WhatsApp is fascinating. Only 32 engineers built and maintain a system that delivers more messages per day than the total global SMS traffic, and they do it with no ads, no games, and no gimmicks. A viable company whose product costs $1 per year is a new, and very exciting thing. Although these days $1/year/customer is about the profit margin of traditional PCs makers, I know which business I’d prefer to be in.
Here are a couple nuggets of wisdom I’m noting:
- Spend more time thinking about solving the problems of the “middle billion”; those living on ~$10/day.
- Mobile apps have access to device/ecosystem contact lists. This transforms the nature of “network effect” from a moat (stopping competitors) to a ladder (easing adoption). This is very important.