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招人看走了眼 Facebook付出了190亿美元的代价

2014-06-12    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Five years ago, Facebook turned down Brian Acton for a job.
五年前,Facebook曾经拒绝了软件工程师布莱恩•阿克顿的求职。

The Orlando, Fla.-raised software engineer had worked at Yahoo YHOO 0.60% for over a decade when he decided to take time off. For two years he did, exploring places as far-flung as Antarctica before returning to Silicon Valley to work again. After companies like Facebook FB -0.24% and Twitter TWTR 3.01% rejected him, he started building WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service that eventually exploded, amassing 500 million users worldwide. Then last February, Facebook stunned the world when it announced it was scooping up WhatsApp for a jaw-dropping $19 billion – the most it had ever paid for a startup. By one estimate, Acton will be worth at least $3 billion when the deal closes, which is expected later this year.
美国佛罗里达州奥兰多市,在雅虎(Yahoo)工作了十多年后,阿克顿决定歇一歇。他在两年的时间里四处游历,甚至远赴南极,后来才回到硅谷重新开始工作。先后遭到Facebook和Twitter等公司拒绝后,阿克顿开始开发移动短信服务WhatsApp,结果一炮而红,在全球吸引了5亿用户。今年二月,Facebook宣布豪掷190亿美元收购WhatsApp,震动了外界。这也是Facebook收购新创企业最大手笔的一次。交易预计在今年晚些时候达成,据估计,届时阿克顿的身家至少将达到30亿美元。

That Facebook once rejected Acton, 42 is an irony not lost on him. But far from being bitter he says he looks forward to working with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and crew. “We might disagree on some topics, but they understand what communication is like, and they understand the issues around privacy and security,” Acton explained Wednesday at StartX, a non-profit organization for Stanford University entrepreneurs.
阿克顿明白,如今看来,他曾求职Facebook被拒颇有些讽刺意味。不过,他完全没有因此而忿忿不平。相反,他表示自己很期待与Facebook首席执行官马克•扎克伯格及其团队共事。上周三,在为斯坦福大学(Stanford University)创业者服务的非营利机构StartX上,阿克顿说:“我们或许在某些问题上看法不同,但他们明白通讯是怎么回事,他们也了解与隐私和安全相关的问题。”

Reaching a $19 billion deal was a roundabout journey for Acton and Koum. For one, Acton was already 38 when he helped build WhatsApp. Before that, he spent three years at Apple AAPL 0.39% and over 11 years at Yahoo, where he met WhatsApp CEO and cofounder Jan Koum and eventually became the company’s vice president of engineering. (Acton also weathered a divorce and had children.) It’s a different — and far longer — trajectory compared to many of today’s entrepreneurs, who jump into a startup right after college or drop out, Acton points out.
阿克顿和另一位创始人库姆经历了不少曲折,才把WhatsApp发展到了作价190亿美元的规模。其一,帮助创办WhatsApp时,阿克顿已经38岁了。在此之前,他在苹果(Apple)干了三年,在雅虎干了11年多。阿克顿在雅虎结识了WhatsApp首席执行官兼联合创始人简•库姆,并最终成为WhatsApp公司负责工程设计的副总裁。(阿克顿曾经历离婚,并育有子女。)阿克顿指出,他与今天的许多创业者不同,后者大多大学毕业后就直接开始创业,甚至辍学创业。

Still, Acton and Koum’s late-blooming strategy worked. With WhatsApp, they developed a dead-simple mobile app that works a lot like traditional text, or SMS messaging, allowing users to send and receive calls, video, and pictures in addition to messages. (“I used to call SMS black and white,” Acton said. “We’re color.”) Because it was free, the app developed a huge following, particularly in Europe and parts of Asia, where traditional texting can be pricey. That’s despite a mobile messaging space crowded with competitors like Line, Viber and MessageMe. “It just effing works,” said Acton, explaining in semi-profane terms WhatApp’s appeal. “We don’t have a lot of gimmickry. We don’t collect messages or do anything with them. We respect our users.”
不过,阿克顿和库姆大器晚成的战略行之有效。他们开发的WhatsApp是一款超级简单的移动应用,原理很像传统的手机短信,在文本信息外,用户还能发送和接收呼叫、视频和图片。(阿克顿说:“我常说短信是黑白的,而我们的服务则是彩色的。”)因为不收费,WhatsApp吸引了大量的追捧者,尤其是在传统短信服务收费较高的欧洲和亚洲,尽管移动通讯领域充斥着Line、Viber以及MessageMe等一种竞争对手。谈到WhatsApp 大受欢迎,阿克顿说道:“它就是火了。我们没有什么花招,我们也不收集信息或干那些有的没的。我们尊重我们的用户。”

Talks with Zuckerberg about a potential WhatsApp acquisition began heating up in early February, when Zuck – as he is known to tech insiders – presented Acton and Koum with a hard number. “We said, ‘Oh, shit,’ We’ve got to pay attention to this,” Acton said, who recalled a mind-numbing 96-hours straight in conference rooms with a “flotilla” of lawyers as they hammered out a deal.
早在今年二月初,同扎克伯格关于可能收购WhatsApp的谈判就开始升温。扎克伯格向阿克顿和库姆开出了一个确切的数字——高科技界人士都知道,这是他的一贯做法。阿克顿回忆道:“我们说:‘靠’,我们得好好琢磨琢磨这事。”于是他们同“一大帮”律师一起,在会议室整整煎熬了96个小时,直到他们制定出交易方案。

For now, the thing Acton looks forward to most isn’t working with the employer who once rejected him – or even getting to 600 million WhatsApp users – it’s closing the deal with Facebook. Admitted Acton: “When it closes, it’ll be with a sense of relief.
眼下,阿克顿最期待的,不是与曾拒绝自己的雇主共事,甚至也不是使WhatsApp的用户数增长到6亿,而是与Facebook达成交易。阿克顿坦言:“等到交易达成,我肯定会感到如释重负。”



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