Of WhatsApp, Russia And The Real Story [Curated Reads]
The world is abuzz with Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for $19Bn.
If you are bored by now, don’t be. There is a deeper perspective about WhatsApp and the founding team’s DNA, that makes it worthwhile to read more and more and importantly, learn more and more from founding team’s vision of the product.
In no particular order, here are some great pieces that we have curated for NextBigWhat readers:
The team wanted to focus on simplicity. They wanted to grow naturally and sustainably. They wanted to avoid advertising at all costs. And, perhaps most interestingly, they didn’t want press.
This “flying under-the-radar” approach seems not only foreign, but downright insane to many entrepreneurs I talk to these days. But I tend to agree with it, depending on the situation. The reality is that you’re so much better growing as WhatsApp did. Because at the end of the day, no amount of press you get will matter if your product isn’t where it needs to be.
The WhatsApp Story [Forbes]
“Even then there was no WhatsApp sign for the office. “Their directions were ‘Find the Evernote building. Go round the back. Find an unmarked door. Knock,’”
“The following month after a game of ultimate frisbee with Acton, Koum grudgingly admitted he should probably fold up and start looking for a job. Acton balked. “You’d be an idiot to quit now,” he said. “Give it a few more months.”
Facebook buys Whatsapp for $19 billion: Value and Pricing Perspectives
“User engagement matters: The value per user increases with user engagement. Put different, social media companies that have users who stay on their sites longer are worth more than companies where users don’t spend as much time. While making comparisons across companies is difficult, since each company often has its own “measure” of engagement, there is evidence that markets care about this statistic. For instance, another reason Twitter was punished after its last report was that investors believed that the “timeline views per average user” and the “revenues per 1000 timeline views” reported the company were lower than they had anticipated.”
Sequoia Capital : Four Numbers That Explain Why Facebook Acquired WhatsApp
“Jan’s childhood made him appreciate communication that was not bugged or taped. When he arrived in the U.S. as a 16-year-old immigrant living on food stamps, he had the extra incentive of wanting to stay in touch with his family in Russia and the Ukraine.
When we first partnered with WhatsApp in January 2011, it had more than a dozen direct competitors, and all were supported by advertising. (In Botswana alone there were 16 social messaging apps). Jan and Brian ignored conventional wisdom. Rather than target users with ads — an approach they had grown to dislike during their time at Yahoo — they chose the opposite tack and charged a dollar for a product that is based on knowing as little about you as possible. “
What If WhatsApp Had Stayed Independent? [Azeem, PeerIndex]
“By 2017, WhatsApp could conceivably be on every device outside of China. In fact, it could be as prevalent as SMS, only cheaper, faster and more fun. If its current growth rate of close to 100 percent continued, it would get to 800m by end of 2014, 1.5bn by end of 2015 and beyond.”
The Story Of Sequoia Capital’s $6.4 Billion ‘Revenge’ On Mark Zuckerberg [BusinessInsiderr]
“But even though there was no way Zuckerberg was going to take Sequoia money, he took the meeting it anyway. He had a prank in mind.”
Google was willing to beat Facebook
Mr. Page’s message to Mr. Koum: Stay independent as you’ve always planned. You’re a big threat to Facebook. And joining Facebook would have a major impact on “how things play out for years to come,” according to one of the people involved in the talks.
Recommended Read : Why It Is Difficult to Build a WhatsApp From India. No, It’s Not About the Product.
[Image credit : Sequoia Capital]