I love a good fairytale story. Four years ago a man named Brian Acton was working for Yahoo. His role came to an end and he was out on the job market hunting for jobs. He tried recruiters and had interviews with Twitter and Facebook. However nobody saw the potential in him.
Yesterday, that same man sold the product he and Jan Koume (a Yahoo colleague) had developed and created over the last four years to Facebook for 19bn. What’s more incredible is that if the regulators deem this purchase to be uncompetitive, WhatsApp still get 1bn in cash and 1bn in Facebook shares for the deal falling through. Whoever negotiated that deal is a genius.
It certainly now dwarfs the offer made to Snapchat of just 3bn, and while Snapchat isn’t quite on the same scale of WhatsApp yet, it shows just how much potential for sale there is and why the 3bn offer was turned down. Jan Koume is set to join Facebook’s board of directors too, in a doubly sweet deal for him. No mention of what Acton will be up to post sale.
Quality Innovative Approach
Jan keeps a note from Brian taped to his desk that reads “No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!”, it’s clear how the approach to WhatsApp was to be as clean and clear a line of communication between individiduals and groups and to not pollute the experience with other options or approaches. The interesting and low level approach to WhatsApp is actually quite ingenius. $0.99c a year to use the service after the free first year.
My service expires in May 2014 and for €0.89c to use the app, I can’t see why I wouldn’t just pay it. I mean it’s less than a can of Coke. With 450m active users a month. Even more when you consider that’s just the active user base. Over 1 million are installing and using it every day. 1 year on and that’s almost a guaranteed 1 million in revenue… a day. That’s just at its current rate of growth.
The model and logic behind WhatsApp, not only in revenue generation, but scale, where they only have 32 engineers. They have 14 million users. They manage to maintain almost 100% uptime with just 32 engineers and an extremely small support team. They have no marketing or PR person in the company, growth is entirely organic.
A very interesting story to see, the below are tweets highlighted over on TechCrunch that show tweets from Brian Acton 4 years ago. How times have changed.
Hat/Tip – TechCrunch / How Things Change