Empty desks in an office
Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey exits Twitter with a humblebrag and a subtweet

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: Dorsey says goodbye, best practices for VR retreats and rude workplace behavior.

—Amber Burton, Reporter (twitter | email)

Dorsey digs at Zuck in goodbye tweet

The leftover turkey has turned and Jack Dorsey has flown the coop at Twitter. In a surprise announcement on Monday, the Twitter CEO resigned and will be replaced by Parag Agrawal, Twitter's current chief technology officer.

Dorsey posted his internal goodbye letter on Twitter, obviously, where he also managed to utilize two of the most loathsome features the company has spawned: the humblebrag and the subtweet.

“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course... There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego.”

The CEO/founder subtweet was aimed squarely (pun intended) at Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg. As Protocol’s Issie Lapowsky writes, “There are plenty of prominent tech founders who have stepped down from leadership roles at their companies — Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Bill Gates, to name a few. Which leaves Mark Zuckerberg as the last obvious Big Tech target of Dorsey’s admonitions.”

Do founders make good CEOs?

Lapowsky argues that the subtweet might have merit:

  • Twitter is virtually unrecognizable from the company Dorsey helped create in 2006. “Maybe, [Dorsey] seems to suggest, the people responsible for dreaming up what a company could be at the beginning aren’t always — or even ever — the best people to run it after it has become something else entirely.”
  • One person should never wield all the power. “And certainly not the one person who, by virtue of having founded a company, may be the most blinkered to its failures.”

Read the full story.

Meanwhile, who is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO?

Protocol’s Anna Kramer caught up with Jennifer Widon, now the Dean of Engineering at Stanford, who was Agrawal’s thesis adviser, advising him on his doctorate in 2012. Kramer says the main thing you need to know is that Agrawal is an engineer’s engineer. According to Widon, Agrawal is “thoughtful, analytical and especially good at the foundational theoretical and mathematical thinking she asked of her students.” But you don’t have to trust Widon and Kramer, you can read Agrawal’s 155-page dissertation yourself.

Here’s what else you need to know about Agrawal:

  • He quickly made a name for himself at the company, developing a reputation as someone eager to learn anything he didn’t know. He started work as an individual contributor engineer, working across both the platform team and the revenue team.
  • He was appointed Twitter’s first distinguished software engineer — a prestigious honor at the company reserved for a mere handful in total — and then chief technology officer, after just six years as a "tweep."
  • As CTO, Agrawal was responsible for leading much of Twitter’s machine-learning efforts, and he championed the work of Twitter’s recently expanded Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency and Accountability team, spearheaded by Rumman Chowdhury.
  • A person familiar with the META team’s work inside Twitter described him as instrumental in the team’s push for public transparency about decision-making and one of the people who helped ensure that Responsible ML was one of Twitter’s 2021 official priorities.
  • Agrawal has been partially responsible for the goals and priorities that led to a recent spate of acquisitions, growth and product launches, among them the META team, Spaces, the now-defunct Fleets and Twitter Blue.

Read the full story.

How to host a VR corporate retreat

The thought of attending a company retreat via a VR headset has become all the more real as we approach almost two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis. Companies are seeking the best ways for their employees to gather without compromising health or requiring people to gather in one central location. Trello, which has been remote for close to 10 years, is perhaps ahead of the curve. The company hosted its first VR corporate retreat last spring, and its leadership team had already been holding VR hangouts every Friday. How have they made this new virtual world work for the team? For one, they purchased and distributed about 275 Oculus headsets to employees. Trello also worked with engineers to make their virtual world as close to an actual Trello office as possible and braced themselves for the inevitable technical hiccups.

Read the full story


Forward-thinking companies are realizing that they need to do more to prepare for future disruptions. Could upskilling be the solution? Upskilling lessons learned from the pandemic.

Learn more

Talk to us

Enjoy reading Protocol’s Workplace newsletter each week? Reach out to us! Protocol wants to hear your best tips, tools and hacks for our new work world. What gets you to inbox zero? Do we even do that anymore? And if you feel so inclined, tell us what you’d like to read. Reply to this email or email us directly: workplace@protocol.com.

See you in the inbox.

Today's tips & tools

It takes some time to recalibrate when coming back to work on a Monday. Especially after a Thanksgiving long weekend. The number of tasks we need to complete may feel overwhelming. One trick for making these tasks more approachable: Separate your day into time chunks. Particularly when it comes to emails. Email is often the biggest attention grabber throughout the day — resist the urge to check each email when it comes in. Instead, choose a few times during the day to look through your emails all at once. It will feel more satisfying to address them in a row, and you’ll have stayed more focused on other tasks at hand.

— Lizzy Lawrence, Reporter (twitter | email)

It’s not just you. More people are behaving rudely at work.

Even in 2021 from the comfort of our own homes and hybrid workplaces we’re still dealing with unpleasant colleagues at work. A survey earlier this month from management consulting firm Korn Ferry shows professionals are reportedly less civil to their co-workers than they were pre-pandemic. In fact, of the almost 700 survey respondents, a majority said working remotely has exacerbated rude behavior at work. Here are some of the most striking findings from the report:

  • Almost 70% of the surveyed working professionals said working from home has made it easier for people to behave in a rude manner. This can include anything from interrupting colleagues on calls to not responding to emails.
  • It’s no surprise that rude behavior also affects performance and productivity at work. 78% of respondents said they had a hard time focusing on work after someone said or did something rude, and 83% said they try to avoid colleagues who display such behavior in the workplace.
  • A rude work environment can be a dealbreaker for some. 75% of professionals said they’ve “considered quitting due to an uncivil co-worker or boss.”


Forward-thinking companies are realizing that they need to do more to prepare for future disruptions. Could upskilling be the solution? Upskilling lessons learned from the pandemic.

Learn more

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great week, see you Thursday!

Recent Issues