Co-Founder of WhatsApp Leaves Facebook

From FlyerTalk member to billionaire, Jan Koum has lived the “rags to riches” dream — but the co-founder of WhatsApp has decided to “move on” and indulge in his interests outside of the world of technology.

Co-Founder of WhatsApp Leaves Facebook

The following message was posted by Jan Koum at his personal Facebook Internet web site:

It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.

I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on — just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.

Facebook has endured intense scrutiny since the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica through which data from as many as 87 million members was improperly accessed.

Okay — Not Quite “Rags to Riches”; But…

“Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible” includes members of FlyerTalk, who have been involved with the success of Jan Koum — who was known as FlyerTalk member jkb76 — since basically the beginning.

In May of 2009, Koum requested assistance from fellow FlyerTalk members pertaining to a “little tool” he had just developed at that time called WhatsApp. “i hate shameless self promotion, but i couldn’t resist posting here because i wrote this app with people like us in mind (those who travel a lot)”, posted jkb76. “ever since i semi-retired a little over a year ago, i been traveling A LOT and i hated it when people tried to reach me when i am on the plane or out of the country. so i asked myself — wouldn’t it be cool if i just set a status for my iPhone, similar to how you can set a status on yahoo messenger or skype.”

That “little tool” was sold to Facebook in February of 2014 for a total of $19 billion in cash and stock — which was enough to give every registered FlyerTalk member in 2014 greater than $35,000.00 each if that $19 billion was divided evenly. Additionally, jkb76 — who at that time was also the chief executive officer of WhatsApp — joined the board at Facebook.

FlyerTalk members congratulated jkb76, who is probably the wealthiest member of FlyerTalk, surmised FlyerTalk member EuropeanPete.

“You can start your own airline now!” posted FlyerTalk member BigStuart.

“Heck, now he can BUY FLYERTALK!” exclaimed FlyerTalk member JDiver.


Congratulations to jkb76 from on his rise to success and on his retirement, as it is always nice to see a fellow FlyerTalk member succeed; and I wish for him all of the best…

…but who could be the next FlyerTalk member to venture down that yellow brick path to success?

That FlyerTalk member may very well be participating in the Travel Tools forum, which is located in the Travel&Dining section of FlyerTalk and encourages the discussion of tools, services and software used to optimize your travel experience.

An example of the topics appropriate for discussion in the Travel Tools forum include the following:

  • Award booking services — such as Award Travel Consulting and Flightfox
  • Airline seat maps — such as SeatGuru and SeatExpert
  • Mileage tracking — such as GoMiles and UsingMiles
  • Car rentals — such as AutoSlash
  • Award availability, fare rules and more — such as ExpertFlyer and AwardNexus
  • Software for trip organization — such as TripIt

Jan Koum, who is also known as FlyerTalk member jkb76. Source: The LinkedIn profile of Jan Koum.

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