When Mark Zuckerberg approached Snapchat, back in 2013, he was prepared to offer them $3 billion, but they declined, as at this time, Snapchat was reporting about 300 million daily active users globally, but, like that kid from high school who was on a fast track to an Ivy League school but got hooked on drugs, Snapchat made a lot of publicity blunders that took them back from the proverbial city to the proverbial ghetto. You can read all about them here.
Snapchat was on a proper roll, they’d manage to capture the hearts and attention of the generation that would set the pace for the future, if they’d kept their noses clean and their users happy, they’d be set for another decade. Looking back now, it made sense, that Snapchat declined Facebook’s offer, as publicly as they did — but then this probably makes the next points I’m about to make more salty.
The first law in R0bert Greene’s ’48 Laws of Power’ is — ‘Never outshine the master’. Robert went on to explain that “Always make those above you feel comfortable in their sense of superiority. In your desire to please or impress them do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make them appear more brilliant than they are – and you will attain the heights of power.”
Snapchat broke Robert’s first law… but like Robert also said, if you are going to outshine any Master, make sure that Master is weak and not strong enough to take you out of the game if they felt even remotely threatened.
I mean, it’s easy to get power drunk or high off of achievements, it’s also that easy to lose everything and hit rock bottom, which is where Snapchat is heading to, if not already there, because their 300 million active daily users has dropped to a struggling 191 million. Their CEO, Evan Spiegel was reported to have lost $150 million in the last quarter. The users continue to complain and grumble but are still going on the social app because it has what everyone else still can’t offer — premium and aesthetically pleasing filters. Some don’t even engage with any of their friends nor do they engage the content they upload, they just go there to use the filters.
Every super power’s biggest fear is annihilation, just like Facebook did to Myspace, and just like Netflix did to Blockbuster, Snapchat had the potential to rise up the ranks and become a strong contender for Instagram, because apart from the premium and interesting pictures and videos they both offer, Snapchat had an edge with their ‘Story’ feature and also their aesthetically please filters.
Mark Zuckerberg realized this, very smart guy, and he moved to acquire Snapchat, but before doing this, had built these features into Facebook and Instagram, but didn’t launch until Snapchat declined. So far, Instagram has three original Snapchat features — Stories, Filters and the recent plug in, the ‘Name Tag’, which is very similar to Snapchat’s ‘QR Code‘ which allows users to automatically become friends without having to type and search usernames.
Now, since the launch of the ‘Stories‘ feature in August 2016, Instagram has recorded a staggering 400 million daily active users, has been reported to now be worth $100 billion, users that were insulting the ‘IG Stories’ back then have now fully abandoned Snapchat and jumped on the wave. Celebrities are using this medium to communicate, entertain and engage with fans. Brands are using the feature to increase ROI and brand awareness. Other exclusive features for Snapchat — Bitmoji and Giphy are also now available for Instagram stories.
Mark is happy, everyone is happy.
In hindsight, Snapchat would probably have done well to team up with Mark and find some way to make the partnership work, declining Mark’s $3 billion was a gutsy move, and they should have kept that same energy, but then no one can predict how these things turn out, you can just carefully predict, plan and very importantly listen to the needs and mumbles of the users.
But then Evan still rich so let that sh*t burrrrnnnn.