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At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That's our product, and that's our passion. Your data isn't even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.
A lot of times, people start out with a lot of good ideas, but then they don't execute. They lose the purity of their vision. You end up running around in circles.
Advertising isn't just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data.
I grew up in a society where everything you did was eavesdropped on, recorded, snitched on. I had friends when we were kids getting into trouble for telling anecdotes about Communist leaders.
I want to do one thing and do it well.
There were a lot of negatives, of course, but there were positives to living a life unfettered by possessions. It gave us the chance to focus on education, which was very important in the Soviet Union.
Utilities get out of the way. Can you imagine if you flipped a light switch and had to watch an ad before you got electricity? Can you imagine if you turned on a faucet and had to watch an ad before the water came out?
I didn't have a computer until I was 19 - but I did have an abacus.
No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they'll see tomorrow.
When advertising is involved, you, the user, are the product.
I grew up in a country where advertising doesn't exist.
I only have one idea, that is WhatsApp, and I am going to continue to focus on that. I have no plans to build any other ideas.
Communication is at the very core of our society. That's what makes us human.
Marketing and press kicks up dust. It gets in your eye, and then you're not focusing on the product.
Anybody can build a company and sell the company the next day. That doesn't make you special, it doesn't make you unique, it doesn't make you all that great.
Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo - there's a common theme. None of these companies ever sold. By staying independent, they were able to build a great company.
I grew up in a country where I remember my parents not being able to have a conversation on the phone. The walls had ears, and you couldn't speak freely.
I grew up in Russia. We had a telephone line, but a load of our neighbours didn't. It became a shared resource for the whole apartment complex. People would come and knock on the door and ask to call their family in another city.
Ironically, I grew up watching Indian movies as a kid in Russia. I am quite familiar with Bollywood. I grew up watching 'Disco Dancer;' I watched it some 20 times as a kid.
A lot of what I experienced growing up in the U.S.S.R. and coming to the U.S. as an immigrant actually reflects itself in Whatsapp. Experiences from our youth shape what we do later in life.
When I was a kid trying to communicate with family in the Soviet Union, it was very difficult. You had to go through the long-distance phone companies like MCI, which were difficult to navigate and expensive to make calls through.
Our phones are so intimately connected to us, to our lives. Putting advertising on a device like that is a bad idea. You don't want to be interrupted by ads when you're chatting with your loved ones.
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Too much agreement kills a chat.
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