Meet The Founders: Men Who Built Your Favourite Social Networking Sites

The Internet had other forms of connecting people before social media platforms were launched, but it seems we have set those ones aside for necessities while we spend a large chunk of our time enjoying social media.

Currently, there are about 2.62 billion active social media users. By 2021, it is expected that one-third of our planet’s entire population will be using social networks, that’s around 3.02 billion people every month!

You are probably addicted to some of the sites and apps created by the innovative men we will be looking at today, and that’s just one way to show how they have reshaped the world as we know it. I wonder if they knew how far their work would go at the time they started these platforms.

While you’ll surely recognise all the apps that will be mentioned here, there is a high chance you could be seeing their founders for the first time. So let’s start with the most popular of them all.

Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg

You already know this guy, he is a household name and even a 10 year old will tell you how he started Facebook in college.

Zuckerberg was only 19 when he took the world by storm and launched Facebook in 2004. Today, he is a proud Harvard dropout with a net-worth of $69.4 as at April 2018.
He is the third richest technology entrepreneur and number 5 on the list of Forbes billionaires.

The 33 year old earns one dollar per year as income from Facebook. When asked why, he said it’s because he has made a enough money already.

Mark and his wife are staunch philanthropists who have donated billions of dollars to medical research. They’ve also pledged 99% of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Facts at a glance

  • His pet dog (beast) has over 2.7 million fans on Facebook. Yes…a dog!
  • When Zuckerberg was in high school, Microsoft tried to recruit him after he created Synapse.
  • Mark has red-green colour blindness, and Facebook is dominantly blue because that’s the colour he sees best.
  • He is a die-hard fan of Taylor Swift, Jay Z and Shakira.
  • You can’t block Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook.

WhatsApp: Jan Koum and Brian Acton

If you can’t imagine life without WhatsApp, thank these two Americans who once worked for Yahoo!

The duo left Yahoo! in 2007 and applied to work for Facebook but were rejected. So they decided to build WhatsApp and launched it in 2009.

WhatsApp is now the most successful messaging app, boasting of over 1.5 billion active users as at February 2018.

They also hold the record of biggest deal in the history of Internet market after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 Billion in 2014.

WhatsApp CEO, Jan Koum, has been on Facebook board of directors since 2014. But there are hints that he is about to quit Facebook over clashes on privacy. His cofounder, Brian Acton, left Facebook since September 2017 to start his own foundation.

Facts at a glance

  • Jan Koum chose the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”.
  • He hates advertising, that’s why there are no ads popping anywhere out of WhatsApp. He even keeps a note on his desk to remind him of the “no ads” WhatsApp rule.
  • Like other famous tech billionaires, Jan Koum is a proud school dropout.
  • WhatsApp doesn’t spend on marketing, the success has been based on user’s satisfaction that makes it viral.

Twitter: Jack Dorsey

Good looking Jack Dorsey is a successful web developer, entrepreneur, and unsurprisingly, a billionaire university dropout.

Though Jack is the most relevant name when discussing Twitter, he didn’t start it alone. Biz Stones, Noah Glass and Evan Williams are all part of the founding process that began in march 2006.

Dorsey was CEO of Twitter until 2008 when he got fired and became an inactive board member. He wouldn’t be the first founder to get fired from his own company, remember the same thing happened to Steve Jobs.

His cofounder, Williams, took over the position of CEO and Dorsey went on to start a mobile payment company (Square). He also won the innovator of the year award in 2012. Genius!🙌🏼

Williams held the position for only two years before Costolo took over. In 2015, Costolo resigned as Twitter CEO and Dorsey got assigned as permanent Twitter CEO. He now heads Twitter and Square, and both companies are doing very well.

Facts at a glance

  • Twitter was initially called “twttr”
  • Dorsey doesn’t like being called a nerd
  • He used to model for many luxury clothing brands
  • Jack Dorsey used to make jaw dropping party appearances in the early years of Twitter.
  • He had speech impediment as a child.

Evan Spiegel: Snapchat

This 27 year old Internet entrepreneur and Stanford University dropout is worth over $4 billion, and it’s all from an idea that his classmates had mocked—Snapchat!

Alongside Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel spent several months working on the creation of Snapchat.

Initially, it was named “Picaboo” when they launched it in July 2011, but it was relaunched in September of that same year as Snapchat.

As usual, Facebook made moves to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in 2013, but CEO Evan Spiegel refused to sell the platform. Mark Zuckerberg can’t have it all, right?

Facts at a glance

  • Evan Spiegel got married to supermodel Miranda Kerr in 2017.
  • Spiegel’s parents were both VERY rich and successful lawyers who spoilt him with exotic cars, large monthly allowances and vacations to places his peers could only dream of. He isn’t new to the “money life”.
  • In his college years, despite his boyish looks he was really into women and partying.
  • He is now a shy billionaire who hardly makes public appearances, even his wedding was done privately.

Kevin Systrom: Instagram

34 year old billionaire, Kevin Systrom, founded the photo and video sharing sensation alongside Mike Krieger in 2010.

Before Instagram, Kevin worked for Google but left because he didn’t get the promotion he wanted.

Instagram was only two years old when Mark Zuckerberg—who seems to have an eye for promising social media apps, bought it for $1 billion, with Systrom still holding his position as CEO.

Facts at a glance

  • Instagram was named from the words “telegram” and “instant camera”.
  • Many people told Kevin Systrom that there is no money in photo sharing, but he still went on to build Instagram.
  • He is not a dropout😳. Systrom actually graduated from Stanford University before he got employed by Google.
  • He is worth $1.34 Billion and has received the CFDA Social Media Award.

How many of these founders did you know before now? Which one inspires you? Let us know in the comment section.😃

7 Comments

  1. Until now, I only know of Zuckerberg as the founder of Facebook, not knowing he is also the brain behind synapse.

    Though I am very conversant with those apps, thier founders are what I don’t know.

    Internet brought both goodness and badness to Earth. One of the badness is addition. in fact, scientifically, internet addition is termed an abnormal condition that needs quick rehabilitation.

    For the goodness, there are countless though the badness too are many but not countless

  2. I always had a feeling whatsapp was coined from what’s up… Though I never had the facts… Then I’m impressed by the no ad rule by whatsapp’s founder…..

    What an insightful article…

    1. I just love it, really respect it. But it seems the no ad rule is what’s going to tear the founders of WhatsApp away from Facebook.

Leave a Reply