Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
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5 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Brian Acton - WhatsApp Founder

I am yet to meet someone that doesn’t have WhatsApp installed on his or her smartphone. WhatsApp is without doubt one of the most revolutionary ideas of this decade- and that explains why its recent acquisition by Facebook made headlines. What added flavor to the story was the fact that Brian Acton had tried landing a job at Facebook and Twitter without any luck.

Here are some entrepreneurial lessons we can all pick from Brian Acton:

Lesson #1: Never ever give up

Okay, maybe Winston Churchill said it first but Brian Acton embodied it best. He not only failed an interview at Twitter but also Facebook in the same year. This did not deter his entrepreneurial ambition. He continued growing his application until it became one of the most downloaded applications on Google play store. When the two social media giants rejected him in the same year, 2009, Brian Acton didn’t throw in the towel but he kept doing what he does best.

Lesson# 2: He that laughs last laughs best

Just the other day, some Princeton professors prophesied Facebook’s looming decline. Needless to say, Facebook was quick to slam the study. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is growing exponentially. It already has twice the number of twitter users and since it is growing faster than Facebook or twitter in terms of user subscriptions, it looks like it’s poised to be the leading social media soon. So Twitter and Facebook reject Brian Acton for a position at their company and he proceeds to build one of the most prolific social networks. A network that is such a threat that Facebook has no choice but to buy it off in a deal that some analysts believe was overpriced. Brian is not only laughing all the way to the bank, he is also having the last laugh-literally.

Lesson #3: Rejection inspires innovation

Nothing fires up a man like firing a man. Females take rejection differently but for men, rejection inspires them to action more than anything else. I think the fact that Facebook and Twitter rejected Acton is what really infused fresh fire in his veins. There are many ideas that would probably be more profitable than Brian’s innovation but the would-be entrepreneurs buried the ideas as soon as they were killed by critics or rejected by a round table. Nobody knows and believes in your idea more than you- it’s time to go back to the drawing board and keep on keeping on!

Lesson #4: If opportunity knocks only once on your door…its time you created more than one door

What if Acton decided to throw in the towel after failing to land a job at either of the social media giants in the same year? We would have never known WhatsApp then would we? So when one door closed for him, he found a clever way of creating another door- and as fate would have it, that door led him right back to Facebook.

Lesson #5: Don’t burn bridges

This is the mother of all lessons- never burn bridges. Over the last two weeks, I have seen very interesting posts on several websites of how some employees quit their jobs in epic ways. Some made videos, others made slideshows etc. Sadly, most of the methods employed were literally slamming the door behind them. Imagine if Acton had made an abusive slideshow to tell Facebook to go to hell for not hiring him. It’s always a good idea to handle rejection positively for you never know when destiny will cause your paths to cross again.

So if you are considering launching your startup company, keep on dreaming and working towards making it a market leader in your niche. You might not manage a buyout from a market giant but you will still be making a difference in the lives of your consumers /clients. So whatever idea you have, don’t just sleep on it- the first step in realizing your dream is waking up. Roll up your sleeves and start working your way to the top! See you there!



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