How Brian Acton Co-founded WhatsApp With Jan Koum After Being Turned Down By Facebook And Twitter…
Facebook turned HIM down. And Twitter too. But, he still made it with his optimism and self confidence. Who are we talking about here? The internet entrepreneur and a hero of his time, who has made mobile messaging an easy game for everybody – Brian Acton. This computer engineer, who was a former employee of both Apple and Yahoo.Inc, is the co-founder of WhatsApp, the biggest internet-based mobile messaging platform at present.
But, all of you are aware of this fact, right? What you may not know yet is that this genius was rejected at the interviews of both the social media giants Twitter and Facebook for a mere job. And now, Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in stock and cash, the greatest acquisition in the history of startups. So, are you ready to learn how Brian Acton took his initial defeat positively and bounced back to change the future of mobile phones? Read on then.
Henry Ford has said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”. And this works perfectly in Acton’s case. Neither he, nor his friend and partner Jan Koum too, failures to their heart and in no time, they started with a new zeal to change the world with their attitude and intelligence. Both of them worked at Yahoo as software engineers and their friendship blossomed there. When Brian Acton was rejected by Facebook and Twitter, he contacted this friend and WhatsApp was founded in 2009.
WhatsApp went through a lot of tests and failures before it was finally released for iPhones and Symbian OS in 2010. Koum almost gave up but Acton, in spite of multiple failures, raised his spirits high and encouraged his friend and business partner to go on. And ultimately their hard work paid off and WhatsApp was released in the iPhone’s app store. The height of optimism led them to their destinies and today they are multi-billionaires, thanks to Facebook.
Let us ponder over the brief history of WhatsApp, from the day it was released to the date Facebook acquired it for $19 billion. When WhatsApp was first released into the app space of iPhone, it charged some bucks for the first time installers and in Androids, it was charged on a yearly basis. But, the amazing fact is, the users became so addicted to the messaging app, that the small amount of money did not count for them. On the other hand, Jan Koum and Brian Acton became rich men within a fortnight.
According to present statistics, there are about 250 million WhatsApp users per month. A jaw-dropping number for any apparently new messaging app. Moreover, the revenue from the app went straight into the company account as there were no extra costs. And what made the users like this messaging platform by Brian Acton and Jan Koum even more was the fact that there were no flashing advertisements. Working with Yahoo gave them the knowledge that users do not like advertisements flashing every now and then and this helped them to make WhatsApp completely ad-free. In fact, WhatsApp needed no ads. The word of mouth promotion was immense. And when it garnered enough user attention, Facebook turned its face towards the newly developed app and decided to acquire it in 2014.
Today, both Brian Acton and Jan Koum holds 45% and 20% stakes of their company respectively which is worth billions of dollars ($6.8 + $3 approximately). So, what inspired these two app giants to lead their path from rags to riches? We have to know a little bit about their history in order to gain valuable insight into their success story.
A die hard optimist, this Stanford University computer science graduate never gave up on his dreams even when he was rejected a job by the social media giants Facebook and Twitter. The tweet that Brian Acton made rings with optimism:
“Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”
Instead of pouring out his frustration, Brian Acton gathered courage to blaze his trail and ended up co-founding WhatsApp. That’s how the story goes for everybody who fails to give up.
Koum, in many ways, is quite similar to the tech startup guys in Silicon valley who speaks great humor and dons his favorite T-shirt and hoody and swears like the captain of a ship. And indeed he is. Born and brought up in Ukraine, he migrated to California at the age of 16 with his mom and granny in 1992. His initial days in California were full of hardships. His mom was a babysitter and he cleaned a nearby grocery store for a few bucks.
But eventually, he developed a liking for programming and managed his way into San Jose State University while working for Ernest & Young as a tester. In 1997, however, he made his way into Yahoo.Inc as an engineer and that is exactly where he met his future partner Brian Acton and his luck changed for the better. Both of them never thought that their friendship could make them billionaires some day. While God helps those who help themselves, Jan Koum and Brian Acton proved the myth true by taking their failures not as obstacles, but as stones on which they stepped on towards success.
Few lessons that you can learn from Brian Acton and Jan Koum’s success stories:
- Never give up – You are destined to make it BIG. Everybody is. Only if you give up, you will lose your grip on your destiny permanently.
- Take your failures positively – Do not be overwhelmed by them and do not take them to your heart. Instead, use them as stepping stones to reach your destination.
- Always keep your spirits high – Motivate yourselves if there is no one else to motivate you.
Make the right connections – Gear up with the person who shares your thoughts and perspectives. You never know what you can do together.
- Stay Updated – In a constantly changing world, you need to update and upgrade yourselves continuously to stay aware of all the changes around you. Then only can you aspire to make a difference.
Today, Brian Acton and Jan Koum is successful in the truest meaning of the term. If you wish to be the same, then start from today itself. Learn new ways and raise your spirits sky high. Do not let anything come in your way and eventually you will taste success just like they did. If you have anything related to success and motivation that you would like to share with us, write it down in the comments section below. We will get back to you in no time.