on viewing tweets.

"I don't wish that stress upon anyone," Dorsey tweeted. "I trust that the team is doing their best under the constraints they have, which are immense. It's easy to critique the decisions from afar … which I'm guilty of … but I know the goal is to see Twitter thrive. It will."

Dorsey also urged "calm" when Musk rebranded Twitter to X last year.

More recently, Jack Dorsey was spotted at Super Bowl LVIII.

Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z were spotted at the Super Bowl.
Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z sat together at the Super Bowl.Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Twitter cofounder sat with Jay-Z and Beyonce at the Super Bowl on Sunday.

At the event, Dorsey wore a "Satoshi" T-shirt — a nod to the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, known only by the name Satoshi Nakamoto.

Dorsey was far from the only celebrity at the event. Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook were also separately pictured at the game.

Read the original article on Business Insider