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27 Most Inspirational And Motivational Quotes By Influential Leaders In Tech

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“The F-word here is focus.” - Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder


Jan Koum, the founder of Whatsapp, is another rags to riches story in the tech world. Koum and his mother immigrated from Kiev in Ukraine to California when he was 16. Life was not easy in the new place they call home. They lived in a small apartment with subsidy from government and survived day by day through food stamps.

Koum struggled but made sure he went to college while moonlighting as a security tester. On the sides, he taught himself computer networking and even joined a hacker group. In 1997, he met Brian Acton, Yahoo’s employee #44, for an advertising system job. The same year, he was hired at Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer.

Wondering how WhatsApp came to life? Koum was looking for a solution so he does not miss phone calls on his new iPhone.

In 2009, Koum co-founded WhatsApp with Acton. While life was so complicated, they wanted to keep the messaging service simple.

“The F-word here is focus,” he said during an interview. He does not want bloat and wants WhatsApp to focus on its primary purpose.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion in cash and stock.

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