Friday, February 21, 2014

Rags to riches - what doesn't meet the eye

From all the news about the acquisition of What's app by Facebook I think it's quite interesting that most of what I read is potentially missing the most important point of the event.  Although it's being mentioned most of the headlines are focused on the money aspect and rags to riches.

Sticking to simplicity no matter what.

These guys created something simple that's easy to use but the point is they were simply solving a problem with respect to communication and they stuck to that simplicity without complicating it in terms of how they're going to raise money, having ads as part of the app or other "trivial" aspects.  They were even so humble that they didn't have a sign on their building where they occupied offices and they refused to have a PR department or other type of spokesperson or even marketing.

They let users and the old fashioned "word of mouth" be the true test of how good their product was and also represented their marketing.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

It makes me think back to my time in Russia 10 years ago when I launched the first interactive mobile banking service in the country, it was a time where I feel that I was most successful in what I have done because I believed truly with passion what I was doing was something that was of value to other people, namely customers.  Today mobile banking has become a standard product/service for more and more people.

What's missing today is that business is focused on making money as the goal rather than it being a by product of focusing on solving problems or having a passion for something.  Many people and businesses have been blinded solely by whether something will make money or not.

I think that the problem with today's business or society in general is looking for a way to make money as opposed to stripping away this factor and say okay if I do what is I'm passionate about and actually I'm helping to fulfill someones need and doing that something is my passion -  the money should then come on it's own.  Some might say it sounds crazy but I believe that it works from personal experience as well as in being first hand observer to activities I'm involved in.

Non-profit is not about money, or is it?

I'm a non-paid board member for Viazard a non-profit based out of Brno, Czech Republic.  One of the projects is the conversion of part of a cold storage facility in a multipurpose site that includes a co-working space, gallery, theatre, exercise area, maker space, and cafe called Industra we have two passionate people from the cafĂ© who have decided to take the skills and their passion that they acquired while they were living and working in London and be part of Industra Coffee.  So far the results have been quite interesting.  Of course it's on a different scale than Facebook's purchase but I see the correlation between the fact that when you have passion and you you don't have to convince people because your passion shows and people then join because they believe and can relate somehow to the story that you're telling

WhatsApp’s Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire

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