W for WhatsApp

1992, a guy from Ukraine came to America, lived on a social support program and rented a small 2-bedroom apartment. He worked and cleaned floors at a grocery store while his mother worked as a babysitter. At age 18, he became interested in programming, was determined to learn to code and chase his dreams. He started renting manuals and books from a bookstore and return them when he was done.

He then enrolled at San Jose University and at the same time worked as a security tester. In 1997, he was hired by Yahoo. He worked there for 10 years. In September 2007, he and one of his friends left Yahoo to work on their dream business. After a year of hardship, they realized that that the idea is not working and decided to apply for a job again. When they tried and applied for a position at Facebook, they got rejected.

It was a tough phase without a job, no business, lack of money. Slowly their dreams started breaking down. Finally, before quitting they decided to try one last time. In 2009, they developed an app which they sold to Facebook in 2014 for $19 Billion.

And the app is Whatsapp and this is the story of Brian Acton and Jan Koum.

One big reason for its success includes that they do not sell advertisements. Brian and Acton once told that they had worked hard for several years to sell ads. Because this was what was done at Yahoo. They worked in 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. Another good point is ‘It makes you Socially Active, Privately.’

Also, for those who do not know, initially Whatsapp was free for the first year, and only 1$/year afterward. But probably this didn’t work for them, so they posted the following message:

“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.

Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

So, yeah, it is free guys.

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