Two years ago Evan Spiegel came up with the app Snapchat as a college project. This week he turned down a $3 billion cash offer from Facebook to buy the company (!) What makes a 23 year old reject a $3 billion offer on a business which until today has had no revenues? How did one idea grow so quick so fast? What can you learn from a freak growth story like Snapchat’s? In September 2011 Evan and his partner, Bobby Murphy, came up with the idea of Snapchat as their class project at Stamford, and set up the company from Evan’s father’s sitting room (Evan still lives with his Dad). Last year, Evan dropped out of college to work on Snapchat. Today, more than 350 million images are shared on Snapchat every day (already four times more than Instagram).
This week Jan Koum just sold his 4 year old company, WhatsApp, to Facebook for $19 Billion(!) He drove to the North County Social Services office to sign the deal. That’s where he used to stand in line to collect food stamps not so long ago. Jan has gone from having no money to $19 Billion in four years (That works out at at every day in retrospect being worth over $13 million, day after day for four years). How did he do that and what can we learn behind the crazy-big numbers? Back in 2009 the idea was hatched in the kitchen of Jan’s friend, Alex Fishman. Alex recalls “Jan was showing me his address book, His thinking was it would be really cool to have statuses next to individual names of the people.” Within a month, Jan had
18 months & 3 simple, not-so-simple steps to $1 billion… Today, Instagram sold to Facebook for $1 billion. A week ago, when TIME asked Instagram founder, Kevin Systrom, if he would sell the company, he said “It’s not really on the top of our minds right now.” Kevin is 27 years old and started Instagram 18 months ago with Mike Krieger, in October 2010. The company has grown with just 4 staff, and today has just 9 in the team. With the $1 billion deal that was announced today, was Kevin just plain lucky, or was there some simple steps that he (and others who have had the same luck) have in common? Here’s three steps he followed. They may not guarantee you exactly the same success – but they will increase your own good fortune: 1. THINK BIG FROM
Here’s a tweet Travis Kalanick sent in January 2010. The reply from Ryan Graves happened 3 minutes later. That tweet was worth over a billion dollars. January 2010 was the month Travis was doing a test run with 3 cars in New York for a mobile app that he and his friend, Garrett Camp, had just created. They had decided it was time to start a company around the app and, needing to find a GeneralManager to run it, Travis took to Craigslist and Twitter looking for the right person. Ryan’s reply to Travis came as he was looking for something new. He had some experience at GE, and had worked for Foursquare for a while for free after the company turned him down for a job. He was ready for a new opportunity – and took a chance with