Parag Agarwal Twitter’s New CEO.
A long-time Twitter insider and confidant of Jack Dorsey. Mr. Parag Agrawal now takes control as the social media company faces numerous challenges.
San Francisco – When Jack Dorsey, the then-executive chairman of Twitter, urged the company in 2014 to increase its machine intelligence capabilities, he turned to Parag Agrawal, an engineering specialist
Twitter’s chief executive, later on, Mr. Dorsey tapped Mr. Parag Agrawal to help him overhaul the company’s infrastructure.
And Mr. Dorsey, who envisioned a future Twitter that would be in 2019, based on the concept and decentralization along with other technologies such like the blockchain technology, again called Mr. Agrawal.
Monday was the final day for Mr. Dorsey to hand over his position as chief executive. On Tuesday, Mr. Agrawal (37) was named Twitter’s new leader.
The appointment of Mr. Parag Agrawal, chief technology officers since 2017. He has been a surprise to many, including some Twitter insiders. In the background, the Indian-born engineer is a Twitter veteran who is a trusted confidant to Mr. Dorsey. He has been involved in many major strategic initiatives for the company. The tweet by Mr. Dorsey was a glowing endorsement of his successor. It stated that the board had made a “rigorous” search to find a replacement chief executive and had “unanimously” endorsed Mr. Agrawal.
“He has been my choice since he understood the company and its requirements so deeply,” Mr. Dorsey – 45, wrote.
Monday’s employee message by Parag Agrawal highlighted his knowledge of the company and his closeness to its workers.
“I joined your company when there were less than 1000 employees 10 years ago,” Parag Agrawal wrote in an email. “I’ve walked in your shoes. It’s been a rollercoaster ride. I’ve seen the victories and the defeats. But I also see Twitter’s remarkable impact and our continued progress.
Mr. Agrawal became the latest Indian-born executive in America to take over a major technology company. South Asian-born executives have taken over companies like Microsoft, Google, IBM, many of which succeeded their founders. Silicon Valley viewed Mr. Agrawal’s elevation as the American Dream.
Patrick Collison, chief executive of Stripe, said in a tweet on Monday congratulating Mr. Agrawal.
“Wonderful watch the amazing success Indians have in the technology field and a great reminder of how America offers immigrants opportunity,” Patrick Collison from Stripe, chief executive of Stripe, stated in a Twitter on Monday congratulating Mr. Agrawal.
As Twitter’s new chief, however, Mr. Agrawal has a lot on his plate. The company, which has its headquarters in San Francisco faces challenges such as placating activist investors and calming an agitated Congress regarding its power, divisiveness & potential to restrict speech. Mr. Agrawal is also responsible for carrying out Mr. Dorsey’s vision to decentralize Twitter so that users can eventually control what is allowed on the platform.
Some tech observers think Mr. Agrawal’s appointment still makes sense because he is a kind “spiritual predecessor” to Mr. Dorsey. Both are quiet and polite, but they are passionate about the internet that gives power back to the users.
“He definitely takes an overall view of Twitter’s role in the world and how it should operate,” Mike Masnick of the technology news website Techdirt said of Mr. Agrawal.
Born in Mumbai. He studied computer science and engineering at The Indian Institute of Technology. In 2005, he enrolled at Stanford University to obtain a doctorate degree in computer science. He joined a database research group, which allows computers to store and mine large amounts of data.
According to Jennifer Widom who managed the research lab, and was his thesis advisor, Mr. Agrawal stands out among Stanford students because of his deep understanding of math and the theories that underpin computer science.
“Having both these skills — math theory — can be a big help,” she said during a phone interview. “If you are good at theory, it is possible to be analytical and to reason in order to make decisions.”
Twitter was attracted to Mr. Agrawal’s expertise in databases because it requires them to deal with data that has come from many millions of people. He joined the company after completing his Ph.D. In 2011, and became a crucial member of the engineering group that oversees the company’s advertisement technologies.
Dr. Widom said that he kept nagging him about finishing his thesis.
The ads team was one of the first to use machine learning. These mathematical systems can learn specific skills by analyzing data. These techniques helped Mr. Agrawal and his team to create methods to target ads to certain users. This helped to raise Twitter’s profile and revenue.
He became part of the Twitter Architecture Group, also known as T.A.G. (a team of top engineers responsible for reviewing and improving the company’s ongoing projects).
Krishna Gade, who interviewed Mr. Agrawal via Twitter, stated that “he was a member of the shortlist of top engineers.” “Even back then, he had a lot influencing on the engineering direction for the company.” Mr. Gade retired from Twitter in 2014.
As Mr. Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter returned in 2015 as a chief operating officer, Mr. Agrawal became one of his lieutenants and helped to refocus efforts at the “timeline” which feeds tweets into an individual’s Twitter application. Twitter promoted Mr. Agrawal in 2017 to chief technology officer.
Kevin Quennesson said, “I would classify him pragmatic.” He was the person who oversees Twitter’s machine learning efforts. “He built strong internal connections over the last decade as one of the early developers.
Agrawal, the chief technology officers, has kept a low profile. He worked behind closed doors to rebuild Twitter’s technical infrastructure. This had been built over years. This caused problems in engineering and prevented the company launching new products and/or services as quickly or efficiently as it desired. Twitter was helped by Mr. Agrawal to use cloud computing services provided by Amazon and Google. It has been a significant improvement in its operations.
In 2019, Mr. Dorsey said that Twitter would fund an independent research initiative to create decentralized social media
2019 was a year when Mr. Dorsey revealed that Twitter would be funding an independent research program to create decentralized social networking. In this way, users can make their own moderation decisions as well as apply their own algorithms in order to promote content. Bluesky is the Twitter project overseen by Agrawal.
In a Bluesky interview, Mr. Agrawal stated in June that empowering third parties and more individuals could solve communities’ problems and help more people. “A lot of people want to contribute to the solution. They need to find out how they can work with Twitter or how to make their community prioritized. This is just a small part of algorithmic choice’s thinking and reasoning.
Twitter was eager to move beyond questions about which content to remove from its service, Mr. Agrawal stated, at the time. It wanted to examine how algorithms lift content.
“Our role has changed from being a host of content to being a guide for people in finding what they are looking for,” he stated. “We see this as an opportunity to ask the question, “How can something get attention? In what context?” This was a problem 10 years ago.
Twitter’s attempt to include cryptocurrencies in the platform was managed by Mr. Agrawal. Users were able to send tips using cryptocurrency or Bitcoin. He supports efforts to be transparent regarding Twitter’s algorithmic errors and urges the company public to reveal its findings of a biased photo-cropping technique.
Agrawal’s emphasis on product development appealed mainly to insiders who believed Twitter was too slow in introducing new products. A person familiar with the succession process said that Agrawal is a popular choice. They stated that Twitter’s appointment could be a mirror of the success of companies that have hired engineers to manage turnaround efforts.
According to a Company filing this Monday, Mr. Agrawal is set to receive an annual salary totaling $1 million and bonuses as well as restricted stock units (and performance-based stock units) valued at $12.5 Million.
“Parag is behind every critical choice that helped this company turn around,” Mr. Dorsey tweeted. “I put my trust in him as C.E.O. “My faith is in him as our chief executive officer is bone-deep.”