3 Golden Lessons brought to us by Facebook’s Acquisition of WhatsApp


Flip through the business sections of any newspaper and you will encounter numerous stories about acquisitions and takeovers but only few of them brought an extraordinary rave among consumers, unlike those that involve tech companies.

So it is today that the world was caught by surprise upon hearing the news that Facebook has bought WhatsApp in a contract worth $19 billion. It trounces, by some margin, the $1 billion the social network paid for Instagram, the popular photo-sharing platform. It is also close to tripling the $7.2 billion purchase that Microsoft dealt with Nokia for its entire mobile company. And mind you, it’s one of the biggest technology takeovers since HP acquired Compaq for $25 billion in 2001.

But this is absolutely good news. WhatsApp was launched by Americans Brian Acton and Jan Koum way back 2009 after they decided to leave their positions at Yahoo! and go it by themselves. The ultimate goal of these two young pioneers was just to build a cool product that can be used globally by everyone but recently their endeavors were greatly rewarded when social media giant Facebook bought their renowned business venture with such a whopping amount. That’s definitely unprecedented in 21st century technology!

In his Twitter posts, Brian Acton shared his personal experience about how things really change in his career. He was filling his engineering roles at Yahoo! for 11 years and when his job had come to an end, he decided to go networking with recruiters and apply on giant companies including Facebook and Twitter but failed to get a nod. Instead, he and Koum agreed to launch WhatsApp. Now, who could imagine that an ordinary employee now gets 19 billion dollars from the same company who rejected him before? It seems that Acton’s fate is not for the mediocre, but something that equates with his five long years of developing the global messaging platform.

There are a handful of lessons we can get from this “blessing in disguise” experience of Acton and Koum. Here are 3 major points that we can extract from this incredible technological story.

DO NOT REST. NEVER QUIT. Just like any other success story, perseverance and determination are essential ingredients to reach our goals. Don’t be easily discouraged by failed strategies, methods and techniques. As a business-focused individual, cling to the value of discontentment. Don’t afraid of trying over and over again. You might fall upon countless “refusals” and “rejections” along the way, but most of the time they are just “re-directions” heading towards the fulfillment of your aspirations. Brian chose the right path when he and his business partner decided to put up WhatsApp because it became the best ticket that led them to success.

DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS. Convince yourself to get away from “small thinking” and stretch your imagination into something brave and bold. The reason why Brian received a “no” during his application to Facebook is because he is not fitted for the subordinate position; rather he is fitted for the managerial and ownership role. And with that favor, seasons turned out to be easy for him and for his colleague. In life, we don’t need to settle for small dreams. We are born to dream big dreams.

CONQUER THE GIANTS. Anything the mind can conceive can be achieved. Consider the right mentality that motivated famous entrepreneurs and CEOS around the world. It’s all about innovation and invasion. Brian was determined to accomplish their ultimate purpose of bringing the name WhatsApp into the spotlight. With that simple dream, they were able to conquer giant Facebook by creating such a historical acquisition deal of $19 billion for their messaging platform. We should not despise small beginnings because sooner or later these little origins will create a big difference along our journey to success, whether it’s business or personal life.

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