Evan Spiegel – Overview
Evan Thomas Spiegel, 28, is an American Internet Entrepreneur, and the CEO and co-founder of the social media company and app Snap Inc. – Evan was named as the ‘Youngest Billionaire in the World’ in 2015 by Forbes magazine. He was also ranked number #248 by Forbes in its ‘List of 400 with $4 billion in wealth’ in 2017.
Evan Thomas Spiegel, Background
Spiegel was born on 4th of June 1990 in Venice, Los Angeles, California. He completed his schooling from Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California. During his studies, he also joined design classes at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and later at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. After his studies, he got admission in the field of ‘Product Design’ at Stanford University in Stanford, California. He left his studies in 2012 before completing his degree. While at Stanford University, he joined Kappa Sigma fraternity – the largest college social fraternity in the world. In May 2017 Evan got married to beauty mogul and Australian model Miranda Kerr.
Spiegel co-founded Snap Inc. in 2011 – the parent company behind social media platform Snapchat – with Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown while they were all university students. After quitting his studies, Spiegel started focusing full-time on Snapchat. Spiegel declined an offer of $3 billion from Facebook in 2013 to buy Snapchat. Currently Snapchat has around 187 million active users worldwide of which nearly 170 million – comprising mostly of teenagers and young adults – are daily active users on the app who share and send disappearing images and messages. Spiegel became the youngest public company CEO after commencement of trading of Snap Inc shares under code name SNAP on NYSE on March 2nd 2017. The market price of one share in SNAP is $18.01 as of March 2nd, 2018 against its IPO of $17 per share and its debut listing at $24 per share.
Not Selling Out Pays Off
As per the filings made on February 21 2018, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) paid Spiegel a one-time ‘Stock Grant’ of $636.6 million, a salary of $98,078, and $1.08 million dollars as other perks – a total payment of $637.8 million.
According to analysts, Spiegel is the ‘Third Highest Paid CEO’ in the US in 2017 – the other two being Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple.
Power of Success
The company’s annual report released on February 22, 2018 termed this hefty amount paid by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a “motivational tool.” This amount includes a payment of $561,892 for personal security services to Spiegel. The company justifies the payment stating that its CEO has “received threats in the past and is likely to continue to receive threats in the future.”
The Wall Street Journal has stated that after its IPO, CEO Spiegel and his co-founder Bobby Murphy would hold over “70% of the voting power” in Snap Inc and together own around 45% of its total stock.
Awards & Recognitions
Spiegel is a member of the 21st Century Council of Berggruen Institute – a forum for dialogue on Global Governance. Its members include former heads of states, global entrepreneurs, and political thinkers. Forbes named him as a ‘Global Game Changer’ in 2017 and ranked him 10th in 2017 in its ‘List of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40’.
Snap Inc – Developments
There have been big redesigning and overhaul of the Snapchat platform as of 2018 – the usage resultantly becoming complex for the users instead of becoming simpler and consequently there was a lot of backlash and harsh criticism from millions of its users, including Kylie Jenner, who slammed the redesigning and termed the new update as “so sad” in her tweet dated February 22, 2018.
Snap Inc also tried to diversify into the manufacturing of sunglasses that also worked as cameras in October 2017 but that attempt failed miserably.
Personal Qualities and Leadership Style
Dismissing the Competition
After copying a lot of the features invented by Snapchat, Evan Spiegel snapped the issue of plagiarism by Facebook and Instagram saying, “You have to get comfortable with and enjoy the fact that someone is going to copy you if you make great stuff. Just because Yahoo has a search box, it doesn’t mean they are Google.”
Change Is Going to Happen
Spiegel defended vigorously the redesigning of Snapchat and stated at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference, “We’re excited about what we’re seeing so far. Even the complaints we’re seeing reinforce the philosophy.” He further added that “People need to get used” and declined to revert to the old pattern.
Spiegel and Murphy have together pledged to donate around 13,000,000 of the companys shares over a 20 year time period to foundations that support the ‘arts, education and youth’. The total value of these shares currently stands at $300 million