The last time my family members and other “normals” introduced ME to a technology was ICQ. This time its WhatsApp. Literally everybody, NOT in my tech circles, is using it on their phone for, well, IM’ing. How could a Sequoia-backed app built by ex-Yahoo’s in the valley with 10’s of millions of users, 500,000 new downloads a day and 1 billion messages a day go so unnoticed by the technorati for this long?
It’s a much needed lesson for us Internet entrepreneurs in pure product focus. Build something normal people want, obsessively iterate until they love it, and let them be your marketing team. Shut up, listen, build, repeat. It’s the little things (e.g. WhatsApp’s contact integration) that make startups win big, not the press or networking parties. We’re so addicted to buzz-crack these days as startups that we often lose sight of class 101. We’re so concerned with building our “personal brand” that we put ourselves before our company. You have to dig to even figure out who founded WhatsApp. Co-founder’s Jan Koum and Brian Action list their titles on LinkedIn as “QA Testing” and “Brian Action” respectively. Respect.
Back to work.