Why We Should Tell Our Students to Turn Down the $3 Billion

Maybe you don’t “get” Snapchat. Maybe you do. In any case, everyone has shared opinions on the report that Snapchat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. As a teacher, parent, and sometimes entrepreneur I’m so happy for Evan Spiegel and the Snapchat team. In the midst of all the talk about valuations and why they are crazy for not taking the money…I think most people are missing the point: Did anyone ever ask whether or not Spiegel and his team are enjoying themselves? Did anyone take a moment to realize that this 23-yr old entrepreneur is literally living his dream, working full-time on something he is passionate about, and living life with a purpose???

I get that the cynics will say, “Well I could be living my dream too if I had $3 billion…”. Really? Spiegel is 23. Him and his team are building something millions of people are using everyday. Millions more are downloading it everyday. Now, that is a dream.

Let’s look at Spiegel’s other recent choices that everyone would have told him was a bad idea:

  • He left Stanford 3 classes shy of graduation!
  • He moved back into his Dad’s house to build Snapchat
  • He helped make an app that everyone thinks is used for one (bad) reason
  • He put Snapchat’s headquarters on the Venice boardwalk??

I guess Spiegel has experience with people telling him “not to do something” and then it turning out well. I’m not championing the idea that we should tell our students and our children to grow up and be like Evan Spiegel, but I do believe there are some lessons to be learned in this 23 year old’s story. It is a story we’ve heard before, very similar to Mark Zuckerberg turning down a huge offer and leaving Harvard, and yet…the adults who see this can’t believe it!

Here’s why we should tell our students and kids to turn down the $3 billion:

  1. You should be working with a purpose, and on something you are passionate about. Don’t just give up on that work for more money.
  2. The journey is so much more fun and rewarding than the destination. Cheesy quote, but very true.
  3. If you build something that is worth a ton of money, then you should be proud. That doesn’t mean you should stop building.
  4. No one is going to put on your tombstone: He built an app that sold for $3 billion. Your legacy is worth more than that.

My final point is about Spiegel’s intentions. I’m not sure what they are. But I would have no problem with him selling for $3 billion if he was done with Snapchat and wanted to build something else. I would have a problem if he sold it and didn’t do anything else. We need young people like Evan Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg as examples that anyone can build, create, make and launch huge successes…even when everyone is telling them what “not to do”.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) | AP

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