Whatsapp Co-Founder Jan Koum Success Story
Whatsapp being probably the largest messaging platform in the world was started with a dream in mind. A perspective that its founders, namely, Jan Koum and Brian Acton had. Jan Koum is a truly inspirational success story. From food stamps in teen life to doing a menial job like cleaning a grocery store and getting rejected by Facebook in 2009 to founding most used mobile messaging platform with more than 800 Million users active monthly. Let us dive into Whatsapp Success Story.
Jan Koum, Co -Founder Whatsapp Success Story
Jan Koum, co-founder of Whatsapp has seen many up’s and downs in his life. I truly praise such kind of personalities. Facebook recently bought Whatsapp for an astounding price of $19 Billion. It is the result of Koum and Acton’s incredibly hard work and determination and never die spirit. Koum has 45% stake in the company with Acton’s stake being at 20% valuing them directly at a whopping $8.3 Billion and $4.9 Billion respectively.
He was born in a small village Kiev in Ukraine. Jan Koum led a life full of hardships and deprivation( the lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity.) Both, in relationships and financially.
According to Forbes, his house didn’t even have electricity supply. But he and his mother soon escaped from that troubling place when he was 16. They both migrated to Mountain View, California. With some government support, they both managed to get a 2 bedroom apartment.
Tragic Turn In Life
All of a sudden he collapsed as his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He had to do menial( relatively small jobs which have no respect ) jobs like cleaning a grocery store and running errands for the nearby shop. He was forced to do all this but was relatively high on self respect.
But all of this changed after that astounding $19 Billion deal with Facebook.
Getting Rejected By Facebook
Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook but unfortunately both of them were rejected in 2009. After this he said:
“Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”
He gave a solid reply to Mark Zuckerberg after that astounding acquisition( obtaining of an asset or an object ).
Koum doesn’t like any kind of publicity and he even refused to put up a signboard outside their Whatsapp office. He completely dislikes any kind of advertisements or marketing promotions. Whatsapp is probably the largest company which is valued at $100 Billion once it monetizes like other companies. All of this without any television commercial or marketing in any sort.
He believes that if the product is good, people will love it and share it with others too. He says
“Focus on simplicity, listen to your customers and iterate if you fail.”
I found this picture on the internet. It was placed on Koum’s desk even after the $19 Billion deal with Facebook.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.”
– Mark Zuckerberg ( Current CEO and Founder of Facebook )
Meeting His Partner – Brian Acton
Koum met Brian Acton which led to his enormous career ahead. Later, Koum got a job at Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer. After this he dropped out of college.
He did not stay on the job for a long and along with Acton he started traveling around. They both saved money excessively. As these savings started getting big, they both came with some start-up ideas.
In 2009, Koum bought an iPhone and figured out that mobile applications would be the next huge thing. He thought of creating an error free and stable mobile application. After researching, he made a decision to make a messaging application free of any bugs and advertisements. He targeted mobile users as his user base.
Covering All Platforms
Today after those days Whatsapp is present at almost all the mobile platforms including those Nokia Symbian phones.
All of this was insanely hard for Koum. He said the code took months of back breaking and testing the code to get in place and functioning fully. Koum even thought of giving up the idea and the application but Acton convinced him to try some more time.
After this, they tried this application on their friend’s phones and they were amazed at the results they received. They probably didn’t knew that what they were making would work seamlessly!
Whatsapp Sucess Story – Why It Doesn’t Sell Advertisements
Brian and Acton said that they had worked hard for several years to sell ads. Because this was what was done at Yahoo. They worked at an environment that encouraged them to sell ads. Even today, you visit Yahoo’s homepage it is filled with advertisements. They said seeing that Yahoo declined because of this and Google got bigger enormously.
“We wanted to spend our time building a service people wanted to use because it worked and saved them money and made their lives better in a small way.”
Note that all of the hardships Jan faced, they made him even stronger and resilient. He was rejected, was low on resources but whatever the circumstances were he was focused and determined that yes, I have to do something great. It is this desire that made him go miles on his way. Now as we all know, Whatsapp is used daily by millions of people but at that time he didn’t knew that his product will be a hit or a miss. What he did for sure was to work upon himself and that is what drives his passion now as well.
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