Here’s why Brian Acton from WhatsApp threw away $850 million from Facebook!
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left Facebook one year ago and also tweeted “It is time – #deletefacebook” in March. Now he talked to Forbes about the whole story and why he left $850 million behind.
The main reason for Acton leaving Facebook, and by doing so leaving $850 million in unvested stocks behind, was a disagreement over how to monetize WhatsApp.
Acton wanted to keep the app free from ads, suggesting a metered-user model charging a tenth of a penny after a big number of free messages were used up.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg replied with “it won’t scale” to which Acton answered saying “No, you don’t mean that it won’t scale. You mean it won’t make as much money as…”
Acton further stated “They are businesspeople, they are good businesspeople. They just represent a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with.”
Well, what we are thinking is… What do you expect if you sell a messaging app for $21 billion to a company that makes almost all its revenue through ads? Sounds a bit naive to expect to keep it ads-free forever…
There is also “the other side of the story”, as David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, called his post responding to the Forbes interview.
Marcus says that there are few companies out there that empower and retain founders and their teams for as long as Facebook does and that Zuck personally shields founders from what typically frustrates them in larger companies.
Marcus is also accusing Acton of actively slow-playing the execution of business messaging and by doing so keeping WhatsApp the way he always wanted it to be – free from ads.
He then goes on praising Facebook being the only company that’s singularly about people. It almost sounds like he is working for a non-profit organization.
As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. Check out both sides and make your own opinion.
But keep in mind that it’s probably not easy to always keep standing 100% for your values when someone is waving a $21 billion cheque in front of you.
Facebook Stories – now with ads!
Phew… Our prayers have been answered! Facebook is bringing ads into Stories.
In case you couldn’t read our sarcasm, we didn’t actually want ads there.
But we get why they’re doing it – they’ve saturated the other placements, especially the newsfeed.
And if you carefully read the WhatsApp story above, you can tell that monetizing stories is the plan for 2018 and early 2019 – including those on WhatsApp!
The reason we don’t like this so much though is because they are known to not be good performers. They are too easy to skip and very short – it’s hard to attract attention.
We don’t know anyone who really cracked them on Instagram yet, all users say they skip Stories ads like it’s nothing.
Oh well, it’s a wait-and-see game anyway. And maybe some tests!
Social media giants versus their younger competitors – will any be dethroned?
With all these talks about Facebook perhaps not being a great company to sell your product to, after Instagram and WhatsApp founders now all left, is there space for new players?
Believe it or not, most major players do have what we can call “alternatives” – because they are too small to be actual competitors for now. Let’s have a look at 4 interesting pairs.
1. Facebook vs. Vero
Vero makes it easier for you to share music, links, photos, books, places and videos. Its interface is simple, sharing is more transparent – and your private data is not required.
The only real downside is the community – exploring is limited, many people don’t use it, and if you want to catch up with your favourite blogger or YouTuber, they probably don’t even know about it. We’ll see how it holds up.
2. Twitter vs. Mastodon
Twitter – another big player in the social media spectrum. Mastodon – again the child wanting to grow up soon. So, what makes it good, what makes it bad?
Just like Vero, the spread isn’t so great. Don’t expect Donald Trump to tweet, or as it’s called on Mastodon, “Toot” here. Mobile users are blessed with many different app options, because of the friendly interface. No company owns Mastodon, so that’s why there is no official app, no ads, and no need for personal details.
What also makes it different are “instances”. Something like “subreddits” to narrow down your interests. The most populated one is mastodon.social. Have fun TOOTing!
3. Instagram vs. Ello
Dubbed “The Creators Network”, it makes a great replacement for Instagram. At least if you are interested in Design, Art, Fashion, Photography or Writing. This network is great if you want to share your creative work, find inspiration, or even discover a new favourite artist.
Sadly, there is not an option to share something privately, but it is easier for talented folks to get attention. If a company or an individual find your work interesting, they can either hire you or collaborate with you. A great opportunity either way!
4. Reddit vs. Steemit
Basically, Steemit is the crypto Reddit. For posting, upvoting or interaction with others, you get Steemit tokens which hold some value. Content includes news, memes, fun content.
The difference is in security. A Steemit account is handled like a crypto wallet. Lose your key and you can say goodbye to your account. And as in Mastodon, there are many different apps.
It holds up pretty well, the user base is big, but there are still improvements to be made.
Are you using any of the alternatives already? The closest match for us seems to be Reddit vs Steemit. Still, Steemit is a bit too niche on crypto for now. The others, well… We don’t see it as a fair match yet.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall?
Maybe… But before they even get close to falling, they can take quite a beating. There’s no shortage of serious legal issues with some of the biggest companies in the world.
Starting with our good old friend
Zuckerman Zuckerberg and his Book of Faces, or rather Book of Privacy Issues?
In 2007, a program called Beacon allowed companies to track purchases made by Facebook users and then relay that information to their Facebook friends – mostly without their consent.
In 2011, Facebook settled charges over breaking their promises of privacy and enabling the publicizing of private information behind the backs of their customers.
It involved third-party apps being able to access nearly all of their users’ data despite Facebook saying they couldn’t, and secretly sharing user information with advertisers.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Facebook allegedly had large amounts of user data stolen and “did nothing”. You know, Cambridge Analytica…
All of these things ended with Zuckerberg apologizing and promising that it won’t happen again in the future… We wouldn’t bet on that.
But at least it got advertisers to spend more money, right?
Just a year ago, Apple faced a number of lawsuits regarding them making customers that were using older iPhones (the iPhone 4S was named especially) download an update that deliberately made their phones run slower.
They argued that they had done that to prevent sudden shutdowns of models with older batteries, however, consumers felt that it was to push them to purchase newer products.
Not a lot of users were aware that the problem could be solved at least partially by only replacing their phone’s battery. After this issue was exposed, Apple apologized and claimed it would give users discounts on new batteries.
And most recently, Apple is accused by Qualcomm of stealing chip secrets and funnelling this information to Intel, Qualcomm’s main competitor.
We cannot forget Jeff and his “little” Amazon.
It was reported that Amazon drivers “work illegal hours”, and are paid far less than the minimum wage required.
A BBC reporter went undercover and got a job there, reporting that the drivers really were made to work over the legal limit of 11 hours per day, colleagues having to “urinate in bottles” and “defecate in bags” due to lack of break time, and a multitude of workers being paid way below the minimum wage.
Of course, Amazon denies any wrongdoings and claims it has the best interest in mind for his workers. However, reports about questionable factory conditions in several countries are still surfacing today.
There are many takeaways from this…
The first one is probably that you have to be careful how big you want to get because such problems will come knocking.
The other takeaway? You better get really good at apologizing for screw ups. Learn from The Zuck!
Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
When memes get your ad in trouble…
Where do we even start?
We guess by giving a warning that if you use memes as ads, you could get in trouble with advertising regulatory bodies.
That’s what the story is about – a company in Sweden used the “distracted boyfriend” meme in one of their ads for job vacancies… And they were warned by Sweden’s “ad watchdog” that the ad is sexist.
We’ll just let the Internet speak out on this one, the way it knows best – with more memes!