To encourage Twitter to expand its machine learning & artificial intelligence capabilities, Jack Dorsey, then the company's executive chairman, went to an engineer named Parag Agrawal.
Later, when Mr. Dorsey took over as C.E.O. of Twitter and required assistance modernizing the organization's core, he also turned to Mr. Agrawal. And Mr. Agrawal was once more enlisted to assist Mr. Dorsey when he envisioned a decentralized future for Twitter in 2019 based on tools like the blockchain.
Mr. Agrawal was chosen as Twitter's new C.E.O. after Mr. Dorsey resigned from his position (2).
After his employment in 2017, Mr. Agrawal served as the company's chief technology officer. Even some Twitter insiders expressed astonishment at his selection.
However, the engineer, born in India, was Mr. Dorsey's confidant and a seasoned Twitter user engaged in many of the organization's most important strategic projects.
Because of this, Mr. Dorsey became gushing about his successor, tweeting that the board had "unanimously" backed Mr. Agrawal after conducting a "rigorous" search for a new C.E.O.
Given how thoroughly he comprehended the organization and its requirements, Mr. Dorsey, 45, wrote, "He's been my preference for some time.
Mr. Agrawal stated in the business email, which he also tweeted, "I joined this company ten years ago when it had fewer than 1,000 people. "I've been in your position and experienced the highs and lows, barriers and problems, triumphs and failures. But more than anything else, both then and now, I see Twitter's amazing effect, our continuous development, and the promising opportunities that lie ahead."
Mr. Agrawal was the most recent executive of Indian descent to lead a significant American technology company. Businesses like Microsoft, Google, and I.B.M. are led by executives of South Asian heritage, many of whom succeeded the companies' founders. Some viewed Mr. Agrawal's promotion in Silicon Valley as the embodiment of the American dream.
The Early life of Parag Agarwal
Agrawal was born in Rajasthan's Ajmer. His mother is a former Economics professor from Mumbai's Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, while his father served as a top officer in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy.
He finished his last year of higher secondary school in 2001 at Mumbai's Atomic Energy Junior College. He won a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad that year, held in Antalya, Turkey.
Agrawal graduated from IIT Bombay with a Bachelor of Technology in computer science and engineering in 2005. That year, he relocated to the United States to work under Jennifer Widom's direction at Stanford University to complete a Ph.D. in computer science. His 2012 Stanford Ph.D. thesis title is "Incorporating Uncertainty in Data Management and Integration."
He joined a database-focused research team there, which allows computers to store and mine massive volumes of digital data.
Even among Stanford students, Mr. Agrawal stood out for having a solid understanding of the math and theory behind computer science, according to Jennifer Widom.
She says, "Having both of those skills, arithmetic and theory, can carry you a long way. If you are skilled at theory, you have the capacity for analysis, rational thought, and decision-making."
Mr. Agrawal was a perfect fit for Twitter because of his work on databases because the social media platform must manage data coming from millions of users worldwide. He began working for the company in 2011 before finishing his doctorate. He quickly became a key engineering team member in charge of the firm's advertising solutions.
Dr. Widom remarked, "I continued bugging him to go ahead and finish his thesis.
Parag Agarwal At Twitter
The Twitter advertisements team was among the first to extensively utilize machine learning or mathematical systems that can learn specific skills by studying data. By using these strategies, Mr. Agrawal and his coworkers could target ads at specific individuals, increasing Twitter's revenue and his profile.
He later joined a group of senior engineers known as the Twitter Architecture Group, or T.A.G., which analyzed and enhanced the company's ongoing projects.
Krishna Gade, who first met Mr. Agrawal during his job interview with Twitter, claimed that "he was on the shortlist of top engineers." He significantly impacted the company's engineering strategy even back then. 2014 saw Mr. Gade leave Twitter.
Mr. Agrawal was one of Mr. Dorsey's lieutenants when he rejoined Twitter as C.E.O. in 2015. He assisted in refocusing the company's efforts on the "timeline" that feeds tweets into a user's Twitter app. Mr. Agrawal received a promotion to C.T.O. at Twitter in 2017.
Kevin Quennesson, who was in charge of Twitter's machine-learning efforts at the time, described him as "pragmatic." He developed solid internal relationships over the past ten years because he was one of the original engineers.
Mr. Agrawal maintained a low profile in his role as chief technology officer. He worked in the background to reassemble Twitter's technical foundation, which had been pieced together over time.
This resulted in engineering issues and delayed the company's introduction of new goods and services. Using cloud computing technologies from Google and Amazon, Mr. Agrawal assisted Twitter in streamlining its operations.
According to Mr. Dorsey, Twitter has plans to support an independent research project in 2019 to develop decentralized social media that would let people use their algorithms to boost content and make their moderation judgments. He chose Mr. Agrawal to manage Twitter's contributions to the Bluesky initiative.
In as interview, Mr. Agrawal stated, "We feel that empowering more people and third parties could assist solve problems for communities and help more people. Many individuals want to contribute to the solution, but the only way to do so is to either work at Twitter or find a method to convince a firm like ours to give their community priority. That is a portion of the thought process and justification behind algorithmic choosing."
Mr. Agrawal stated that Twitter was keen to study how algorithms lift content rather than debates over what content to keep or remove from its site.
Additionally, Mr. Agrawal oversaw Twitter's initiative to integrate cryptocurrencies into the service, enabling users to send tips in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. He also encouraged Twitter to disclose its findings that a photo-cropping algorithm it utilized was biased to help efforts to be open about Twitter's algorithmic errors.
Mr. Agrawal's focus on product development appealed to insiders who thought Twitter had moved too slowly to deploy new items. They added that his hiring might also enable Twitter to emulate the achievements of other businesses that have hired engineering leaders to direct turnaround initiatives.
Parag Agarwal Salary
Parag Agrawal received a $1 million yearly salary plus bonuses, restricted stock units, and performance-based stock units worth a combined $30 million. (3)