WhatsApp founder and CEO steps down to collect Porsches and play Frisbee

WhatsApp founder, Jan Koum, is parting ways with Facebook. Publicly, he says it’s time “to move on.” But according to insiders, tensions have been bubbling below the surface…

May 1, 2018

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum plans to leave his brainchild and its parent company, Facebook, behind.

His reasoning? According to his Facebook post, it’s just time “to move on.”

Oh, and take some time off to pursue hobbies like “collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on [his] cars and playing ultimate frisbee.”

Who is this guy?

Koum founded WhatsApp in 2009 with the promise to provide truly private communications. He’s openly criticized ad-powered platforms in the past and has been a vocal advocate of data privacy.

So it did seem like an odd pairing when ad- and data-happy Facebook acquired the company for $19B in 2014 — then again, can’t blame the guy for wanting to be a billionaire. 

So why’s he leaving really?

Unsurprisingly, insiders told WaPo that Koum’s beliefs don’t jive with Facebook’s philosophy on user data and the company’s attempts to use personal data from WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging platform.

And, it’s certainly not a stretch of the imagination to think that the Cambridge Analytica expose brought these differences to a head. 

But, at least publicly, the parting is cordial. Mark Zuckerberg has already commented on Koum’s Facebook resignation post, “Jan: I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done.”

Executives posting their resignations on Facebook. What a time to be alive.

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