On Tuesday, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, came to TED 2019 to answer for the sins of his platform. In his signature black hoodie and jeans, unkempt facial hair, and black beanie, he sat with TED head Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers, who curates current affairs for the conference, for a conversation that left all three members, along with the audience, frustrated.
“We’re on this great voyage with you on the Twittanic,” Anderson told Dorsey after roughly 20 minutes of interrupted back and forth. “There are people in steerage who are saying, ‘We are worried about the iceberg ahead!’ And you say, ‘That is a good point’ and ‘Our boat hasn’t been built to handle it,’ and we’re waiting, and you are showing this extraordinary calm and we’re all worried but we’re outside saying, ‘Jack, turn the fucking wheel!’”
Dorsey stoically listened to this comparison, like the meditative yogi he often talks about aspiring to be. “It’s democracy at stake! It’s our culture at stake! It’s our world at stake!” Anderson continued. “You’re doing a brilliant role of listening, Jack, but can you actually dial up the urgency and move on this stuff? Will you do that?”