When we woke up to the fantastic news of FB buying out Whatsapp for an incredible US$ 19 Billion, it was an inevitable moment waiting to happen ever since the Instagram buyout by Facebook last year if you ask me.
It was a big day where everyone including me made comments on the valuations and how the pricing could have been better and there were questions if it was worth the price et al.
It was also interesting to see how it was a classic rags to riches story of the founders. A wonderful reading of these two pieces here and here would reveal the The ideal situation as I read is how the founders stuck to basics and that’s what is missing in our way of looking at things. The best part for me is how could an app with over 450 Million active users say NO to advertising. Going by the blog from Sequoia it has been different right from the start. Sample this…
From the moment they opened the doors of WhatsApp, Jan and Brian wanted a different kind of company. While others sought attention, Jan and Brian shunned the spotlight, refusing even to hang a sign outside the WhatsApp offices in Mountain View. As competitors promoted games and rushed to build platforms, Jan and Brian remained devoted to a clean, lightning fast communications service that works flawlessly.
As we fret over the price that FB paid it is becoming increasingly clear that FB is driving around without a clear cut mobile or mobile first strategy. As more and more platforms come into vogue and the interest begins to fade in FB, it will be interesting to see how they will restructure Facebook to make it relevant or spruce up the offering they have in Instagram and Whatsapp.
As I keep reading loads and loads on the acquisition, one things comes clear that you need to build a no nonsense product and get the users hooked. The rest as they is history.
Two more aspects that the twitterati and the people world over loved is the fact that Brian was rejected by Facebook and twitter for employment. These I reckon are hard times for HR especially on how it could have changed the whole scenario.
The other aspect is that of No PR, it is everyone’s attempt these days that you need to be a part of the PR machinery but in this case of Whatsapp its been the other way round, the founders not even willing to meet up VCs lining up their office. Oh btw the office had no sign board literally. Sounds pretty cool detached as in the vedic way!
Back home we have the same template which played out in New Delhi elections, someone from the ruling party had mentioned this, had they passed the Jan Lok Pal, there would not have been IAC or AAP. I do think only similarity ends just up there.
It goes without saying that the mobile first is the way to go especially if you are trying to solve a pain point in the days to come.
Before I end I think this image will remain in memory for long…