WhatsApp Sells for 19 Billion and All I Got Was Jealous

I’ve got to be honest. It’s only been a few hours since I saw the first Facebook/WhatsApp acquisition headline and I’m already sick of it.

The truth is, I haven’t even read any of the articles yet, just the headlines. I don’t need to read them, I get it … WhatsApp started from nothing, has a small team, worked tirelessly, probably raised a less than significant amount of money … yadda yadda yadda. It’s a Cinderella story, I get it. 

I know I sound bitter, and I kind of am. But really, I’m just jealous as hell. 

I’m not going to read the stories because I don’t want to feel mediocre. I wish the whole thing would just disappear like a fart in the wind.  

“This is good news for all startups.” – It’s plausable, but I say fuck that noise. 

I’m a born and raised thoroughbred entrepreneur. I’m competitive as hell. So yes, it bothers me when I’m not the one winning. I’m certainly not going to celebrate someone else’s victory. 

I don’t think Peyton Manning was sitting front row at Seattle’s victory parade, high-fiving Russell Wilson, saying it was good for the sport they won. I’m sure he was checked out, which is ok. We accept that as normal for athletes. 

Why are founders held to a different standard?

While we’re not all competing for the same prize, we are all competing for success. It’s binary, there are winners and losers. Unfortunately for us, there are only a few spots at the podium. 

So forgive me for not blowing streamers on Twitter. I’m keeping my party favors for my own victory dance.

  • I disagree with the sports comparison. Sports is a zero sum game, for someone to win, someone has to lose. I don’t think there’s a limited number of spot on the winner’s podium.

  • Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. In addition, my professor told me today about how one of his students sold an app and became “wealthy” and is still in (my) college taking shitty 2 credit art classes cause he can do whatever the hell he wants now.

    Amid all the new things we hear about the 0.001% and their lifestyles, and how some kids (early 20 year olds like me) are raking in billions for techy things they create, it makes me think damn I’m kinda jealous…

    I’m trying to create my own things too but I don’t know if it’s gonna get me 19$ billion of security, fame, and luxury for me and my future generations’ lives…

    Definitely feel like a binary 0 but I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way; we’re both hungry as hell.

  • I used to be competitive – its such a wasteful thing to do. You are competitive when you think something is scarce and everyone wants it. There is no such thing as scarcity, we only create it in our minds. Just let someone else fight the battle and have it and move on to the next thing, which may be even better and which you will get with no sweat. It’s a numbers game, don’t be primitive, don’t be a bad loser, just keep going and you’ll get it.

  • You have zero reason to be jealous. The press is giving you the perception that a $19B acquisition is the norm. By now you should know, it is not. You’ve never heard of most successful entrepreneurs out there. Remember when the unknown Google almost sold for $1mm before growing into what they are today? It was the same visionary founders (Sergei and Larry) that almost turned the mega-success they are today into a very mediocre success.

    Point is, focus on building something of value, and never give up – you can fail 100 times, but all you need is that one win to be considered a success story. Go get ’em.

  • oH For God Sakes, Dude it’s a bubble. Enjoy it.
    Grab an exit before this cycle runs out.

    Facebook is gaining velocity but losing altitude. They can’t keep doing this. It’s Russian Roulette.

  • Of Marky Z’s first 20 employees, he is the only one still standing. I am part of a modestly successful profitable what-once-was-a startup, and I will tell you this: if my core people left, I’m out too. It’s about team, and Mark is clearly doing something wrong or he would still have his closest confidantes on board and around.

    Now, does that mean he is a sinking ship? No, he’s well invested, a figurehead for all things “tech bubble”, and the dude created the #1 app in the world that will such remain for much of the foreseeable future. ESPECIALLY with WhatsApp and instagram in their portfolio.

    I do use both of those services, but I can’t stand facebook and am not a user. Doesn’t matter, Facebook Inc has my number and they are clearing interested in holding on to it for as long as possible.

    If you are so jealous, and this is to all of the competitive people out there: STOP USING ZUCK’S APPPS! Otherwise, why even bother?

  • I feel you. Same here. But what’s so bad about being jealous?

    Think about it. Jealousy is nothing but want. And want is what drives us. That is the energy that gets us moving!

    What is bad is when you are being jealous and want to archive something that somebody managed to get but you feel that you are not up to it. You know what? Just be 10 times as jealous, suffer double as much. Build up the drive and get what you want to have!

  • Responding to the post that begins with this line:

    “I feel you. Same here. But what’s so bad about being jealous?”

    I agree with you 100%. Most highly successful founders won’t admit that they were in our shoes not too long ago. They were the ones desperate to earn their success and getting rejected and ignored by investors. Jealousy helps create the drive to succeed.

    Most people don’t realize that Mark Zuckerberg tried and failed at several ideas for startups before he hit it big with Facebook, which as everyone knows by now wasn’t even his idea.

    The Airbnb founders story is also a good one that demonstrates drive and dedication as they went through a long struggle in obscurity before they finally made it.

    Jeff Bezos was told by his friends that it was too risky to leave his corporate job and start Amazon, and now look at him. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who are considered by many to be the two greatest entrepreneurs of the modern era also struggled for years before their companies took off; Apple and Microsoft were not overnight successes, but most people don’t get to hear about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into building pretty much every company.

    The ones that raise a ton of capital and get lots of press before they even launch are usually failures; like for instance Color, Airtime, Path, etc.

    Too much money and early press can actually hamper your efforts to create a great company, because it forces you to stick to a certain plan that might be failing, whereas if you were a nobody you can keep iterating and trying new things until something sticks, then you can go raise money to help it grow.

    But, the initial quest to find an idea that works can be done on a meager budget; it’s only when you need to scale that you need to raise capital.

    • OMG thank you for this post. Glad to know I’m not the only one. And the point about being small and able to iterate is so true. Many thanks!

  • All is not as it seems.

    Until someone with a lot more business expertise can explain otherwise, I’m convinced that it’s a tax-haven play between legal entities. Follow the money and you’ll find the same players on both sides of the deal.

    One hand washes the other clean.

    I’m sleeping better at night imagining this as true.

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