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Motivational Leaders: Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey became involved in web development as a college student, founding the Twitter social networking site in 2006. Since that time, Dorsey has served as CEO, chairman of the board, and executive chairman of Twitter. He also launched the successful online payment platform Square in 2010.

Dorsey was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 19, 1976. Growing up in St. Louis, Dorsey became interested in computers and communications at an early age and began programming while still a student at Bishop DuBourg High School. He was fascinated by the technological challenge of coordinating taxi drivers, delivery vans and other fleets of vehicles that needed to remain in constant, real-time communication with one another. When he was 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that remained in use by taxicab companies for decades afterward.

After a brief stint at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Dorsey transferred to New York University. In the tradition of computer science entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, he dropped out of college before receiving his degree. Instead, Dorsey moved to Oakland, California, and in 2000 he started a company offering his dispatch software through the internet. Shortly after starting his company, Dorsey came up with the idea for a site that would combine the broad reach of dispatch software with the ease of instant messaging.

Dorsey approached a now-defunct Silicon Valley company called Odeo to pitch the concept. "He came to us with this idea: 'What if you could share your status with all your friends really easily, so they know what you're doing?'" said Biz Stone, a former Odeo executive. Dorsey, Stone and Odeo co-founder Evan Williams started a new company, called Obvious, which later evolved into Twitter. Within two weeks, Dorsey had built a simple site where users could instantly post short messages of 140 characters or less, known in Twitter parlance as "tweets."

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey posted the world's first tweet: "just setting up my twttr."
In November 2013, Dorsey saw his personal fortune grow tremendously thanks to Twitter's initial public offering. The company's stock had a starting share price of $26, but the price quickly rose to $45 during its first day of trading. Within hours, the value of Dorsey's approximately 23.4 million shares made him a billionaire.