The merger of Facebook and Whats App is an inspiration in itself

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Personal, Tech News

Who would have thought that a person who was denied a job by the social networking giant Facebook 4 years ago would someday join hands with it to trade his brain child Whats App for $19 Billion?  Yes, I am talking about Brian Acton. The tech world in this week was flooded with the news of Facebook buying Whats App, but more than the acquisition I was more fascinated with a tale that is less known and probably less discussed. Brian Acton, one of the founders of Whats App, was once rejected for a job from Facebook after he left as a software engineer from Yahoo. I came across this tweet of his that was posted by him way back in 2009.


He was also rejected by Twitter during the same time. After this rejection, he was not disheartened or heartbroken rather he teamed up with another Yahoo employee, Jan Koum, to give birth to Whats App, a name that has today become the synonym of cloud-based messaging. Once the deal is closed, Acton will have around 20% stake in the company, which means he will have a net worth of $3 billion. I am sure the journey from being rejected by a firm to being one of the stake owners in the same company must not be a cakewalk. However, what is noteworthy here is the undying passion that perpetuated within him in spite of all the denunciations.

Apart from being a phenomenal motivation story, it also served as a memento of some of my past experiences. While studying Biotechnology in graduation, I suffered many setbacks-rights from frequent taunting of teachers to struggling to get passing marks. I was brushed aside as a ‘good for nothing’ student. I still remember one of the teachers telling me “Roll No. 4 You are not going to do anything in life. Likhwa lo mere se”! The regular humiliation during theory and practical classes made me bunk classes. And the worst part was that I used to disguise my mortification under the cover of a bold, carefree attitude, which of course irked my teachers and parents more. I don’t blame them because even I was puzzled about what exactly I wanted to do in life.

Nevertheless, in the final year, with the assistance of some loyal friends, my sleep-deprived eyes finally saw the mark sheet that I passed with decent percentage. Finally, I realized that I was not meant to cut rodents or perform blood tests in clinical labs. I did my Masters in Journalism and Mass communication and performed pretty well in all semesters. In fact, I topped two semesters out of the four semesters. But, the real struggle was yet to commence. Recession had hit and I was unable to fetch a respectable job for myself. My dad started reminding me day and night that my decision to do Journalism was an illogical one. I distanced myself from everything in life and started looking desperately for a job until I found one in 2010. Although it was a start up company, it at least gave me a platform to showcase my skills and talent. But, blame it on my young blood or happy-go-lucky approach to life, I was still quite confused with my career choice. My designation was that of a writer and I used to write well, but somehow I did not find it enjoyable either.

One fine day, my CEO called me and told me that, “Indrani, you still have to find your calling in life. May be you are good at something else. Find out what is that”! I found that statement very callous and inconsiderate at that moment. I was annoyed to the extent that I refrained from interacting with him in future. However, I started questioning myself where my life was headed, and all I could see was a blank space. This can be considered as the ‘make or break’ point for anyone’s life.

Though I have relatively limited knowledge and experience, this is the only point where I can imagine myself and Brian Acton standing together and staring at life. If you are failing or getting rejected today, never let the passion die a slow death inside you. Never cease following your dreams as success comes to only to those who keep growing and reinventing themselves each day. And when that happens you not just get success and respect, but also end up inspiring generations. If not anything else, during the phase of adversity and denials, look at life as an adventure and stay focussed. In case of Brian Acton, it took some time but ultimately his buoyancy paid off. No one likes listening to a sob story; that is why, no matter what situation you are in to, get up, wear a smile and fight against all the odds.

I am not sure how much I have achieved so far, but I can see a different spark in my dad’s eyes when he talks about me or shows my articles or official praise letters to anyone. Recently, he hugged me and told me that he is very proud of me and waiting to be acknowledged as “Indrani’s Baba”. That was it. I didn’t need anything else. I wish I could talk to my first CEO somehow and tell him that ‘Yes Sir, I have found my calling in life. Its writing and I can’t do anything else in life. I will keep writing till the end of life.’ And I know I have just started my journey now………….. 🙂

Countless thanks to Brian Acton for showing us a path of optimism amid the darkness of failure.


  1. Akshit Choudhary says:

    Loads of appreciation for you. Its a long stairway, step over step, and you’ll be close to zenith!

  2. Mancy says:

    Precisely a reminder to be inspired. You are terrific. I guess, I am almost in a state of being addicted to having to read your articles. Wow, God seems very happy with me. 🙂 Thanks a ton sweetie.

  3. ramandeep kaur says:

    wow dear it was delight to read

  4. Sarasij Das says:

    Inspiring article …. very nice …………

  5. @Sarasji: Thanks for the acknowledgement and your kind words.. Keep reading and writing..God bless 🙂

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