'Here's what's going to happen...'
Jack Dorsey steps down from Twitter. Should we care? I'm not sure, but here's a cool story. Also, 7 other things worth your time.
The head of Twitter is quitting Twitter. Jack Dorsey announced Monday that he's stepping down as CEO. Twitter’s company's chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, will take over.
There are a lot of people writing a lot of takes today on WHAT IT ALL MEANS for social media, as a result. But, I have to admit: I have no idea. (Neither does anyone else.)
However, I did realize that this news makes it the perfect time—in fact, perhaps the last perfect time—for me to share the story of a quick decision Dorsey once made that changed someone's life for the better.
So, let’s do that. It goes back to 2018, when Twitter held an unusual, all-hands retreat in San Francisco. Almost every Twitter employee was supposed to be there, and Elon Musk was supposed to be the keynote speaker.
But, plans changed. According to some reports, Musk had to cancel at literally the last minute, which meant that an hour before the event, Dorsey was still looking for someone to step in and give an address to 3,500 employees.
It was at that moment that a photographer named Jon Carmichael, who was documenting the event for Twitter itself, ran into Dorsey backstage.
I've written about Carmichael here in the past, because he took one of my favorite photographs ever—a shot he’d planned for years. It’s an amazing view of the Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017, which was about a year before the Twitter event in San Francisco.
Here’s the photo. He took it from Seat 1A of a regular Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to St. Louis, after he’d calculated that its scheduled route meant it would offer the best vantage point anyone could have on the planet to record the image.
Working at the Twitter event in San Francisco, Carmichael had been excited to meet Musk, and he’d produced a really high-quality print of the photo, which almost nobody had seen yet, as a gift.
But, when Musk didn't show and Carmichael ran into Dorsey backstage, and he made a split-second decision to give the Twitter CEO the print instead.
"I told him the whole story [behind the photo]. And he goes, 'Okay, here's what's going to happen. In 45 minutes, I'm going to be introducing you on stage to share this story and this image with my entire company. Can you do that?'“
Oh, by the way: Carmichael had never given a speech before in his life: no speaking tour, no toast at a wedding, no debate team in high school. But, he agreed, and he rose to the occasion.
As he later recalled: "It was just the most beautiful moment I could've ever imagined. It was so moving. I got multiple standing ovations.”
As a result of his talk, Carmichael said, Twitter completely bought in. When he officially unveiled the photo a couple of weeks later, on August 21, 2018, Twitter helped him in the form of a streamed broadcast to all 32 Twitter offices around the world.
Carmichael has been trying since then to use his photo (and the story of how he spent years planning to take it) to inspire interest in astronomy—and the shared experiences people can have as a result.
In 2017, he said, tens of millions of people lived within half an hour of where they could have experienced totality, but didn't make the trip. He wants to change that for the next one.
"I'm really passionate about that because this was such a uniting moment in our history and it was such a beautiful moment, too," he said.
OK then. Here’s what’s going to happen: The next total solar eclipse visible over the United States will be on April 8, 2024.
I plan to pay attention. Anyone else?
By the way, here’s Dorsey’s resignation letter (posted on Twitter, of course).
7 other things worth your time
A federal judge in Missouri issued an order Monday that partially blocks the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota. (CNN)
But: Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block vaccine mandates for Massachusetts hospital workers, at least in an emergency motion. (Courthouse News)
The Ghislaine Maxwell trial is underway, and it’s already as sordid as you might have imagined. I don’t think I’ll be writing about this day after day, but just so you know it’s happening. (The Daily Beast)
A 63-year-old man from Tennessee was arrested this month after allegedly holding Little Caesars employees at gunpoint (with an AK-47) after being told he would have to wait 10 minutes for his pizza. (Newsweek)
As of midnight, the Queen of England is no longer the head of state of Barbados. (Metro UK)
Really? “Santa Claus is in high demand and short supply, leading to nationwide shortage.”(People)
Which birds are the biggest jerks at the feeder? A massive data analysis reveals the answer. (Wild turkeys at the top; brown creepers at the bottom.) (WashPost)