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John Koum: The person who changed the world of messaging

Born in 1976, the Ukrainian American computer programmer, John Koum, has shown the world that a wish to make changes in the world can get a person an honorable position. Koum was born in a Jew family in Kyiv, Ukraine, of the USSR. His parents died at a young age due to unfortunate circumstances. His dad could not reach America after Koum and his mother left in 1992, and he died in Kyiv. His mother died due to cancer in 2002. At the age of 18, he decided to pursue his career in programming and joined San Jose State University. He also worked as a security tester in Ernst & Young during the same period. Here he met his future partner for business, Brian Acton.

In 2009 he noticed that the App Store of iPhone was going to change the whole app industry. He immediately contacted his friend Alex Fishman, and the idea of WhatsApp was invented there. He said it later that he had chosen the name because it simply sounded like ‘what’s up.’ So in 2009 itself he and his friend cum partner Acton launched WhatsApp in California. Initially, it was not that much famous. But as App Store began to push notification option, it gained its popularity like any other well-established app. In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg, after discussing with Koum, at a dinner in his own home, owned WhatsApp too. In 2018 he decided to step down from the board of directors’ position due to disputes with it. Currently, he possesses $450 million in stock from the company. They love to call it ‘rest and vest.’

Koum hates to call himself an entrepreneur as he thinks he is not like others who are going behind the process of making money. He wanted to create something different and more valuable, which will help the human society to evolve and progress in a certain way. He did some huge charitable works in the year of 2014 and 2016, respectively. He donated $1 million to The Free BSD Foundation and $556 million in Silicon Valley Community Foundation. In the latter year, he again donated 50000 dollars to The Free BSD Foundation.