The 'Insatiable' Adjectives of Sequoia Capital's Ode to WhatsApp

Including this one: "L E G E N D A R Y"
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The note on WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum's desk contains no adjectives. (Sequoia Capital)

This evening, news broke that Facebook has acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for a crazy amount of money $16 billion in cash and stock, plus $3 billion in Facebook stock to WhatsApp's employees. To celebrate the occasion, Sequoia Capital—the Valley venture firm that, in 2011, invested $8 million in the app—has published a Tumblr post, signed by VC Jim Goetz. It is 1,168 words long. It contains nearly as many adjectives. The thing is effusive (and ebullient! and effervescent!)—which is understandable, considering that Sequoia will be receiving "a blockbuster return" on its investment. 

So here's a list: of most, though not all, of the adjectives employed in the congratulation of WhatsApp's co-founders. Who are now, as Goetz might put it, "L E G E N D A R Y."

Bittersweet

"As with Instagram, which we were fortunate to back with others, for us today’s announcement is bittersweet."

Clean 

"As competitors promoted games and rushed to build platforms, Jan and Brian remained devoted to a clean, lightning fast communications service that works flawlessly."

Contrarian

"It’s a decidedly contrarian approach shaped by Jan’s experience growing up in a communist country with a secret police."

Conventional

"Jan and Brian ignored conventional wisdom..."

Different

"From the moment they opened the doors of WhatsApp, Jan and Brian wanted a different kind of company."

Enduring

"From the time WhatsApp had fewer than ten users, Jan and Brian have been committed to building an enduring service."

Fast

"WhatsApp is simple, secure, and fast..."

Fortunate

"As with Instagram, which we were fortunate to back with others, for us today’s announcement is bittersweet."

Greater

"There may be no greater testament to the viral nature of WhatsApp than the fact that the company has accomplished all this without investing a penny in marketing."

Greatest

"Yet like the world’s greatest brands, it’s created a strong emotional connection with consumers."

Happy

"All of WhatsApp’s growth has come from happy customers encouraging their friends to try the service."

Home-grown

"...There’s no other home grown technology company that’s so widely loved overseas and so under appreciated at home."

Insatiable

"WhatsApp has tapped into our insatiable appetite for personal communication."

Lean

"Even by the standards of the world’s best technology companies, WhatsApp runs lean."

L E G E N D A R Y (caps, spaces included)

"This L E G E N D A R Y crew has built a reliable, low-latency service that processes 50 billion messages every day..."

Lightning-fast

"As competitors promoted games and rushed to build platforms, Jan and Brian remained devoted to a clean, lightning fast communications service that works flawlessly."

Low-latency

"This ... crew has built a reliable, low-latency service that processes 50 billion messages every day..."

Maverick

"...We could not be happier for these talented underdogs whose unshakeable beliefs and maverick natures epitomize the spirit of Silicon Valley."

Novel 

"It’s easy to take this novel model for granted."

Pure

"It serves as a daily reminder of their commitment to stay focused on building a pure messaging experience."

Reliable

"This ... crew has built a reliable, low-latency service that processes 50 billion messages every day..."

Remarkable 

"It’s a spectacular milestone for the company’s co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, and their remarkable team."

Remarkable (again)

"It’s been a remarkable journey..."

Secure

"WhatsApp is simple, secure, and fast..."

Significant

"Registration is authenticated using a phone number, a significant innovation that eliminates the frustration of remembering a username and password."

Simple

"WhatsApp is simple, secure, and fast..."

Smaller

"Unlike their smaller competitors, it hasn’t spent anything on user acquisition."

Spectacular 

"It’s a spectacular milestone for the company’s co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, and their remarkable team."

Strong

"Yet like the world’s greatest brands, it’s created a strong emotional connection with consumers."

Talented

"...We could not be happier for these talented underdogs..."

Unconventional

"This discipline is reflected in WhatsApp’s unconventional approach to business."

Unheard of

"WhatsApp developer supports 14 million active users, a ratio unheard of in the industry."

Unshakeable 

"...whose unshakeable beliefs ... epitomize the spirit of Silicon Valley."

Unusual

"This ... crew has built a reliable, low-latency service that processes 50 billion messages every day across seven platforms using Erlang, an unusual but particularly well-suited choice."

Valuable 

"Those less familiar with WhatsApp and its wonderful product will marvel at how a young company could be so valuable."

Well-suited

"This ... crew has built a reliable, low-latency service that processes 50 billion messages every day across seven platforms using Erlang, an unusual but particularly well-suited choice."

Wonderful

"Those less familiar with WhatsApp and its wonderful product will marvel at how a young company could be so valuable."

Young

"Those less familiar with WhatsApp and its wonderful product will marvel at how a young company could be so valuable."

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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