Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


At Twitter and Salesforce, Bret Taylor Steps Into the Limelight

At Twitter and Salesforce, Bret Taylor Steps Into the Limelight

Bret Taylor

has been concerned with among the tech business’s most notable improvements—from Google Maps to


FB -0.33%

“like” button—and based firms that bought for a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

However till just lately, the 41-year-old Oakland, Calif., native was largely unknown outdoors Silicon Valley. Then, inside a few days on the finish of final month, Mr. Taylor was named to assist run two of tech’s most distinguished firms, as board chairman of

Twitter Inc.

and co-chief govt of Inc.

CRM -0.08%

“It was an uncommon week in my life,” Mr. Taylor stated in an interview.

The promotions catapult the engineer-by-training into the highlight as one among Silicon Valley’s highest-profile executives, and depart him bridging firms on reverse ends of the tech spectrum: Twitter caters to buzz-hungry web scrollers.


CRM -0.08%

core software program helps company gross sales groups handle their clients.

Mr. Taylor stated the roles complement one another: Monitoring client expertise for Twitter helps him innovate in enterprise software program as a result of a lot of those self same traits have an effect on Salesforce’s company clients as nicely, he stated.

“Day-to-day, although, they clearly exist in two actually totally different worlds,” he stated.

He faces challenges in each. Salesforce, which he joined in 2016 and the place he beforehand was president and chief working officer, has benefited from the pandemic-era cloud-computing increase, however its inventory is down over the previous month. Its newest quarterly outlook upset buyers as the corporate’s revenue estimate for this quarter was lower than what analysts had been anticipating.

His entrepreneurial pedigree, technical chops and product expertise have endeared him to Salesforce co-founder and Chairman

Marc Benioff,

who known as Mr. Taylor a “phenomenal business chief” and a trusted good friend when saying him as his co-CEO. The 2 get alongside nicely, individuals who have watched them work collectively say, partly as a result of they share a background in beginning their very own firms.

Salesforce, although, has tried the co-CEO strategy earlier than, and it ended rapidly. In 2018,

Keith Block

was promoted to co-CEO alongside Mr. Benioff after 5 years as president and COO. He left 18 months later, saying he was shifting on to the “subsequent chapter.”

At Twitter, Mr. Taylor will likely be targeted on serving to the brand new CEO,

Parag Agrawal

—who succeeded co-founder

Jack Dorsey

the identical day Mr. Taylor was elevated to chairman—attempt to understand formidable progress targets. In February, Twitter introduced targets to succeed in 315 million each day customers and $7.5 billion annual income within the subsequent two years. Twitter may finish 2021 with round 218 million each day customers and about $5 billion in annual income, in keeping with analysts surveyed by FactSet.

The 15-year-old firm has trailed the expansion of rivals, particularly Fb, which has a person base about 10 instances as giant throughout its household of apps. Twitter has experimented with new options and merchandise with combined success. Its shares have fallen greater than 20% this 12 months, whereas the Nasdaq Composite Index has gained greater than 17%.

Mr. Taylor stated his principal focus at Twitter is working with Mr. Agrawal, whom he has recognized since 2016 when he joined the board, and ensuring Mr. Agrawal succeeds within the new position. Messrs. Dorsey and Agrawal praised Mr. Taylor’s management and technical chops.

“He understands entrepreneurship, taking dangers, firms at large scale, expertise, product, and he’s an engineer,” Mr. Dorsey said in a letter to Twitter staff.

Mr. Taylor’s two present employers have a historical past collectively: In late 2016, Mr. Benioff tried to engineer a Salesforce acquisition of Twitter. Mr. Taylor had joined Twitter’s board shortly earlier than Salesforce purchased Quip, a workplace-focused doc collaboration startup Mr. Taylor had cofounded, for about $582 million. With a foot in each camps, Mr. Taylor says he recused himself from the Salesforce discussions over Twitter. Mr. Benioff deserted the pursuit after shareholder pushback.

Extra just lately, Mr. Benioff has been vocal in criticizing social-media firms and their leaders over misinformation and different harms. He has likened Fb to cigarettes. Mr. Taylor stated his personal views on social media have modified since leaving Fb.

“Marc has numerous private opinions he expresses, not all of which I share,” Mr. Taylor stated. Broadly, Mr. Taylor stated he believes in how the platforms promote public dialogue. “It doesn’t come with out dangers. I feel it’s a very vital dialog for society to have: How will we get the advantages of this public dialog with out among the adverse ramifications?”

Mr. Taylor has labored at a number of of the largest tech firms at vital moments. At Google within the early 2000s, he was product supervisor for Google Maps, one of many firm’s first large successes past search. He and three colleagues left to type FriendFeed, a startup that aggregated updates, posts and different snippets from different social-media platforms to create personalised feeds. Fb acquired it in 2009, partly to rent Mr. Taylor and his co-founders, an individual accustomed to the deal stated. FriendFeed had invented a “like” button, which Fb added to its service.

At Fb, the place he grew to become chief expertise officer, Mr. Taylor spearheaded an initiative that allow exterior builders join their instruments and merchandise to Fb. With minimal oversight, the choice to supply knowledge entry to outsiders finally led to data-sharing scandals after he left, together with Cambridge Analytica.

Mr. Taylor stated he was motivated by issues that customers may wish to export their knowledge, and that Fb had created a “walled backyard” round its entry to person data. It was a special time, when the No. 1 factor many individuals did on Fb was Farmville, a digital farm recreation, he stated.

“The broader implications of those networks—I don’t assume we totally understood, I don’t assume anybody totally understood on the time,” Mr. Taylor stated. Mr. Taylor left Fb in 2012 to start out Quip.

Fb’s ‘like’ button emerged after the tech large purchased FriendFeed, a startup Bret Taylor had co-founded that had invented its personal ‘like’ icon.


josh edelson/Agence France-Presse/Getty Photos

Mr. Taylor’s life is woven into the material of the tech business. He was born in Oakland and was raised within the East Bay the place he went to public faculties. One in every of his first gigs was in tech: serving to native companies construct web sites.

Mr. Taylor obtained each his bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in pc science from Stanford College. Each of his dad and mom additionally went to Stanford. He stays a loyal fan of the varsity’s soccer staff. He nonetheless lives within the East Bay together with his spouse and three youngsters. He says he enjoys cooking for his household, together with his favourite dish being pasta Bolognese.

Individuals who have labored with Mr. Taylor say his capacity to mix engineering sensibility with robust enterprise sense has helped him succeed. “Bret can get into the weeds with technical merchandise, and his understanding of software program offers him an enormous edge as a product particular person and a enterprise particular person,” stated Avichal Garg, a former colleague of Mr. Taylor’s at Google and Fb and co-founder of Electrical Capital, a cryptocurrency-focused enterprise agency.

Mr. Taylor nonetheless takes time to write down code. When wildfires hit the West Coast and air high quality was struggling, Mr. Taylor wrote his personal iPhone app to place air high quality readings on a map.

At Salesforce, Mr. Taylor rapidly rose as one of many extra technical senior leaders in an organization whose tradition is outlined by gross sales and that former staff stated has struggled to take care of technical expertise.

Ashwini Zenooz, Salesforce’s chief medical officer till earlier this 12 months, stated Mr. Taylor would take the time to take heed to what clients want in an advanced space like healthcare. “He was capable of join the dots,” stated Dr. Zenooz, who remembers Mr. Taylor getting off the telephone with an insurance coverage govt, then rapidly utilizing what he had simply realized to assist a healthcare govt on a following name.

Mr. Taylor has been a pressure behind Salesforce’s “Buyer 360” technique to combine its numerous functions. And he was the architect of final 12 months’s $27.7 billion buy of workplace-collaboration firm Slack Applied sciences, Salesforce’s greatest acquisition ever.

Mr. Taylor’s capacity to multitask could decide his future. Mr. Dorsey, who break up his time together with his different firm, Sq., confronted the ire of buyers who had hoped he would concentrate on a single position.

Mr. Taylor foresees no such situation for himself. “I really feel very snug with the time commitments and knew what I used to be stepping into,” he stated.

Write to Aaron Tilley at and Georgia Wells at

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

You May Also Like


France, which has opened its borders to Canadian tourists, is eager to see Canada reopen to the French. The Canadian border remains closed...


Kashechewan First Nation in northern Ontario is experiencing a “deepening state of emergency” as a result of surging COVID-19 cases in the community...


The virus that causes COVID-19 could have started spreading in China as early as October 2019, two months before the first case was identified in the central city of Wuhan, a new study...


April Ross and Alix Klineman won the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in women’s beach volleyball since 2012 on Friday,...