Friday 21 June 2019

WhatsApp’s: Inspiring Success Story of Jan Koum Founder of WhatsApp’s From Rags To Riches.

WhatsApp story is live example of innovation in true terms. This is Jan Koum’s Story “Rising from Rags to Riches”, the Co-founder and CEO of globally famous mobile messaging application–WhatsApp.

Can we imagine a world without WhatsApp, can we keep our smart mobiles without WhatsApp? Obviously, answer is great “No”.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for a huge US $19.3 Billion.

 Story of Struggles, sufferings and desolations
Jon Koum co-founder of WhatsApp was born in Kiev, Ukraine in a Jewish family. He faced a life of true hardship. He knew the meaning of living in the throes of deprivation. Koum was so poor that his house did not even have electricity.

His mother moved with him and grandmother to California in 1992, where a social support program helped the family to get a small two-bedroom apartment, at the age of 16. 

His father had intended to join the family later, but he never left Ukraine, and died in 1997. Koum and his mother remained in touch with his father until his death.

At first Koum's mother worked as a babysitter, while he himself worked as a cleaner at a grocery store. His mother died in 2000 after a long battle with cancer.

The great American dream did not make its way to Jan’s life as quickly as he hoped. Everything in the United States was expensive.

By 18, Jan knew he wanted to learn to program. He knew this was his destiny. Jan studied by buying second hand books and stationary and returning them after he was done.

He was hit with a major blow when his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and Koum was left to fend for himself in a strange and unknown country.

But life’s adversities only made Jan Koum stronger and resilient. By 18, he learnt computer networking all by himself with the help of manuals from a used book stores.
Little did he realize that this was the beginning of an illustrious career. Meeting Brian Acton was a turning point in his life.

Along with that, he also began working with Ernst & Young as a Security Tester.

Jon Koum and Yahoo

After working there for roughly six months, Jon Koum got the biggest opportunity of his life. He was selected to work at Yahoo as an Infrastructure Engineer. Now this was when he was still studying at San Jose State University. Soon he dropped out of college. 

However, Koum did not stay on the job for long. In 2007, Koum and Acton bid farewell to Yahoo and decided to unwind and travel around.

In 2007 after giving nine years of his life to Yahoo, Koum and Acton left Yahoo and took a year off. And this is when it all began! But they weren’t sure what to do next. They took a year off traveling around South America to refresh their minds.
Origins of WhatsApp

In 2009, after purchasing an iPhone, Koum had the vision to see that an entire industry was about to form based around mobile apps.

The app store was just a few months old, but Koum saw it starting an entire new industry. He started thinking about building an app.

At the time, Koum was living off of his savings from Yahoo!, with little direction as to where his next career path would take him. 
Looking to capitalize on this up-and-coming industry, Koum began to explore the possibility of creating an app that would let mobile users better interact and engage with their friends, family, and business contacts without ads.

Koum almost immediately chose the name WhatsApp because it sounded like "what's up", and a week later on his birthday, February 24, 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California.

WhatsApp was initially unpopular, but its fortunes began to turn after Apple added push notification ability to apps in June 2009.
Koum changed WhatsApp to "ping" users when they received a message, and soon afterwards he and Fishman's Russian friends in the area began to use WhatsApp as a messaging tool, in place of SMS.

The app gained a large user base, and Koum convinced Acton, who was then still unemployed, to join the company. Koum granted Acton co-founder status after Acton managed to bring in $250,000 in seed funding.

It was a bit of a rocky start for WhatsApp, though. After numerous crashes and failures, Koum grew frustrated with the app’s development and reportedly considered giving it up entirely.

Luckily for the both of them, the duo did indeed stick it out and saw the app through to its eventual success. By February of 2013, WhatsApp boasted 50 staff members and 200 million users.

Shortly thereafter, the app was bought out by Facebook for a staggering $19 billion—a number that stands as the largest acquisition in the world to date.

Another fascinating aspect is; WhatsApp runs lean with just 32 engineers. One WhatsApp developer supports 14 million active users, a ratio unheard of in the industry. 

The most remarkable aspect of the company is that, “It doesn’t even employ a marketer or PR person. Yet like the world’s greatest brands, it’s created a strong emotional connection with consumers.

Written by Engr Maqbool Akram with help of Wikipedia and other write-ups available on net. Photos are from sources with thanks.

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