Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company WhatsApp to Facebook earlier today. Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia 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. That’s where the three of them inked the agreement to sell their messaging phenom –which brought in a miniscule $20 million in revenue last year — to the world’s largest social network.
Koum, who Forbes believes owns 45% of WhatsApp and thus is suddenly worth $6.8 billion — was born and raised in a small village outside of Kiev, Ukraine, the only child of a housewife and a construction manager who built hospitals and schools. His house had no hot water, and his parents rarely talked on the phone in case it was tapped by the state. It sounds bad, but Koum still pines for the rural life he once lived, and it’s one of the main reasons he’s so vehemently against the hurly-burly of advertising.
At 16, Koum and his mother immigrated to Mountain View, a result of the troubling political and anti-Semitic environment, and got a small two-bedroom apartment though government assistance. His dad never made it over. Koum’s mother had stuffed their suitcases with pens and a stack of 20 Soviet-issued notebooks to avoid paying for school supplies in the U.S. She took up babysitting and Koum swept the floor of a grocery store to help make ends meet. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they lived off her disability allowance. Koum spoke English well enough but disliked the casual, flighty nature of American high-school friendships; in Ukraine you went through ten years with the same, small group of friends at school. “In Russia you really learn about a person.”
Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people
During my second month of college, our professor
Gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student
The last one:
“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
Dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
Blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
The last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers,
You will meet many people. All are significant. They
Deserve your attention and care, even if all you do
Is smile and say “hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American
Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
Unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man
Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
Put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
Knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a
Giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
Special note was attached.
It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
The other night. The rain drenched not only my
Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
Husband’s bedside just before he passed away… God
Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving Others.”
Mrs. Nat King Cole. 3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those Who serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
Sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
Front of him.
“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.
“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
Studied the coins in it.
“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the
Waitress was growing impatient..
“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
The table and walked away The boy finished the ice
Cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress
Came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the
Table. There, placed neatly beside the emptydish,
Were two nickels and five pennies..
You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had
To have enough left to leave her a tip.
Roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
Anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
And simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
Anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
Peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition. 5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts…
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a
hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only
chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had
miraculously survived the same disease and had
developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save
her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed
next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheek. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded.
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a
trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”.
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the
doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her.
Most importantly…. “Work like you
don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been
hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”
George Carlin’s Views on Aging
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key
You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the nex t number, or even a few ahead.
‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life ! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!
But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?
You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.
But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT W ednesday!
You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!
HOW TO STAY YOUNG
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them.’
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them , at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away .