Snapchat Founder: Evan Thomas Spiegel
Age: 26 Years
Net Worth: $2.1b
Evan Thomas Spiegel was born in Los Angeles, California, on the June 4, 1990 to Melissa Ann Thomas and John W. Spiegel, who are both lawyers. He grew up in Pacific Palisades, California and was raised attending an Episcopal church.
He started his education at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, and later Stanford University. Spiegel took design classes at the Otis College of Art and Design while still in high school and at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena the summer before entering Stanford.
He also had an unpaid internship in sales at Red Bull. While a student, he worked as a paid intern for a biomedical company, as a career instructor in Cape Town, South Africa, and at Intuit on the TxtWeb project.
In 2012, Evan left Stanford to focus on Snapchat along with Robert Murphy and Reggie Brown, shortly before completing his degree. While studying product design at Stanford, he proposed Snapchat as a class project.
Fast forward four years, with over 100 million active users and 7 billion daily video views later, the White House has joined, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running a campaign on Snapchat and senior advert buyers are starting to take notice and planning to advertise on the platform over other social media sites.
The question on most people’s minds is “How did we get here?” Snapchat is primarily used for creating multimedia messages referred to as “snaps”; snaps can consist of a photo or short video, and can be edited to include filters and effects, text captions, and drawings.
A feature known as “Geofilters” was added in July 2014, which allows special graphical overlays to be available if the user is within a certain geographical location, such as a city, event, or destination. The “Selfie lens” feature, introduced in September 2015, allows users to add real-time effects using face detection into their snaps; they are activated by long-pressing on a face within the viewfinder
The amazing thing about Snapchat is that the way the application works is much closer to how we communicate face-to-face than any other social network: When we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behaviour and psychology.
Facebook was where you went for updates on family and friends, Instagram was beautiful photo content, and Twitter was the conversation at a cocktail party. These three social giants dominated most of the conversation, but they all played off of each other in terms of functionality, and, most importantly, audience. However, Snapchat was able to counterbalance the strengths of all three players and create a new social pipeline.
The norm of the internet age is to create platforms in which everything is saved—everything is stored and documented digitally. Snapchat went the opposite direction and is predicated on our reality: moments are temporary and that’s exactly the feeling and behaviour that Snapchat mapped into. Snaps could even be compared to television the first fifty years it was introduced: the broadcast aired, and that was it. Snapchat managed to tap into a lot of historical truths, instead of creating something entirely new.
All these things quickly led Snapchat to come to the attention of Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Just one year after launch, Zuckerberg reportedly tried to buy the app for $3 billion.
He understands the value of attention. He recognized that Snapchat was well on its way to winning the attention of a generation, much like he did with Instagram which he bought in 2012 for $1 billion. He saw that a Snapchat generation could emerge, much like there was a Facebook generation before it. Facebook acquired a monopoly on 18 to 24-year-olds with Instagram, they had a monopoly on an older demo with Facebook; they just needed Snapchat to fill the gaps.
But Spiegel turned down the offer. He saw what Zuckerberg saw: the potential to fill in the social pipelines that other platforms had ignored. He knew he had one of the hottest apps of the time; now it was just up to him and the team to blow out their user base and execute against their core function, and, he and his team are doing just fine.