Many do not know it, but they this app every day and cannot do without it (almost all over the world). Not everyone who is behind a successful project becomes a famous person. This is the case with Jan Koum.
He is one of the richest men in the world thanks to his WhatsApp application. But Jan’s story hasn’t always been this rosy.
He was born in 1976 in Kyiv, Ukraine. As a young man, he moved to the United States with his family, to escape the poverty in Eastern Europe.
Upon arriving in California, Jan began working as a clerk in a dog food store and later in a shopping mall.
Jan later met Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp. The two made friends, pooled ideas, courage, and funding, and began to work together.
But the road has been long and painful. The inventor of the messaging app had the characteristics that experts say are typical of all successful people.
The good news is, that it is a character aspect that can be learned. We will analyze this quality together. Keep reading.
In 1992, when Jan was 16, his family was forced to leave Ukraine and move to California. The Koums lived in a San Jose apartment.
In addition to the small jobs, he did to support himself and helped his family …
Jan enrolled at San Jose State University but failed to graduate because he had to focus on work. In 1997 he met Brian Acton.
First, he worked at Yahoo and tried to get into Facebook: the door was slammed in his face several times by the most famous social media team.
Facebook didn’t know it had rejected one of the brightest minds in this social tech age.
What did he do at Yahoo? He helped customers set up their emails and tried to solve their problems.
During his university career, he met the two founders of Napster: Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker.
Those influences certainly played a positive role in Jan’s stroke of genius that led him to create an app that today people use for fun and professionally.
In 2009, together with Brian Acton, he founded WhatsApp: an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages and images for free.
The idea the two had was to offer an alternative service to the classic SMS of old cell phones.
The first apps that Jan and his partner try to do are too similar to the others already on the market and no one trusts the two startuppers.
But they don’t give up.
They try again and the third app, WhatsApp finally succeeds. The service grows exponentially and reaches about one billion active users per month in 2016.
In February 2014, the most famous social network in the world, Facebook, acquires WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars. A record figure for an app.
Today Jan Koum is a rich and famous man but he has kept out of the spotlight. He doesn’t like interviews and prefers to keep his privacy.
After selling WhatsApp to Facebook, Jan stayed with the company for 4 years as CEO, but in 2018 he decided to leave the social network to pursue other projects.
Some rumors say that the real reason for his abandonment is linked to the difference of views with Mark Zuckerberg on how to manage WhatsApp and on user privacy.
Zuckerberg wanted to introduce features that Koum found detrimental to user privacy, such as location tracking.
Not too long ago he bought a $45 million home in Los Altos Hills, California.
The success of WhatsApp has been so great that it immediately found itself facing several problems.
In 2013, researchers discovered a vulnerability in the app that allowed hackers to read user messages.
In those years there were already several instant messaging apps on the market, but registration was too complicated.
WhatsApp allowed you to register via your mobile number, without any verification by the company.
What did this mean? That it was possible to use WhatsApp without providing any personal data to the company.
This has made the app very popular among users and also very attractive to hackers.
In 2016, WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption on all of its services, making it impossible for anyone, including the company, to read users’ messages.
Another problem that WhatsApp had to face was the spread of fake news.
In India, for example, some fake news spread through the app led to the deaths of several innocent people.
To solve this problem, WhatsApp partnered with the BBC and created a team dedicated to the fight against fake news.
In Ukraine there is no chance to live well: we move to Kyiv.
Facebook does not want to hire me: I become an entrepreneur.
The University is not for me: I specialize in a job to grow like this.
There is a need for a new way to send messages: I invented WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has encryption problems: they invite you in a way that makes it safe.
Wherever there is a problem there is a solution. If the solution is not there, there is no problem.
This is a famous phrase that I have not invented but use as an idea.
The most successful people, according to research by the experts have the propensity to be problem solvers. They see problems as huge opportunities.
When Jan Koum emigrated to the United States from Ukraine, there was certainly no internet and it was not even remotely thought that one day he could invent WhatsApp.
Likewise, if Mark Zuckerberg had listened to his parents’ advice, we might not be here today talking about Facebook.
Problems are opportunities that must be grasped. If we’re good at getting around or fixing them, there’s something extraordinary waiting for us.
It takes the desire and the courage to go and see.
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