As it turns out now, Facebook made a costly mistake back in 2009 by turning down WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton for a job when he applied to work for the company that year. Acton just made a deal together with his co-founder Jan Koum and with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, on Valentine’s Day this past week to sell the popular messaging app to the social networking site for a whopping $19 billion. As karma would have it, the software engineer, formerly the Vice President of Engineering at the company Yahoo, applied to work at both Twitter in May of 2009 and to Facebook in August of 2009, and was rejected by both of the social media giants. No one wanted to hire Acton, but now the companies are most definitely suffering their losses, after Acton got right back up and dusted himself off after the companies rejected him and decided to start up his own, now extremely successful business, WhatsApp Inc., with Co-Founder Jan Koum.
WhatsApp’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years with the increasing use of smartphones, and is now a multi-billion dollar app. If Acton had been hired at Facebook, WhatsApp could have well been developed for the Facebook itself and saved it a huge sum of money, but the company undoubtedly made a costly mistake turning down the WhatsApp Co-Founder for a job.
WhatsApps’s major appeal to users is that, being a web based messaging service, it allows them to talk internationally and otherwise essentially for free without racking up the high costs that they would with regular mobile texting. The app is also popular for its simple photo, audio, and video sharing capabilities. Facebook and the WhatsApp team finalized the deal early this week for Facebook to acquire the app for $19 billion in stock and cash.
Jan Koum, the other co-founder of WhatApp, along with Acton, has also been intriguing people in the past week with the story of his rise from a life on food stamps to a multi-billion dollar lifestyle. Koum, 38, who is from the Ukraine, moved to California when he was a teen and lived off of food stamps with his mother in his youth. A self-made success, Koum taught himself computer programming and worked as an infrastructure engineer in the late ’90s, meeting Acton when he was employed at Yahoo. He decided to develop what is now WhatsApp, and Acton helped him with initial funding, with Koum subsequently naming him co-founder.
Mark Zukerberg, founder of Facebook, had apparently been interested in WhatsApp for about two years, stating his belief that merging the two companies would help with further connecting the world. Discussions had been in the works between the two WhatApp Co-founders and Zuckerberg for a while, but nothing had been finalized up until now, when Facebook shelled out $19 billion to acquire the messaging app. The merging will surely help with the connectivity of the world, but one thing is for sure, though. Facebook made a costly mistake turning down Acton for a job, and the company is certainly reaping the monetary consequences of it now.
By Laura Clark