One of Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel’s fellow Stanford graduates has written a new book about the history of the six-year-old messaging app.
With the title “How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars,” the book chronicles the early days of Snapchat up to its blockbuster initial public offering earlier this year, author Billy Gallagher told Business Insider.
Gallagher, 25, brings a unique perspective to the topic: Not only was he part of the same fraternity as Spiegel at Stanford (Spiegel is two years older), but he went on to cover Snapchat’s early days as a startup for TechCrunch.
The book’s title harkens to the $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg that Spiegel famously turned down in 2013. (Gallagher said he went with “a billion dollars” for the title because it sounded catchier.)
“I think the biggest question when you think about Snapchat is how does Evan at age 23 turn down this ridiculous offer from Facebook,” he said.
Given its tendency for secrecy and press aversion, Snap naturally didn’t participate with Gallagher for the book, which means he didn’t have access to interview Spiegel or his top lieutenants.
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Instead, Gallagher said he conducted nearly 200 interviews of people close to the company over the past couple of years and poured over thousands of documents, including the early lawsuit with ousted third cofounder Reggie Brown and the hack of Sony’s email servers that exposed Snap board members.
Gallagher hopes that the book fills in the gaps about Spiegel, who has historically maintained a low profile, and how he took Snapchat from being known as a sexting app to one of the biggest tech IPOs in history.
“It’s hard to get a really complete picture” of Spiegel, said Gallagher, who recently left Khosla Ventures to get his MBA from Stanford. “My goal is to fill in the complete picture.”
“How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars” will officially go on sale February 13 and is available for preorder on Amazon now.