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Why Twitter’s Jack Dorsey chose computer science over becoming mayor of New York

Dorsey says building software could enact change faster than public policies could.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
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Don’t expect Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to add “politician” to his list of jobs anytime soon.

Despite once having aspirations to become mayor of New York, Dorsey says that’s no longer the case. He pursued computer science in school instead of political science because he felt building software could enact change faster than public policies could.

“I was a little bit more selfish. I wanted to see things more immediate,” he explained at a talk Wednesday from the Cannes Lions advertising festival on the French Riviera. “So I chose computer science and kind of gave up on the dream of becoming a mayor.”

The admission came from Dorsey from beachside Cabana at Cannes where he spoke with Mainardo de Nardis, the CEO of OMD Worldwide, one of the world’s largest media buyers. The convo was interesting in part because hardly any of it had to do with advertising, which has been the topic of conversation for most other panels at Cannes. (When we asked de Nardis afterward, he said he steered clear of advertising questions in order to avoid being like everyone else.)

In addition to the mayoral dream, de Nardis also asked Dorsey about his time management. It turns out, opening the Twitter app is not the first thing Dorsey does every morning. It’s not the second or third thing, either.

Dorsey says he starts each morning by meditating, then does a seven-minute workout off his phone, and then makes coffee before opening up the app to check the news.

Then the CEO walks five miles to Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, rain or shine, a walk that he says takes him an hour and 15 minutes. This all happens before 8:30 am.

“I listen to podcasts or audio books, sometimes take phone calls,” Dorsey said. “I’m really happy I make time for myself because it just clears everything away.”

The walk is noteworthy since it’s how Dorsey — a billionaire CEO who runs two companies (the other is Square) — manages his day.

The talk served as a small glimpse into the daily life of what you must imagine is one of Silicon Valley’s busiest executives. Dorsey said he usually spends mornings at Twitter and afternoons at Square, but doesn’t worry too much about trying to keep the time evenly split between the two offices.

“I have a phone and anyone can reach me,” he said. “We have a really strong sense of prioritization at both companies, so we know what matters. We know what we need to spend the hour on.”

This week, for example, Dorsey is in Cannes alongside many other Twitter execs like COO Anthony Noto and CMO Leslie Berland in order to pitch marketers.

It’s been almost two years since Dorsey returned to Twitter and took over the company he co-founded. At the time, many believed he would choose between Twitter and Square, but so far he’s shown no sign of relinquishing either.

This article originally appeared on

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