The man who defeated all odds and went from being broke to being a billionaire.
Many people come to America every year looking for a better life. And those who work hard enough will find it. If you were becoming skeptical about the American Dream, after reading Jan Koum’s story, you might feel inspired and start believing in it again. You can achieve great things if you work hard enough for it. Here’s Jan Koum’s story.
Jan came to the US from Ukraine along with his mother and grandmother. They lived in a small apartment in California thanks to a social support program. Jan was 16 at the time and got a job at the grocery store while his mother worked as a babysitter. Jan was ambitious and interested in programming, so he taught himself computer networking in his spare time. This has also enabled him to attend San Jose University at the age of 18. After four years in the US, his mother had died of cancer. Since he needed a job to help pay for his education, he started working at Yahoo where he became an infrastructure engineer in 1997. Even though he had a steady job at Yahoo, Koum wanted more. He quit his job in 2007 and started searching for something better. He took a year to travel the world with his friend Brian Acton and when they came back, they applied for jobs at Facebook but got rejected.
As Koum’s savings were melting away, he bought an iPhone in 2009 and got an idea for a new app. He immediately met with his friends, and on his birthday, on February 24th in 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp with his friend and co-founder Brian Acton. In the beginning, the users could only see the status updates of their contacts but when a messaging service was introduced, WhatsApp skyrocketed. At the time Koum sold the app to Facebook for $19 billion it already had 200 million users. Jan Koum is now settled for life, along with his best friend Brian Acton as well as their closest associates and early employees of Whats App. The act of selling the app was also symbolical because Koum chose to sign the acquisition papers on the very steps of the welfare office where he used to wait for food stamps as a young man.
As you can see, you can succeed in life no matter where you come from and what your background or current situation is. All you have to do is work hard, be ambitious, and believe in your dream. There’s a reason things happen in a certain way, even if we don’t see it right now, there’s a lesson in everything.
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