There's some numbers for you that Google wouldn't have provided (as far as I have seen).
From my mostly uninformed POV, a company can do whatever they want with respect to this and be on good ground, making it an arbitrary decision with little basis in actual objectivity.
Each case is different and the details drive the decision.
Not sure how Amazon deliveries by UPS are in the US but in the U.K. there are carriers which offered far better delivery service than what is known as Amazon Logistics here in the U.K. Once Amazon started using Amazon Logistics, the level of service dropped significantly. False deivery attempts were common and Prime Next Day were not happening next day 3 out of 5 times. I cancelled my Prime membership.
After about a couple of years I have resubscribed to Prime since it is now much better value AND Amazon Logistics have noticably improved. Next day and even Same day deliveries are indeed happening.
They didn't need to setup Amazon Logistics and suffer poor service quality. There were near perfect couriers (for e.g. DPD they even offer tracking your courier driver on a map in near real time).
This is vague.
Running on the cloud is always more expensive than running your own infrastructure past a certain size and always provides less predictable performance.
It's actually about whether or not it would cost more, over the long term, for a company to develop such capabilities themselves, or to outsource it.
Generally, due to economies of scale, a big, established provider will be able to provide such a service much cheaper than it would cost you to run an equivalent service.
However, it depends on how much that provider is charging you, on top of their cost of sales. It's pretty basic in that if it costs more to do it yourself, it's easier to let someone else do it. Especially when you take into account the considerable R&D costs that it would take to provide an equivalent service. Google's services would, I'm sure, be highly developed. This statement says as much, in that it claims Google has services offered by no other company.
So no, it's not arbitrary.
I would simply say "it depends". For companies with specific use cases, e.g. Dropbox, it makes A LOT of sense to build at least 60-70% private, and the rest on AWS or GCP. Snapchat looks like a special case to me.
I always found this issue of "focus" a bit strange. Two billion can buy a lot of focus. For example, say there was a separate company smaller than Google that snap outsourced their infrastructure to, allowing them to focus, then they bought that company - it comes out to the same.
The technical capabilities is a different story.
You know that Snap can hire more than 3 people, right? They can have people working on the infrastructure at the same time that someone else works on "the product" they want to build. That's what happened at Google, and as a side effect, they now have a cloud platform they can rent out.
There are some benefits to using cloud services in some cases. It's rare that 100% cloud is a wise deployment move, especially for companies that operate at Snap-scale.
Also, by buying from Google, they hedge against lower than expected growth too. If growth doesn't meet expectations, while they're still obligated to spend the $2B, they can re-sell the services for likely close to cost, given they'll be getting a discount.
So, if you set scope on expectations and dedicate time and resources, it's definitely possible. Reasonable? Probably not.
Everything at Google is an internal Google secret made by Google for Google. ALL the software and ALL the hardware that's running it.
Services rely on lower-level services. If you want to copy the high level service yourself and executes it at the same level Google does, you'd need to have everything it depends on. Too bad for you, each piece is a multi billion dollar projects itself, with its own dependencies...
Let's imagine for a minute that there was a service that is somewhat standalone-ish. You may consider poaching the handful of people who can make it, for $1M a head. But that won't work well because money is not everything and you can't help it. Whenever there are ONLY 50 people in the world who can deliver what you need and you need almost all of them, you're fucked.
In short, the castle is out of reach, even the building bricks are out of reach ;)
They're so well situated, with a years worth of technology and tools, so it's really hard for a new comer to compete.
They are reporting ~4B run rate for all cloud but that includes SaaS, GCP run rate may be < 1B (but it's hard to know for sure).
edit: I should point out that this doesn't account for ramp-up. It would obviously take awhile before things would be to a point where it would be even comparable.
Would you consider Oracle's cloud endeavor a fair test of how able a company is to reproduce GCP's offering with a fistful of money?
Keep in mind that Google's revenue in 2015 was $75 billion. Their hardware and software know-how is fundamental to their ability to make this kind of revenue, so you better believe they're investing more than a measly $400M per year (Snap's $2 billion over 5 years) back into their hardware. This Snap commitment is a drop in their revenue ocean, at 0.5%.
From a non-fiscal perspective, there's a lot of other great reasons to think so. For one, they've been building custom hardware for a decade at least to support the needs of running at the scale they do. Worth checking out this paper  and this video  if you're interested in some of what they've been doing purely on the networking side. In mid-2015 their newest data centers were pushing 1 petabit per second of cross-sectional bandwidth.  That's mind-blowing capacity.
So their internal data center networking is at or near top of class. In addition to this, they've also invested heavily in inter-DC and backbone capacity [4. Again, this is something that you presumably benefit from when, say, distributing your content across the world for faster access.
In addition to that, you get access to all their class-leading scheduling software and state management software that they've developed, refined, and redeveloped over the last 15 years. They know how to take a pool of compute and storage and turn it into solid distributed systems like only a few organizations do. I'm sure they get a good amount of advising from Google's experts somewhere in that $2B, not to mention services like BigTable, Kubernetes, etc. that you can find on their growing products page .
So though I can't back my prediction up with solid data, since I'm not a Google exec, I think it's pretty obvious that even $2B is not going to get you anywhere close to Google's existing infrastructure. Definitely not in 5 years.
First, the open source world is a pile of crap that doesn't work and doesn't stick together. It's not remotely comparable to any of the offering from AWS or Google, let alone their combination of offerings put together.
Second, they definitely use EVERY piece of software and hardware. Just like anyone who has over 100m daily users.
Neither have any basis in reality.
I imagine they had a very strong bargaining position willing to commit this much, for this long. Even if Snapchat wasn't a valuable brand for Google to brag about, this amounts to ~10% of the yearly earnings  of Google's cloud business (SaaS and IaaS, of which I suspect SaaS like Apps for Work is the lion's share)
I'm sure they're getting a good deal, and can focus on features and getting their platform profitable, as you said.
1. "..at that pace, Google’s cloud could generate $4.1 billion in revenue in 2016" http://www.networkworld.com/article/3029164/cloud-computing/...
I assume this is sarcasm...just want to verify :)
Encryption Technologies. Google makes HTTPS encryption (also referred to as SSL or TLS connection) available. Google servers support ephemeral elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange signed with RSA and ECDSA. These perfect forward secrecy (PFS) methods help protect traffic and minimize the impact of a compromised key, or a cryptographic breakthrough.
It's a mistake to just compare Google with AWS, thinking in terms of basic storage and computing. That's boring and obviously there are tons of alternatives, including Snap Inc. building it themselves, for the amount of money cited.
When it comes to cutting edge AI and related, Google's offerings clearly stand out among other cloud services.
Disclosure: I work on Google Cloud
But without anymore context into what Snapchat is saying, it's too easy to read just about anything into that comment.
Firebase is the killer here. AWS and Azure don't have it or anything comparable for realtime data. If they do, please tell me about it because I'd love to know about it!
I'm particularly interested in this because I'm building a product supported by Firebase and will have the same lock-in described in this filing.
I need the actual GPU—graphics, OpenGL, etc.—part, not just CUDA, in addition to the hardware H.264 encoders that come with nVidia's GRID CPUs. GCE has no equivalent.
We're also using Amazon's Elastic File System, and I don't think Google has an alternative—though that's something I could handle differently if I had to, at higher cost.
I'd be happy to get you early access, Erich ;).
Disclosure: I work on Google Cloud.
I'm pretty sure AMD also has the ability to H.264 encode the screen at 60fps (with low latency) which is really important to us—our "workstation" is entirely in the cloud, with a Pi 3 running the display/keyboard/mouse.
Compare this situation to Dell v. Lenovo v. HP commodity x86 servers: if one goes out of business, you can go to the others (and proactively use this as leverage when negotiating). EDIT: Or more realistically, you don't need to do much/any work to run your service on a Dell v. an IBM.
I suspect that Snap is merely capitalizing on traditional advertising metrics (engagement, CTR) which don't translate over on their app, and the advertisers just haven't caught on yet. People play with filters because they're funny/amusing, but those impressions don't convert into purchases in the same way other types of ads would.
Earlier last year Snapchat temporarily featured X-Men filters exclusively ahead of the movie release - I interacted with those for the novelty (and mainly because they disabled all the other filters so there were no other options) but I did not see the movie.
Again, I'm not sure if they follow something similar to a CPC model or what, but I bet it's expensive. If the advertisers decide it's ineffective their newfound revenue growth certainly won't be sustainable.
Maybe the X-Men filters didn't get you to watch the film, but it certainly worked on others.
I know of plenty of movies that have terrible ratings from professional critics, but got great box office earnings and all my friends who watched it really enjoyed. There's also plenty of movies with great ratings that I disliked.
Outside of your programmer/hacker/related friends, how many actually look at at the Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic ratings before deciding to view a movie. I know I don't for theater movies.
Take the new Jack Reacher movie, it has mediocre at best ratings, but I really enjoyed it (I must admit I watched it at the cinema for free, and had nothing better to do).
I think that for the average person, exposure is a very effective method of advertising films.
I personally go by the Reddit discussion on /r/movies. It usually tells me if the movie is going to be worthy my time or not
Intent is not action.
I'd still buy into the IPO and ride it up a bit though.
As previously commented, their advertising, at least in some circumstances, is highly effective.
The growth rate of revenue, how much more advertisers can spend on the platform before it's saturated, and how much Snap can jack up the price per metric, would also play a big role.
Name and Principal Position
Year Salary Bonus(1) Stock Awards(2) All Other Total
2016 $ 503,205 $ 1,000,000 $ — $ 901,635 $ 2,404,840
2015 363,715 1,000,000 — 344,756 1,708,471
2016 241,539 5,239,460 — 14,658 5,495,657
2015 230,000 — 145,292,145 348 145,522,493
2016 400,152 1,000,000 40,000,020 8,348 41,408,520
> We anticipate that our Daily Active Users growth rate will decline over time if the size of our active user base increases or we achieve higher market penetration rates. If our Daily Active Users growth rate slows, our financial performance will increasingly depend on our ability to elevate user engagement or increase our monetization of users.
> In addition, because our products typically require high bandwidth data capabilities, the majority of our users live in countries with high-end mobile device penetration and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks with large coverage areas. We therefore do not expect to experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries with low smartphone penetration even if such countries have well-established and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks. We may also not experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries where, even though smartphone penetration is high, due to the lack of sufficient cellular based data networks, consumers rely heavily on Wi-Fi and may not access our products regularly.
> Snapchat is free and easy to join, the barrier to entry for new entrants is low, and the switching costs to another platform are also low. Moreover, the majority of our users are 18-34 years old.
> This demographic may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends than other demographics.
> For example, users 25 and older visited Snapchat approximately 12 times and spent approximately 20 minutes on Snapchat every day on average in the quarter ended December 31, 2016, while users younger than 25 visited Snapchat over 20 times and spent over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day on average during the same period.
> Our Daily Active Users may not continue to grow. For example, although Daily Active Users grew by 7% from 143 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 to 153 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the growth in Daily Active Users was relatively flat in the latter part of the quarter ended September 30, 2016.
> Mark Zuckerberg talked about the long-term strategy for Instagram’s growth, and the fact that in a few months, the company created a new product identical to Snapchat’s Stories that already has more than the 110 million users as Snapchat’s entire app is reported to have:
>> Over the next five years, we’re going to keep building ecosystems around our apps that a lot of people are already using. Growth and engagement on Instagram have been strong. We announced in December that Instagram now has over 600 million monthly actives and recently passed 400 million daily actives. Instagram Stories reached 150 million daily actives just five months after the launch, and we’ve added new features like Boomerang and Live into Stories and I’m excited to see that continue to grow.
While the numbers are impressive, it seems they may already have plateaued. Nothing wrong with that--if the addressable market is limited, it limits them too. However, the problem with a plateau is that everyone starts eating into your stagnant market share. Adding premium services results in higher churn. Adding advertising results in higher churn.
Remains to be seen if they can double down with the IPO capital injection but so far we haven't seen much beyond the gimmicky SnapChat Spectacles.
For now it seems like they're still only a picture-sharing app that's popular right now. Obviously they're doing a lot to secure this position, but I wonder if they'll be able to maintain user's engagement for a longer period of time.
> We face significant competition in almost every aspect of our business both domestically and internationally. This includes larger, more established companies such as Apple, Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google (including YouTube), Twitter, Kakao, LINE, Naver (including Snow), and Tencent, which provide their users with a variety of products, services, content, and online advertising offerings, and smaller companies that offer products and services that may compete with specific Snapchat features.
> For example, Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook, recently introduced a “stories” feature that largely mimics our Stories feature and may be directly competitive. We may also lose users to small companies that offer products and services that compete with specific Snapchat features because of the low cost for our users to switch to a different product or service.
> Many of our current and potential competitors have significantly greater resources and broader global recognition and occupy better competitive positions in certain markets than we do. These factors may allow our competitors to respond to new or emerging technologies and changes in market requirements better than we can.
> Our competitors may also develop products, features, or services that are similar to ours or that achieve greater market acceptance. These products, features, and services may undertake more far-reaching and successful product development efforts or marketing campaigns, or may adopt more aggressive pricing policies.
Facebook and Google both later offered non-voting stock, but not when they IPOed. Not sure if it really makes a difference overall, but unlike Facebook and Google there is no public Snap Inc. voting stock.
SNAP is coming out immediately and saying you are not going to have ANY say in how SNAP is being ran.
Facebook, Google and others have shown that general investing public does not care about having voting rights.
Why anyone would pay a similar price for non-voting stock versue a regular stock/super voting stock is something that I have trouble understanding.
I understand buying bonds, preferred shares, but this apparent anomaly in non-voting share pricing is beyond me.
In my view when you buy a share with diluted or non-existing voting power you are getting the worst of all worlds, no real say in the company and still you are the last in the line should something go bad with the company.
Basically you are placing infinite faith in those with the voting stock without any recourse. (Build a ten billion campus, sure, build a new base on the moon, build a mega dungeon, sure, etc etc)
Is there a good book out or coming out on the rise of non-voting stock?
Why does a company with a single product, which is a mobile app (so what is that these days, three platforms?) need almost two thousand employees - am I missing something? No wonder they lost $514mil in 2016, that's an absurd amount of overhead for a company with a single, not very cumbersome product.
whatsapp had what Facebook had ÷ 100.
I'd imagine that someone like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc, who makes the product at available $0 and has to devise a monetization scheme later will need to employ a fair amount of "soft skills" staff who can forge relationships with, say, advertisers, and gobs of staff to work on features, stability, capacity to achieve a point where their platforms attract and retain eyeballs. These are the sort of companies where an injection of VC money to rapidly scale is beneficial such that the product can achieve monetizable critical mass, to fill out the part between "2. ???" and "3. PROFIT!"
 without paywall: https://www.quora.com/How-was-WhatsApp-built
And by their own admission, they intentionally tried to slow user growth.
How many are working on the acutal product/engineering?
I work for a startup (that was bootstrapped I believe) and our sales team is almost half the company (we are just under 100 people right now).
Point being, at Snap's scale - I have a feeling they'll have a lot of Business Development Reps trying to bring in contracts for adverts.
So about 61:39, eng:sales, if you were to assume wages were equal, on average.
Actually, a more accurate calculation is much more complex. It's also almost impossible to figure out accurately unless they release certain data - which I guess they won't do.
Good luck with that!
I know it's a very poor parallel, but WhatsApp's sub 50 employee group around the time of acquisition was just so impressive in comparison with the size of some of these businesses. It was just orders of magnitude different. That being said - I agree with ohstopitu - I'd love to see a breakdown of who goes where...
Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Senior Sales Mobile Specialist, Sales Finance Manager, Senior Sales Manager, Sales Operations Manager EMEA, Agency Sales UK, Sales Manager Continental Europe etc etc
Account Managers, Account Directors, Agency Account Manager etc etc
I've never spoken to anyone at Facebook on a phone - but have spent a substantial amount of cash on the platform. On Twitter when we setup - there was onboarding, performance checkins etc - the biggest difference though we couldn't get an ROI from the platform (This was 2 years ago though so things may of changed?).
- A significant number of engineers to build/run/maintain their application.
- A large(r?) number of sales/business folks to sell filters/advertising/promotion.
- A smaller number of accountants to handle the money.
- A large number of managers to manage the engineers, accountants and business folks.
- A moderate number of HR/recruiters to find more staff.
- A few people to handle various operations stuff (legal teams, people to deal with law enforcement requests and subpoenas etc.)
When you start to get big there's a surprising number of things you need to do.
At least 2 EEs, another couple EE techs to fix prototype up boards that come in and prepare development boards for the software work.
You will have a couple people doing just regulatory work. Sign off on BT, USB, batteries, etc.
At least 1 ME, at least 1 industrial designer as well. 1 person in charge of optics.
1 software person to do board bring up, another person who specializes in Bluetooth because Bluetooth is a nightmare and you will have to work around different bugs on iOS and Android. Finally someone to do the actual firmware. You may get away with just 2 people, or you may need more, depending.
Someone had to design the box they come in.
The vending machines likely had a team behind them as well.
Then there is the marketing of the product, the glasses went viral fast, there was a team of people responsible for that.
And once all that is done, now you need a manufacturing team.
If the team was incredibly agile and efficient, maybe 20 people at the bare minimum.
Yes it's easy to build a single device... successfully scaling it to millions of devices is the hard part.
Also: "100x the resolution?" You obviously have no clue.
Says the expert with nothing to support your assertive claims.
The employee counts of the later don't get a second look on HN, and they aren't growing at 6x revenue (or whatever it is) like Snap is.
Snap is a media platform that comes with all of the overhead of running a global, culturally sensitive media business. There's user generated content at the center, but there are also a lot of partnerships, curation, etc going on too.
But, in general, yes, I think the sales force required to engage advertisers should not be discounted when the first thing going through the head is "but it's just an app!".
Also having only 158 million daily active users up from 150 million in June is definitely interesting and a lot smaller growth jump than I had expected.
Revenue up from $58MM in 2015 to $405MM despite a loss of $515MM last year. Wishing them best of luck, but I wonder how much their competition is hurting their growth (Instagram stories for example)?
> We are not aware of any other company that has completed an initial public offering of non-voting stock on a U.S. stock exchange. We therefore cannot predict the impact our capital structure and the concentrated control by our founders may have on our stock price or our business.
Hmmm... will be interesting...
There are a lot of reasons that Snapchat might not grow. Lack of people with smartphones isn't one of them. I don't think you have a good understanding of just how ubiquitous iOS and Android devices are.
There were over 1 billion active iOS devices globally according Apple Q1 2016 report . Android has even more.
Second, you also won't convert 50% of those iOS users to use one app. Just not going to happen.
Do you honestly see Snapchat growing to 300 or 500 million DAU?
In fact, according to a marketing company, as of March last year, only 37% of globally active iPhones were even as old as a 5S . Even the iPhone 4S, which did get iOS 8, was on just 5%.
Even if that data is skewed towards newer phones due to the type of sites they market on, it's unlikely that anywhere near half of active devices are running a software version over three years old.
Also, the App Store offers you the last compatible version of the app if your device isn't up to date, and it's possible that that version of Snapchat is still capable of showing ads, although I don't have one around to test it.
Looks like ~94% of users are on iOS 9 or iOS 10.
There's more than 1.5 billion Android phones. You don't need 50% of iOS to get to 500M DAU...
Twitter s1: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1418091/000119312513...
> Twitter went public at valuation around 30x trailing year sales and 15x forward year sales. At $25 billion, Snap would be valued at a huge 62x trailing sales.
> Assuming they could reach $1 billion of revenue in 2017, the 25x multiple would still be steep relative to the two predecessors.
Don't understand why a company with a mobile app as their sole product need that many employees. I was expecting that number to be more like 100.
The attention of many hundreds of millions or billions of people is a very valuable resources that they will have no problem selling. Keep in mind that there is a limited amount of human attention in the world, and it's a zero-sum game to control it. As Facebook has discovered, owning a huge amount of attention gives you a ton of leverage over advertisers who want to buy it. Being in the long tail of smaller attention-holders gives you much less.
So Snap will either grow to compete with TV and Facebook as one of the top attention-holders, or else they'll fizzle out into irrelevance, burning through gobs of cash along the way.
I mean, sure, they could aim to be a nice $500 million company that builds a product that makes people happy and makes their employees comfortably upper middle class. But that's clearly not their ambition so there's no point in discussing their finances as if it were.
I am merely pointing out that his security costs are negligible to him/Snap Inc based on their valuation.
Imagine the insurance premiums on that much wealth, without any security.
Personally the thing that makes me use Snapchat less is the 'discover' stuff. 9/10 the stuff their promoting to me is top 10 type articles for teenage girls. I enjoy the Economist story but apart from that the rest is garbage. They could have a really nice media consumption platform their but they seem to be wasting it.
Insane numbers. I don't think anyone on the planet knows what's going to happen with them but I am sure interested in finding out.
(And to the people downvoting me, please explain why you think it won't tank like Twitter - thanks!)
I tend to get annoyed when people have extremely overconfident predictions yet don't act on them. Just responding to your parent comment, it's hard to tell how bullish your actually are on SNAP from a brief paragraph. I'm bullish also but won't touch the thing unless it gets into territory similar to GPRO.
There are plenty of stocks out there with sufficient potential upside that I don't need to use leverage (either by borrowing at high interest on margin, or by borrowing and shorting expensive shares). Borrowing at low interest rates I will consider, but probably only for stable dividend shares.
I'm 90% certain that this won't be a killer IPO, if you look back 2 years after it floats. But there are sufficient interesting companies out there for me not to care about how it does, either way. Just putting it on my 'to watch' list.
Edit: thoughts on GPRO and TWLO?
Twitter had a nice pop after IPO and while they're a fraction now of their IPO price, if you played the market well rather than the company, you could have come out well.
Perhaps, a bit like Twitter, there are only so many people out there who want the unique functionality that Snapchat offers.
That said, there are a lot of smart people at Snap, and they seem to have a culture that encourages imagining, and shipping, big changes to their core product. So they may be able to get things back on track.
But if they can't restart the growth engine soon I'll seriously consider shorting their stock.
Social Media is about adapting to the changing trends, and for a while Twitter's strategy was to stay as close to it's core product as possible. Periscope is great but it came a little too late.
"We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability."
Sooner or later, you run out of other people's money, and businesses which have no plan to be long-term profitable should not be.
Then again, I didn't believe Instagram was worth $1bn when acquired either, and looking back, was wrong on that. But there's a massive disconnect between the current valuation of Snapchat, and the valuation of Instagram (when it was acquired).
Compared to Line and Wechat its really not
I guess I'm just old fashioned, here I thought the point of businesses was to make money, at least eventually.
This quote is a killer: "We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability." haha
The quote at the end is just boiler plate language they need to include in their S1 so they aren't sued by shareholders in 10 years.
And sure, the company might turn the corner. But seriously why would investors pay $3 billion with a pitch like this? I guess they're just playing other investors in the end. There seems neither money making capacity here nor the promise of it by their own admission.
Are you saying we should ignore their clear words on this topic and decide the management is wrong and they'll probably end up profitable?
I expect a dip after IPO and then a nice rise like facebook once they figure out how to advertise to the teens.
Worth a wait and then buy once all the adults think its worthless.
interesting statement from a company that just released their first camera (Spectacles) few months ago. i'm not sure if their users see them as a camera company.
Of course, labelling themselves as camera company isn't going to fool HN, but it might be viewed in a different light by investors.