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Business Briefing

Twitter Founder Dorsey Wants To Be NYC's Boss Tweet

Twitter Founder Dorsey Wants To Be NYC
March 19, 2013 1:49PM

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Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who lives in San Francisco, did not give any timetable for deciding whether he would run for mayor of New York, and was not asked his party affiliation in the interviews with CNN and CBS's Lara Logan of 60 Minutes. Veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said Dorsey would not do well in a New York run.

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In politics, it's a good idea to boil your campaign message down to the basics. So, how does 140 characters sound? Jack Dorsey, founder of the country's second-biggest social media and "micro-blogging" network, Twitter, wants to be New York City's Boss Tweet.

He's floating a trial balloon about being mayor of the nation's largest city. In two TV interviews, 36-year-old Dorsey, who now runs mobile-payments system Square, said it would be his "dream job" to succeed Michael Bloomberg and continue the mayor's work.

Designing a Great City

"He's provided simple interfaces to government for people to go and vice versa," Dorsey told CNN's Jake Tapper, often speaking in technological terms. (A key achievement of the Bloomberg administration is the 311 phone system that ties all city agencies and services to a single hotline.)

"He's really designed a great city. The one thing that technology gives us is greater participation and it changes velocity and it charges the number of people who participate."

In other technology achievements, the Bloomberg administration consolidated its broadcasting assets into a single entity, NYC Media Group, and brokered a deal with Cornell University and Israel's Technion Institute to create a technology education hub on Roosevelt Island.

If a Mayor Dorsey seems like a longshot, consider that Bloomberg is also a media mogul (news, not social) who never ran for office before his 2001 upset victory as a Republican. Of course, Michael Bloomberg is a lot richer than Dorsey, with an estimated $27 billion vs. Dorsey's $1 billion. Bloomberg tapped into his personal wealth to finance his three campaigns.

Dorsey, who lives in San Francisco, did not give any timetable for deciding whether he would run, and was not asked his party affiliation in the interviews with CNN and CBS's Lara Logan of 60 Minutes. We shot Dorsey a (briefly worded) e-mail via the Square Web site seeking comment on these issues but did not get a response in time for publication Tuesday afternoon. Our tweet to him at @Jack also went unanswered.

Veteran New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who usually works for Democrats but was part of Bloomberg's 2009 third-term re-election bid, said Dorsey would not gain much traction if he were to try a New York run.

#Carpetbagger

"Lots of luck," he told us. "[Dorsey] lives in San Francisco, which when last investigated was nowhere in New York City's five boroughs. Anyone with money can run but there's only Bloomberg [who can pull it off.]"

Dorsey attended New York University in downtown Manhattan and says he wants to move back to the Big Apple one day. Although Bloomberg is originally from Medford, Mass., he lived and worked in New York for many years before running for mayor and opened his company, Bloomberg LP, for business here in 1983.

Is the city, whose recent leaders have all been middle-age or older, ready for a mayor in his 30s?

"New York usually wants an adult running its complicated affairs," Sheinkopf shot back.

(In fairness, Dorsey shares none of the characteristics of William H. "Boss" Tweed, the congressman who ran the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine in the city in the mid-19th century, but we couldn't resist the pun.)

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