It doesn’t seem like any of Snapchat’s hiccups backfire on them the way they would on other companies. A benefit of having a teenage-dominated user base? Perhaps. Today they pulled another pretty slick move.
But first a little recap:
Last New Year’s Eve, Snapchat was hacked, compromising 4.6 million of its users. Keep in mind the sensitive nature of the messages sent on Snapchat. It was, legend has it, built for sexting, so it goes without saying that most of the users wouldn’t be pleased if their messages were exposed. As it turns out, they didn’t seem to care at all. The media buzzed about it, but it had little to no impact on Snapchat or its users.
Critics questioned the ability of the then 23-year-old (now 24) CEO Evan Spiegel to lead the company. Eventually that died down.
Fast forward to May. Emails from Spiegel’s time as the social chair of Stanford’s Kappa Sigma fraternity were leaked to Valleywag. The emails were, let’s just say, offensive, stereotypically fratty on steroids, enough to lead the the decline of Snapchat, or at least the removal of Spiegel.
Welp, he’s still there.
And today, for the first time that I’ve seen, Snapchat did something strategically devious. A smart move, really. While all eyes were on Apple, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the iPhone 6, its new mobile payment technology, and the iWatch, Snapchat settled a nasty, months-long lawsuit with Reggie Brown, a former “brother” of theirs who claims to have come up with the concept for Snapchat in the first place.
Despite everything that’s happened – at least two situations that could have destroyed the company and its leader, and a third that surely would have dominated headlines – Snapchat is now valued at a whopping $10 billion and Spiegel, along with his cofounder Bobby Murphy, have landed themselves on the Forbes billionaires list, with an estimated net worths of $1.5 billion.
How does that make you feel?