Also, just because someone makes a decision that's different from the decision you would have made doesn't mean their decision was the "wrong" decision. You would have taken the money, I would have taken the money, and I'm sure a lot of others would have taken the money. However, choosing not to take the money isn't the "wrong" choice, it's just a different choice. And, given that he had all the information about the deal (or at the very least more information than the rest of us), I'd say calling his decision wrong when you hardly have any information on it at all is its own form hypocritical hubris.
Anyway, morals of the story are (1) different !== wrong and (2) it's best not to judge the actions of others, especially when you're lacking the details.
PS. I am so judging you.
PPS. I am also fine with being a hypocrite.
Here's the gist: it's not that posting an opinion online is hubris, it's what your opinion entails and is based on. You have no facts about the deal, and no qualifications to speak on good business acquisitions. You call the product "worthless" while teams of people at Facebook and Google seem to value it very highly. I'm going to have to assume that the people FB and Google hire are all very intelligent and capable at their jobs, and they see value in purchasing the company (which is why they made the offer). You, however, with no information have decided they're all morons and you know better because SnapChat is "worthless". That, my friend, is indeed hubris. You assume that you know more than everyone else who has far more intimate knowledge of the company and product.
Here's the moral of the story: just because something seems "worthless" to you doesn't mean that it has no worth to anyone else. If other highly trained and educated people say it's worth quite a bit of money, then, perhaps, you should re-evaluate your viewpoint.
Or if he did sell and used the money to go on a cocaine bender and died in a hotel pool from an overdose - would selling have been the best thing for him?
Do you see how pointless "what if" scenarios actually are? There are too many variables to properly account for - you can't just change one variable (like a decision) and assume everything else turns out exactly as you would like.
There's no doubt that he's talented and gifted. And it's possible that I'm absolutely wrong and Evan and Snapchat are planning some amazing features. But I highly doubt that, and I would propose that it would be more pragmatic to take the cash offered and do something more meaningful.
To his credit, he's aware of it:
I bring this up because I want to acknowledge inequality. At Stanford, and in Silicon Valley, we perpetuate the myth of meritocracy. We believe that the harder we work, the more we will achieve. The more effort that we take to craft ourselves, and our brands, the more opportunities we will create for ourselves.
But in Cape Town, and in America, and across the world - This is not true. I am a young, white, educated male. I got really, really lucky. And life isn’t fair. So if life isn’t fair - It’s not about working harder; it’s about working the system.
The rest of the article is idiotic: "Evan is only 23 years old, a straight white male, and chances are, has never been denied anything in his life." Chances are I can make up anything I want about someone's life to fit whatever narrative I'm trying to express.
This is the problem with trying to focus on working on the "important" things instead of the things that interest you: its incredibly difficult to know what will be important ahead of time. Who would have guessed that a strange abstract math that only dealt in 1's and 0's, originally invented in the 1800's would later be essential to powering every machine in the 2000s? At the time you could have rightly criticized Boole for having the luxury and privilege to focus on something so useless instead of using his time in medicine for example. Someone arguing that Boolean algebra would actually be instrumental 100 years later in machines that can cure diseases would have seemed like an absurd counter-argument.
When Apple was started the big computer companies laughed at the notion of a personal computer in every home. Steve Jobs' dream of everyone owning a personal computer is arguably one of arrogance and privilege: why focus on that in the 80s when there were so many "real" problems to work on?
Twitter is the epitome of silly privilege ideas: a company based around people yelling short sentences into the ether. Who would have guessed that would empower real time delivery of current events like a hurricane or a tidal wave?
No one knows what will be the idea that revolutionizes the future, but a lot of people do know what they're passionate about. If you focus on something you think is important but you're not passionate about, the result probably won't be great. If instead everyone focuses on what they're passionate about, we'll have a lot of top notch incarnations of an incredibly diverse set of ideas. Tons will be duds, but a few will change things, and they probably won't be the ones you predicted.
So why not accept that some people are interested in different things than you instead of trying to determine whether the owner of Snapchat is focusing on the right thing or not. You don't think its a great idea? Then go work on something else. The proof is in the pudding.
When you find your life's work (as I have), you will understand.
Until then, your assumptions that your priorities are more important or valid than his shows your own ignorance, not his.
Would Gates or Zuckerberg drop out of Harvard if they were the first in their family to attend college with immigrant parents demanding to know why they're not a doctor/lawyer - probably not.
PS I'd also like people to stop using the formulaic 'straight white male' as if one's sexual proclivities make any difference here. Ie someone writing about a field where this matters (say pro sports or fashion industry to pick opposite examples) - fine, talk about it. Otherwise please stop regurgitating same PC keyword over and over.
This statement is inaccurate at best, more than 1/2 of start-ups in the valley and 25% nationwide are by immigrants (overwhelmingly Asian). So to say it is "filled by white men" is to ignore that a growing bulk of founders are foreign-born and non-white.
Also look up Anna Lee Saxenian's work.
From a profile on Spiegel in LA Weekly:
"John Spiegel strove to make sure his children understood that their life was privileged. Every Christmas, he would take them to hand out food at Head Start centers. Through their church, All Saints Episcopal in Beverly Hills, they traveled to Mexico to build houses for the poor"
"He laid out his case in a letter to his father on Feb. 12, 2008. He began by thanking his father for working so hard to afford "such an amazing lifestyle," assuring him that he understood how privileged they were. "We live in a bubble," Evan wrote."
"But where he is a real outlier is in his attitude toward his own success. One of the cherished ideas of the tech world is that success is based on talent and hard work, and that everyone has an equal chance. But Spiegel, who grew up in a wealthy family, has little use for what he calls "the myth of meritocracy." Where others see success as a function of effort, he sees it as luck."
I would say these statements fly directly into the face of your characterization of Spiegel.
>I would be hard-pressed to find someone who thought Snapchat was actually useful to the world. Popular, yes, and fun too, but not particularly useful. Certainly not $4 billion useful. To turn down that amount of money means that Evan sees Snapchat as his primary priority. With $4 billion, Evan could easily fund multiple new startups that are doing meaningful work to change the world (or at least make money!).
Couldn't you dismiss Facebook and Twitter with the same criticism? Who determines what is useful to the world? Enhancing communication isn't the same as curing cancer, but I think you could argue there is some benefit from connecting people?
I'm not sure where you get that his refusal to accept a buyout makes him more out of touch. Do you think Zuck should have sold out at 1 billion to Yahoo so he could go build and invest in other companies? Isn't there a Zuckerburg quote where he said if he sold Facebook, he would go out and build the same company again? Also isn't it plausible to believe that Instagram sold out too early?
So why are you faulting a guy for thinking that his billion dollar company (which comes around very rarely) is his main goal right now? He probably recognizes that this is his one shot at becoming a tech icon, is it absurd to swing for the fences?