whatsapp – Ukraine – the individual and the state

An interesting contrast between the individual and the state

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our thoughts and prayers go out  to Kiev and Ukraine today.

Ukraine is making headlines for the wrong reasons but has one reason to be proud of today

whatsapp founder Jan Koum is an Ukrainian immigrant with a rags to riches story

From the above forbes article

Koum, who Forbes believes owns 45% of WhatsApp and thus is suddenly worth $6.8 billion — was born and raised in a small village outside of Kiev, Ukraine, the only child of a housewife and a construction manager who built hospitals and schools. His house had no hot water, and his parents rarely talked on the phone in case it was tapped by the state. It sounds bad, but Koum still pines for the rural life he once lived, and it’s one of the main reasons he’s so vehemently against the hurly-burly of advertising.

At 16, Koum and his mother immigrated to Mountain View, a result of the troubling political and anti-Semitic environment, and got a small two-bedroom apartment though government assistance. His dad never made it over. Koum’s mother had stuffed their suitcases with pens and a stack of 20 Soviet-issued notebooks to avoid paying for school supplies in the U.S. She took up babysitting and Koum swept the floor of a grocery store to help make ends meet. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they lived off her disability allowance. Koum spoke English well enough but disliked the casual, flighty nature of American high-school friendships; in Ukraine you went through ten years with the same, small group of friends at school. “In Russia you really learn about a person.”

 This will be the future – individuals will make a difference and the role of the State will be to create the best atmosphere to attract(and retain) their best individuals

Image source: Forbes

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