WhatsApp, $19 Billion, and Food Stamps

Like many of you, I last night was stunned to read about a 55-employee company called WhatsApp selling to Facebook for $19 billion. Like me, you probably had the following feelings shoot through your brain: shock, awe, admiration, and jealousy.

But, amidst all the media, one story stuck with me. Scott Kirsner Tweeted out an awesome article from Forbes’ Parmy Olson. In it, she writes this:

[Founder] Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company…. [He] drove a few blocks from WhatsApp’s discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the railroad tracks, the former North County Social Services office where Koum, 37, once stood in line to collect food stamps.

I didn’t realize that Jan was an immigrant and that his parents have already passed away. I didn’t realize that he was on welfare at one point.

It’s a great article. Only in America.

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