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Why Are Tech Founders Leaving Their Empires For New Ventures
There have been a record number of tech CEO resignations in the past few years. And, with Jack Dorsey leaving Twitter, the list continues to grow. As per the November 2021 report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., the exit of CEOs increased in October this year, totaling 21 tech CEO exits for the month.
Earlier this year, Recode's Peter Kafka wrote that 2021's big wave of tech executive departure shows that the biggest Silicon Valley firms have become so big that they no longer require a visionary person at the helm. They are looking for competent-enough managers who can continue to mint money for the firm at the same pace or higher.
Ditching Empires For New Frontiers
This trend hit the mark just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and managed to continue through lockdowns and today's scenario where the world is trying to get back to normalcy. The report cites "retirement" as the main reason for resignations, while others said they left to chase bigger challenges.
But it also shows how less fun these maverick tech founders are having. They seem to be growing tired of managing their empires, which are under constant political pressure to fix problems such as misinformation. Since there's no easy way to escape it, these founders have resorted to creating new brands instead of fixing the old ones. This is one major reason for their exits and their lookout for new challenges.
Rising Pressure From Authorities Forcing Exits
Many of these CEOs even had to testify before US politicians, answering about everything from their roles in letting nefarious firms influence users during US elections, and to their inability to control hate speech and fake news.
To recall a few instances, co-founders of Google, CEO Larry Page, and Sergey Brin stepped down in December 2019. In mid-2021 Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon took an exit to focus on his space company Blue Origin. Now that Dorsey is also parting ways with Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg remains the last CEO and founder still holding his position among the big tech firms.
Dorsey's next move is pretty obvious. He talks about cryptocurrency and the decentralized web with the same kind of enthusiasm he had for Twitter. He'll likely continue to push crypto projects at another company named Square. The company that builds mobile payment systems will be the best place for him to achieve his crypto dreams.
No Way To Fight Changing Culture
The culture around the tech industry is witnessing a shift against it for years, and many believe there's no definite way to fight it. The main issue is with the fundamental nature of these big businesses - they harvest huge amounts of data from users and sell it to advertising networks. It's a business model that is hard to sustain as it eventually gets recognized as bad for society.
It's no wonder these tech CEOs are finding a way out - except Mark Zuckerberg, who seems unaffected by public scrutiny and summon from higher authorities. But it could be just a matter of time that he also shifts complete focus to his new venture called the "Metaverse," a virtual world filled with AR and VR applications.