One of the founders of WhatsApp, the messaging app just purchased by Facebook for $19 billion, is a Ukranian immigrant who grew up in a family that needed food stamps after they first arrived in the US. Because of that history, the founders signed the deal with Facebook at the Mountain View Social Services office, where his family would go for assistance.
I just wanted to mention that to remind the McArdles of the world that not all American success stories involve feats of Galtian superheroics–some of the Howard Roarks of the world must eat actual food in order to survive.
As far as WhatsApp goes, it has 190 million active users who (at best) pay $1/year for the service, which is the sole source of revenue for WhatsApp. The lack of advertising or other annoying revenue-generating bullshit is probably a big part of WhatsApp’s success. So tell me how Facebook will monetize, as the kids say, their investment in WhatsApp without ruining it? I don’t see it. And, since WhatsApp had a whopping 55 employees when they were acquired, and since they grew from nothing to their current size in less than 5 years, it won’t take a huge investment by the next WhatsApp to get people to switch from the current one after Facebook turds it up. That said, Facebook hasn’t ruined Instagram yet, so who knows what the future holds for WhatsApp.