Whatsapp Founders were rejected from FB!

Posted on Posted in A-Z, Inspiring people

WhatsApp was the first app I downloaded when I bought a smart phone. I am sure most of us enjoy using it and some of us can’t stop using it.

The app was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton  in 2009 and is undoubtedly the most used app with  more than 500 million monthly active users having 20 million monthly active users in India and that is the reason why theTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) wants to suppress it.

It’s inspiring how a company founded in 2009 has millions of active users within 5 years. Here are 5 inspiring things about the founders of WhatsApp


Jan Koum and Brian Acton were rejected from Facebook in 2009 :

I am sure you know this and have also heard about Facebook purchasing WhatsApp for $19 billion. Such an amazing moment for the founders of WhatsApp isn’t it. Rejection is a part of life. Here is a wonderful quote by Sylvester Stallone about rejection : I take rejection like someone blowing bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat. And that’s how the founders of  WhatsApp saw rejection.

Rejection can be painful, it  feels as if there is no way out of it. But isn’t there a way out of it? Or is it that we choose to feel so? Here are 10 things which could help you handle it better : How Do You Respond To Rejection?

Jan Koum learnt computer networking all by himself with the help of manuals from a used book store.

Jan came from a poor family background. He worked at a grocery shop cleaning and mopping. He couldn’t afford  for his studies and yet the hunger of knowledge let him find ways to learn computer networking.

Well this does say that you need not go to the best schools to study something. The interest and the urge to learn makes you find a way to satisfy the craving for knowledge.

Brian Acton was rejected from Twitter in May and from Facebook in August

How would you handle a back-to-back rejection? I don’t know how would I react but I was surprised by his attitude, the way he handled rejection. Look at the tweets he did. When he was rejected by twitter he tweeted saying “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s Ok. Would have been a long commute.” And when he was rejected from Facebook he tweeted saying “ Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.”Wade Boggs

“You’d be an idiot to quit now. Give it a few more months.”-Brian Acton

When things weren’t working as expected, at a point Koum wanted to fold up their venture of WhatsApp and start looking for a job. Acton filled in the spirit saying “You’d be an idiot to quit now. Give it a few more months.” And yes the patience and perseverance they put into WhatsApp shows the result now.

Many a times we don’t even realize how close we are to reach our goal and tend to give up. The 3P’s is a sure thing you see in all successful people- Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.


“I can’t see a reason for there being a sign. It’s an ego boost. We all know where we work.”- Koum

Koum and Acton developed WhatsApp in coffee shops and at their homes and when they had an office they preferred not to put a sign board on it.  Being a billion dollar company and still not willing to put a sign board. Well this is the heights of humbleness.






13 thoughts on “Whatsapp Founders were rejected from FB!

  1. This story itself says that we should not consider our self a loser if we lose a match. Life is compiled of so many matches going on everyday, we lose some and win some. But if we keep on playing one day we will emerge as a winner 🙂

    BTW nice blog buddy.

    1. Thank you Alok. You said it beautifully- win some and lose some. In the end all that matters is how satisfied we are with ourselves and how willing we are to keep pushing further in life..

  2. Never say No. Keep going and let failure refuel you…easy to say and very difficult to do. But if you can incorporate this then you will rule.

  3. “You’d be an idiot to quit now. Give it a few more months.”-Brian Acton

    Needs so much confidence to say those words. Great =ve outlook. I had not known about the sign board (although I think it was necessary when I look from marketing perspective)…nonetheless they still built a good market.
    I need to show 3 P’s in my attitude 🙂 – Thanks Vidya 🙂

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