Ghana’s Ivy Barley interviews Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

Ghanaian entrepreneur and program manager Ivy Barley hosted new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of tech giants Twitter, Parag Agrawal on Spaces.

Ivy Barley and Twitter CEO

The interview was Mr. Agrawal’s first on Twitter Spaces since he assumed the reins at Twitter as CEO in November 2021.

Sharing his experience from how he started in India, Mr. Agrawal said he only found himself in tech because of his love for mathematics.

“I ended up with computer science in undergrad I loved math and I ended up being good enough to pursue computer science. My journey was very much not geared towards wanting to be in tech and but more the theoretical side of computer science”, he told Ivy Barley.

Having worked his way as a research intern at Microsoft and Yahoo, he said those experiences honed him for the current responsibilities he has.

“When I started my Ph.D. I was very open minded about what I want to become. I actually thought about being a professor or doing industrial research. Two years in doing industrial researches, I knew I don’t want to be a professor. The shift from being in industrial research to the real industry happened at a later stage.”

Touching on his role as the youngest CEO of a S&P 500 company in the world, Mr. Agrawal said: “I think it is a very contradictory feeling. I feel very humbled, so much to do and so much to learn from all the people I get to work with at Twitter.”

“I also feel a lot of responsibility. Like I have been at Twitter for almost a decade and always had this vision for what Twitter could become and should become and I feel this immense responsibility on behalf of our customers and people that use Twitter and people who don’t use Twitter but Twitter ends up impacting their lives anyway. I feel a lot of responsibility to make Twitter the best it can be.”

Agrawal was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India in 1984. In 2005, Agrawal obtained his Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science and engineering from IIT Bombay. That year, he moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in computer science from Stanford University.

Agrawal held research internships at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Research prior to joining Twitter as a software engineer in 2011.

In October 2017, Twitter announced the appointment of Agrawal as chief technology officer following the departure of Adam Massinger.

In December 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Agrawal would be in charge of Project Bluesky, an initiative to develop a decentralized social network protocol.

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