Evan Spiegel: The sassy Snapchat chief who speaks his mind
Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat, is a controversy child. He doesn't hold himself back, it doesn't matter if at the receiving end it is his customers, competition or his own investors. Yesterday, during an event in California, he cheekily asked Facebook to not only copy Snapchat, but also its data protection policies. This comes as a dig at Facebook, which has copied numerous features from Snapchat. Here, we decode the man.
At 27, Evan is the co-founder and CEO of Snap. In 2015, he was named the youngest billionaire in the world. The company developed its flagship product Snapchat in 2011 which was the first of its kind short-lived photo and video sharing platform, allowing users to share 10-second-long disappearing snaps with each other. It recently went public, and was valued at a whopping $33 billion at the time of listing.
Spiegel developed the idea for Snapchat along with his fraternity brothers Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown while he was attending Stanford University. He is a university dropout, like Zuckerberg. Early on in their careers, Spiegel and Murphy ousted Brown. But he filed a lawsuit in 2013 against them, and by 2014 they agreed to a settlement of $157.5 million for Brown. Zuck 2.0, anyone?
In 2013, Evan Spiegel turned down Facebook's offer of acquiring Snapchat $3 billion. He was widely applauded for the bold move and for not succumbing to Facebook's powers unlike other popular social media platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.
In his arguably short career, he has courted innumerable controversies. While at university, Evan Spiegel sent some e-mails that involved misogynistic jokes. When the e-mails were leaked, he issued an apology: "I was [a] jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect my views towards women." Closer home, he had once said that Snapchat is only for rich people, thereby offending a lot of Indians.
According to reports, Spiegel was the highest paid US CEO (amongst the publicly listed companies) at $504 million in 2017, beating highly paid executives from Tesla and Google. In 2018, his net worth was valued at $3.2 billion which was calculated based on his 18% Snap ownership. But interestingly, Snap is yet to turn profitable. The company lost $720 million last year.
Ever since Snap has gone public, the whiz-kid CEO has gotten into a lot of troubles - the new design which he spearheaded, but could not even impress Kylie Jenner, disappointing quarters one after the other, and the reduced engagement on the app. As always, his reaction to the naysayers is "fuck off."