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WhatsApp

So the biggest news in the tech world now is Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp. The founders are now the latest billionaires in the Valley.

According to Sequoia Capital (the investors behind WhatsApp), four numbers made the app remarkable:

  • the app has more than 450 million active users. That’s more than Twitter. Note the word ‘active’ (ie, engaged users).
  • the company hires only 32 engineers, remaining exceptionally lean. That comes up to about one engineer per 14 million users, an unheard of ratio in the industry.
  • the 1 note that is taped to the founder’s desk: No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks! This reminds the team to stay focused on building a pure messaging experience
  • the company did not spend a penny on marketing. It does not employ a marketer or PR person. Its success is based purely on user satisfaction and word of mouth. The users are its best marketers.

What is the takeaway of this success story? For me, it is simply this – focus on building a great product and giving your users a seamless experience, all the rest will follow.

 

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