How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story

Billy Gallagher. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-10861-6
Snapchat’s long march toward its IPO, which made founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy worth more than $6 billion and $5 billion, respectively, makes for a riveting story in journalist Gallagher’s hands. He fluently relates the app’s development, its early rise in popularity, the significance of corporations such as Taco Bell jumping on the bandwagon, and, perhaps most importantly, Spiegel and Murphy’s reluctance to sell the company to Facebook, no matter the price. Gallagher has followed Snapchat since early on and was handpicked to tell the story by Spiegel, a fellow Stanford alum, because he “understood the product” better than many other journalists. As Gallagher reminds readers, the app’s full potential was missed by the many reporters who initially sensationalized it as a platform for sexting. Gallagher also shows a keen understanding of and familiarity with Spiegel (“Evan hates... open-floor plans”), even if readers may not agree that the wildly successful entrepreneur is as brilliant as the author portrays him. Certainly, few will argue with Gallagher’s declaration that the company “made a distinctive impact” and “marked a rebellion against the social network status quo” of the early 2010s. This is a do-not-miss book for avid followers of the tech world and its financial dealings. Agent: Amelia Atlas, ICM. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 02/13/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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