Life can take some strange turns and that's what we see with the lives of Brian Acton and Jan Koum. Got denied by Twitter HQ. That's ok. Would have been a long commute. Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life's next adventure.
Brian Acton after leaving his engineering job at Yahoo was denied a job at Twitter and Facebook. Jan Koum was born in Ukraine and his family used to collect food stamps to fill their tummies. Now, both these founders will be joining the board of directors at Facebook, which even refused them an interview 5 years back.
WhatsApp was born when these two geniuses decided to make a simple app for messaging that is free of ads and provides a simple and cheap way of messaging. Their approach resulted in a messaging app which today boasts of 450 million users and as Mark Zuckerberg said, is on a path to reach 1 billion users soon. It is adding around 1 million new users daily. That's much much more than total Facebook users no to mention Twitter and Skype.
The success of WhatsApp has been due its combination of simplicity, free for first year and then a extremely small fee, no ads and of course the high privacy it offers. The communist approach of tapping into the communications of their citizens had taught Jan Koum the importance of privacy and that was very well reflected in WhatsApp where you just need to verify your mobile number.
It was obvious for Facebook that the number of users of WhatsApp is far more than they could ever hope to achieve so it was either putting down the arms or go ahead and make an offer to acquire WhatsApp for a price that their owners can't refuse.
The deal is by far the biggest acquisition made by Facebook. It had made an attempt earlier to acquire SnapChat, but failed to do so. There were rumors since the previous year that Facebook and Google both are looking forward to acquire WhatsApp. Facebook had acquired Instagram for $1 billion and that was till now its biggest acquisition and now it has been dwarfed by WhatsApp acquisition price.
According to the filing, the owners of WhatsApp will get $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash. In addition to this the founders and employees will also get $3 billion in restricted stocks of Facebook which brings the total price of the deal to $19 billion.
WhatsApp is presently free for the first year and after that charges a minimal fee of $0.99 for 1 year subscription. For many iPhone users it is even free!
Here is what is going to change for WhatsApp users- NOTHING!
Yes, you read it right. Just like Instagram, WhatsApp will still be managed by its founders and its team of 55 amazing engineers. There will be no ads, not extra payment or any gimmick. The founders of WhatsApp were clear about this from the start that there should be no change in the core principles of the company and on that is based this acquisition. WhatsApp will run on its core philosophy of 'No Ads, Games, Gimmicks'. This philosophy was written by the co founder Jan Koum and is still pinned on his desk on a cheap scribbling paper.
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Got denied by Twitter HQ. That's ok. Would have been a long commute.— Brian Acton (@brianacton) May 23, 2009
Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life's next adventure.— Brian Acton (@brianacton) August 3, 2009