The improbable and exhilarating story of the rise of Snapchat from a frat boy fantasy to a multi-billion dollar internet unicorn that has dramatically changed the way we communicate.
In 2013 Evan Spiegel, the brash CEO of the social network Snapchat, and his co-founder Bobby Murphy stunned the press when they walked away from a three-billion-dollar offer from Facebook: how could an app teenagers use to text dirty photos dream of a higher valuation? Was this hubris, or genius?
In How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars, tech journalist Billy Gallagher takes us inside the rise of one of Silicon Valley's hottest start-ups. Snapchat developed from a simple wish for disappearing pictures as Stanford junior Reggie Brown nursed regrets about photos he had sent. After an epic feud between best friends, Brown lost his stake in the company, while Spiegel has gone on to make a name for himself as a visionary—if ruthless—CEO worth billions, linked to celebrities like Taylor Swift and his wife, Miranda Kerr.
A fellow Stanford undergrad and fraternity brother of the company’s founding trio, Gallagher has covered Snapchat from the start. He brings unique access to a company Bloomberg Business called “a cipher in the Silicon Valley technology community.” Gallagher offers insight into challenges Snapchat faces as it transitions from a playful app to one of the tech industry’s preeminent public companies. In the tradition of great business narratives, How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars offers the definitive account of a company whose goal is no less than to remake the future of entertainment.
The rise of smartphones and tablets has altered the industry of making computers. At the center of this change are Apple and Google, two companies whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition. In the age of Android and the iPad, these corporations are locked in a feud that will play out not just in the mobile marketplace but in the courts and on screens around the world.
Fred Vogelstein has reported on this rivalry for more than a decade and has rare access to its major players. In Dogfight, he takes us into the offices and board rooms where company dogma translates into ruthless business; behind outsize personalities like Steve Jobs, Apple's now-lionized CEO, and Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman; and inside the deals, lawsuits, and allegations that mold the way we communicate. Apple and Google are poaching each other's employees. They bid up the price of each other's acquisitions for spite, and they forge alliances with major players like Facebook and Microsoft in pursuit of market dominance.
Dogfight reads like a novel: vivid nonfiction with never-before-heard details. This is more than a story about what devices will replace our cell phones and laptops. It's about who will control the content on those devices and where that content will come from—about the future of media and the Internet in Silicon Valley, New York, and Hollywood.