“WhatsApp ize a way for people to stay in touch, it’ze a way for people to stay connected to zeir friends and to zeir family” began Jan Koum, co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp, his speech speaking with a sexy “french accent” at the Dive into mobile conference, in New York, on April 16th, 2013.
Apart from his sexy “french accent”, Jan Koum, insisted on two key points: the customers and the product.
Customers come first
Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, claims (without providing a specific number) that WhatsApp is bigger than Twitter’s 200 millions unique users per month. Today, WhatsApp represents 8 billion inbound messages and 12 billion outbound messages a day.
Although, these numbers are big, the main concern of Jan Koum is the user experience. In line with that, since 2009, WhatsApp developed extremely good relationships “with carriers throughout the world for people to get WhatsApp specific data plan”, hence creating a better user experience.
Banishing advertisement from the world of WhatsApp really shows that customers come first. “When advertisement is involved the user is a product” and WhatsApp doesn’t want users to suffer from interferences when chatting with the people they care about .
Product is key
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to do one thing and do it very well” said Jan Koum. In fact, messaging is WhatsApp’s DNA today as was “search” for Google when they were a startup. WhatsApp is not for sale as rumours have said in the last 6 months. On the contrary, they are determined and focused on developing a product that meets customers’ satisfactions around the globe: “Our goal is to build a sustainable, independent company”.
Advertising will definitely not be a source of revenue to grow their product, whereas monetisation is the way forward with a yearly subscription of $99 cents.
Overall, WhatsApp focuses on their product and on delivering a great user experience. It offers a unique global service based on mobile messaging and has a business model that is not challenged by anyone so far. Facebook recently launched Home that is also putting messaging with “chat heads” at the center of their mobile experience. Will this challenge the status-quo of messaging and affect WhatsApp?