How many stories about how “just a man” was “out there somewhere” and became “fact”, even assuming that this is possible? The scenarios are countless, no one knows how life will go, where it will lead. You can drift, you can resist him. The outcome is unknown, the result is not determined in advance — too many variables.
- Childhood in the town near Kiev
- Immigration to the US, a suitcase of notebooks and pens
- Did not finish my studies because Yahoo! broke the server
- Rested, bought an iPhone and decided to write the app
- A new story, the finale, the billionaire
Childhood in the town near Kiev
Let’s look at the story of Jan Kuma — Ukrainian who became American, and later a billionaire, and probably quite pleased with what happened to his life. He was born in 1976 in Kiev, but spent his childhood in the town of Fastov in 70 kilometers from the capital of Ukraine. His father worked as a Director of the mobile mechanized column, he supervised the construction of schools and health facilities, and the mother was a housewife.
The city of Fastiv in 25-30 years before the birth of Jan Kuma. Photo: etoretro.ru
Western sources often add drama to the period of childhood of the founder of WhatsApp. Forbes magazine, for example, wrote that the future billionaire was raised in a small village not far from Kiev, although fastow has acquired the status of city in the decades before the birth of Jan. In the house there was no hot water — is it really possible to believe without reservation. The school meets the standards of the time, and place of residence. Here there was no sanitation and the children, even in 20-degree frosts had to go to the toilet on the street. This was told to the godfather.
“Society was extremely closed. To understand what I mean, read “1984” in”, he says.
With his father the boy had seldom seen each other since he was always busy at work, weekends and normalized working day. Problems enough, and not all of them could be solved or ignored. Yang described the events as “a nightmare behind the nightmare.” His parents allegedly avoided talking on the phone — fear of wiretaps by the “authorities,” wrote Wired. But Forbes says: we are talking about the calls after the immigration, and not before.
Childhood now American businessman is known very little: where and how learning to strive for what we want.
Was very tight in the early 90’s, But this is not news for those born during the existence of the Soviet Union. Then the people began to seek happiness in a foreign land, such a step was solved and the family kumove. However, went overseas not only the mother of John, his grandmother and himself. The father, who at that time was 65 years old, remained at home. May not have had the strength to move on and too rooted to the spot, he was going to come later. But it did not happen: in 1997 he died.
Immigration to the US, a suitcase of notebooks and pens
In 1992, three immigrants were in mountain view. The reason for the move was called including the growth of anti-Semitism in post-Soviet Ukraine. This was mentioned in several interviews the godfather of different publications and at different times.
The us government helped with housing, identifying immigrants in a small one-bedroom apartment, and also provided welfare and food stamps. The mother of John, who at that time was 16 years old, pre-stocked with school supplies (pens and notebooks), not to spend money on a new place, and got a job as a babysitter to earn money. Her son was washing the floors in the shop next — anything, but help.
Studies in the United States began for Ukrainians not too nice: tall, under six-foot-one, without a car in the family (in America!), he became a target for ridicule. The guy answered the same, so conflict was missing. In 1996 he even received an order from the police not to approach the ex-girlfriend, who accused the godfather in threats of violence. In 2014, Ian was sorry to tell about this story and once again (probably) apologized.
It is unlikely that he read books like that, of course. Photo: junksave.com
Whatever it was, the young man was interested in the topic of computers, although for the first time to use them, he could only in the States. Say, brother bought manuals in computer stores and worked through them. Gradually began to understand something in networks and imperceptibly joined w00w00 hackers. No, not to those who steal data, but to present — in their ranks lit the creators of several tech companies. Although, of course, the guys were naughty… somehow arranged, for example, a cozy nest on the servers of Silicon Graphics, but it’s not terrible.
Many years later, in 2014, w00w00 going again
Did not finish my studies because Yahoo! broke the server
Study Jan continued at the University of California in San Jose, which is now known as a source of young professionals for companies in Silicon valley. The guy rather quickly got a job as a security tester at Ernst & Young (affected including participation in w00w00).
In 1997, he was at a meeting at Yahoo! the interviewer made Brian Acton, 44-th employee of this company (in large corporations, it is important to be in the first hundred). Looking ahead, we note: in the future, this man will become a co-founder of WhatsApp.
Kuma was invited to do a safety analysis of the ad platform Yahoo! and young professional on the move has surprised Acton’s approach to business. The last was expected by the usual rolled up, and conversations “about nothing” tactics “frivolous relationship with a bottle of wine”, which is characteristic for EY employees. “What is your strategy? What are you doing?” with the bat began Jan. Brian liked it, and six months later the applicant was in the work of the engineer.
Jan koum — on the extreme right. At DefCon in 1999. Photo: Reuters
There are some discrepancies: a number of sources indicates that the godfather was in Yahoo! after meeting with one of the founders of the company David Filo at a conference dedicated to Apache security. However, the fact does not change.
Studies had soon to quit. Somehow, sitting in the lecture, Ian took a call from Philo: out of order one of the servers. “I have class”, — tried to out Yang. “What the hell class? Get your ass in here!” — not buying it David.
“I still didn’t like it here”, — said later the godfather. And performance he was so-so… So I had to stay without a higher education.
In the future, familiarity with w00w00 again helped the guy. In 2000, one under the pseudonym MafiaBoy of Canada made effective DDoS attacks against major Internet sites, came under attack, and Yahoo!. Yang asked for help from a group of like-minded people, and the company coped with the plague.
MafiaBoy. Photo: GeeksRoom
But not all went well. In 2000, the same year from cancer died, the mother of Kuma — she was one of those people who are seriously motivated guy in his quest to achieve more. And work. But Yana couldn’t stop.
Rested, bought an iPhone and decided to write the app
In a large Internet-company young professional he worked for nine years, gradually climbing the career ladder. At some point, the godfather took the post of head of the Department in which he started as an ordinary employee. Side by side with him worked and Brian Acton.
In 2007, both decided to quit and go to float freely. Or rather, took an extended vacation. One reason was burnout and dissatisfaction with work. More precisely, the fact that she wore for the society. “Well-functioning is not making life better” — I think Yan, who was involved in new advertising platform Project Panama in 2006. In summary he indicated that the last three years, just “something to do”.
Over the years at Yahoo! Godfather I saved enough money, but the $400 thousand was fading fast — impact travel, an idle life, and the like. It’s time to find a new job. Company Facebook scored by the time the revs and looked like a decent place for young specialists. But the leadership of the social network thought otherwise: Ian and Brian have received from gate turn.
A watershed event was the purchase of the Godfather of Apple’s smartphone and its familiarity with the app store. “I’m tired of miss calls when I’m in the gym”, — complained the future billionaire, thinking through the concept of the program. He came up with a messaging service that would broadcast the user’s status at a given moment and were bound to the address book of a mobile phone.
Further described in different ways. The short version is: Ian and Brian have developed an application. Then it was bought by Facebook. Happy ending.
But there is an option any longer. Apparently, the godfather assessed the prospects of the next Apple product and rushed to join in the process. Care was provided by friends and acquaintances from the local Russian-speaking Diaspora. So, the organizer of the meetings Alex Fishman introduced Jan developer from Russia Igor Solomennikov, who later became one of the first employees of WhatsApp.
The name of the application appeared almost immediately: it is consonant with the phrase what’s up — “how are you?”. The startup, whose birth coincides with the birthday of Yana (24 February), was filed in California under the name WhatsApp Inc. And immediately there was a fame, wealth and recognition. Actually no, because the program has no written.
“We did not aim to build a company, our goal was to create a product for people”, — said Kum. In 2009, was announced the rules: “Ads suck, no games and tricks.” Plus it was planned to ensure the protection of information about users to the maximum.
But. The app worked crooked, bugs jumping from all cracks, and Jan documenting them in a notebook originally from the Soviet Union, brought his mother. Initially, the program was used by the friends and acquaintances of the developers — in a narrow circle. Somehow it didn’t work out, and the godfather was ready to abandon the idea, start looking “normal operation”. All is collapsed, it does not show the character of Brian Acton, who at that time was in the direction of the project: “don’t be an idiot, be patient!”
At some point Ian probably met with Ukrainian supermodel Evelina Mambetova it. However, information about their relationship is no — Kum tries not to reveal details of his personal life. Photo: cafefcdn.com
Apple launched the app catalog, but nobody wanted to use it. It was absolutely unclear what to do. Thank Steve jobs: in iOS there was a tool to “ping” users (speech notifications). And here’s a new version of WhatsApp, the counter “subscribers” reached a quarter million, and Acton helped to obtain such necessary for the project investment and joined the team.
By the way, at the start, the company were afraid of too rapid growth. That is why the program got the paid subscription is allowed to cover expenses and not to fall apart in the course load. Slowly at first, but with the so-called harmonious growth, all went without advertising, itself. The world spoke of has become a popular application. Happened.
Brian Acton in 2014. Photo: Wired
A new story, the finale
Somehow in 2012 to number Jan I received a call. “Who says?” — “Elephant”. No, says mark Zuckerberg. “Walk?” — mark asked. Contact successfully ensued, and over the next two years, the IT business have regular meetings, talking about the sublime and not really matters.
“Sell”, — said the founder of Facebook in 2013 (according to other sources — at the beginning of 2014). In 2014, it was announced about incredible by any standards $19 billion (cash and shares) — an agreement was supposedly reached on Valentine’s Day when mark delicious dinner with his wife.
They say the universe opposed the decision. Ian went to a meeting with investors from Sequoia, who has repeatedly invested in WhatsApp. At a speed of about 120 km/h in his car tire burst. Cost — the next day the paperwork was signed. The app remained an independent product.
Jan koum signs the documents with Facebook. Photo: Jan Koum
The first years in the new world were good, but gradually the godfather started to get rid of stock Facebook, in which held a post in the Board of Directors. And in 2018, he announced his departure from the company “due to disagreements” (regarding the integrity of user data), although it remained formally employed. Parted amicably, mark Zuckerberg has written a warm farewell. But WhatsApp’s probably not the same.
Now Yang remains in the shadows. He became a billionaire (now owned assets estimated at about $9 billion), but decided not to change a way of life. And friends, in his own words, remained the same.
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