So I’m asked one question most often. Why didn’t you sell your business? It doesn’t even make money.
By deleting images after you sent them, we changed what it meant to take a picture.
I think one of the perks of being a really small company is that from the beginning, we got to think about diversity.
Evan Spiegel’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: He’s an American internet entrepreneur.
He’s the co-founder and CEO of the mobile app, Snapchat.
He has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion dollars.
He’s Evan Spiegel, and here’s my take on his top ten rules for success.
Rule number five is my personal favorite and I’m curious to figure out which one you guys like the best.
As always, if Evan is saying something that really resonates with you, please leave it down in the comments below and put quotes around it so others can be inspired as well.
- Build a company you won’t sell
- Hire great people
- Keep things simple
- Make great products
- Have faith in yourself
- Change the game
- Embrace diversity
- Don’t conform
- Fill the void
- Keep asking questions
Rule #1: Build A Company You Won’t Sell
So I’m asked one question most often. Why didn’t you sell your business? It doesn’t even make money. It’s a fad. You could be on a boat right now. Everybody loves boats. What is wrong with you? And I’m now convinced that the fastest way to figure out if you’re doing something that is truly important to you, is to find someone who will offer you a bunch of money to part with it.
See the best thing is that no matter whether or not you sell, you will learn something very valuable about yourself. If you sell, you will know immediately that it wasn’t the right dream anyways. And if you don’t sell, you’re probably on to something. Maybe you have the beginning of something meaningful.
Rule #2: Hire Great People
Interviewer: Do you worry about making the leap from an inventor to a manager and how are you handling that?
Yeah, well I think that the solution really is the team, right? And so Bobby and I both have leaned really heavily on some really terrific people that we’ve been able to hire and frankly, I think that’s the only way to do it. I think that the challenging part from like the learning perspective is making commitments that are that big at such a young age to the people that work for us and their families.
Rule #3: Keep Things Simple
It’s very hard for me to use my phone to be honest. I’m kind of like on text message and email and our service so I’m always yelling at our people to try and, hopefully not yelling, but trying to encouraging, vigorously, vigorous encouragement, to make this service more and more simple.
So every time we add a new feature, we try to take a button away. That sort of has spawned a lot of our inventions, like we have one camera button on our service and you can tap it to take a photo but if you want to take a video, you just press and hold.
And that in the past, if you remember, still happens on a lot of camera phones today, you have to switch into video mode, and you end up with all these like weird videos that you thought were pictures, and pictures that you thought were videos, doesn’t really make sense.
“Know that you are capable of all of the growth that will be expected of you and that you expect from yourself. ” – Evan Spiegel
Rule #4: Make Great Products
So we’re much more interested in increasing engagement rather than getting big. So we really focus on a few markets that are really important to us and right now, we’re working on really increasing engagement and making sure that the people that are on our service just love it. And that’s what we watch and I think over time, we’ll think about expanding the product but right now, it’s really just a maniacal focus on making great products and deepening the engagement with our service.
Rule #5: Have Faith In Yourself
You already have inside of you all of the amazing things you need to follow the dreams that you have. And if you get stuck along the way, there is a ton of free information available on the internet. Have faith in yourself and the person you’re going to become.
Know that you are capable of all of the growth that will be expected of you and that you expect from yourself. You will tackle every challenge headed your way and if you don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying. Someone will always have an opinion about you. Whatever you do won’t ever be enough so find something important to you. Find something that you love.
Rule #6: Change The Game
We really found something special in Snapchat, which at the time was called Picaboo, and we found that by deleting the images after you sent them we changed what it meant to take a picture. So a picture wasn’t about saving a really important moment, it was about communicating.
And we got really lucky because smart phones and their camera connected to the internet meant that there really was a big change happening in communication that we didn’t totally identify at the time but we do now, which is that people prefer to communicate with photos and videos rather than text.
“Someone will always have an opinion about you. Whatever you do won’t ever be enough so find something important to you. Find something that you love.” – Evan Spiegel
Rule #7: Embrace Diversity
Diversity for us is really closely tied to competency. So for us we have such a diverse group of people using our products and services everyday, that in order for us to make absolutely great products and services for that community, we need a really really diverse group of people. And it’s really that simple. So for us, we just have an awareness that you know, if we want to make the best products, we need to have a diverse group.
Interviewer: So can you describe your diverse group of people, I mean, what are some of the percentages if you have them?
Again, this is sort of the challenge and I should have exact percentages for you but we just don’t think about diversity in terms of numbers that way. And I think one of the perks of being a really small company is that from the beginning, we got to think about diversity so we didn’t end up with a situation where 10 years down the line, oh my gosh I need to fix my numbers.
Because it’s not really cool to think about people as numbers, right? We think about people and diverse skill sets and so, for us, you know, we’re 300 people now we were 30 people gosh, a year and a half ago, we’ve been really mindful that as we grow, we need to hire diverse folks.
Rule #8: Don’t Conform
Conformity is so fascinating and it’s so pervasive that it’s been studied for a very long time. See it turns out, there are two things that can dramatically reduce conformity in a group setting. The first is a single dissenting voice and the second is the ability to communicate privately with other members of the group.
Our government gives us the right to privacy and the right to express ourselves freely in the hope that we might mitigate conformity. Democracy wasn’t designed to promote popular thought. It was architected to protect dissent. For as President Kennedy said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom, “and the enemy of growth.”
Rule #9: Fill The Void
Interviewer: What circumstances were present that made this idea catch fire?
Sure, so I think there were sort of two components and the first component is probably that social media was starting to feel a little stale. So there’s only so many beautiful, attractive, cool pictures that you can take and when you see all of them day after day after day, it just kind of gets boring.
So I think there was that aspect of it and I think the other thing is that we really identified that this ephemeral thing was core to conversation. And so if you wanted to have a conversation, one of the best parts about it was that you were left with the memory, but not necessarily a transcript. And I think that that really drove the great feeling that you have when you share snaps with friends and they’re silly and not exactly perfect.
You know, there was obviously a place for all of these great photos that you wanted to save and keep and there wasn’t so much a place to have a conversation. And I think there’s a nice balance with both and so I think we sort of filled maybe a void, the conversation void that was missing.
“You already have inside of you all of the amazing things you need to follow the dreams that you have.” – Evan Spiegel
Rule #10: Keep Asking Questions
I’m obsessed with this idea of no standard terms. So when we were first getting started and took financing, our lawyers would take us through the documents and they’d say, oh don’t worry about it, it’s all standard. Then at the time I was like, oh sure, standard, that’s great, no issues, just standard, no problem.
And I’ve since learned that standard means either the person who’s walking you through the documents doesn’t understand them or you could be getting taken advantage of. So when someone says something’s standard, just ask why and why and why and why until you really understand intricately how the deal is structured.
So I think that the big thing that we took away from that is standard terms is a huge red flag, and beyond that just don’t be afraid to continue asking why.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Prasad Marne or Mar-neh, I hope I got that okay, asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of the 10 rules had the biggest impact on you and why. What change you’re going to make? What was the most touching after watching this video? What are you going to apply to your life or your business? Leave it down in the comments and I will join in the discussion.
Thank you guys so much for watching. Continue to believe or whatever your one word is and I’ll see you soon.
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