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Why WhatsApp Only Needs 50 Engineers for Its 900M Users

Stashed in: Culture, Awesome, WhatsApp, WhatsApp!

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' “We expect the engineer to come in and spend their first week getting familiar with the language and learning to use the environment. If you hire smart people, they’ll be able to do that.”

The company has succeeded by hiring engineers who are adaptable—in more ways than one. Asked to explain the company’s secret, Mahdavi’s response seems far too simple. But that’s the point. “The number-one lesson is just be very focused on what you need to do,” he said. “Doing spend time getting distracted by other activities, other technologies, even things in the office, like meetings.”

At WhatsApp, employees almost never attend a meeting. Yes, there are only a few dozen of them. But that too is the point.'

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And comments!

WhatsApp is admirable for this culture but it's very unusual to scale usage that much with so few engineers.

Have you read comments to this article? I find it very interesting that there seems to be quite a few people who seems to belittle the application itself and see no value in what the team has done....

I have to admit, I kind of see their point. But, regardless, the culture is quite unique. 

Yes the comments are weird. What the WhatsApp team has done is extraordinary. 

I thought when they got bought by FB they only have 11 employees total?

They had 55 people at the time the acquisition was announced:

Most of those 55 people were engineers. 

50 engineers in all to run a giant app like Whatsapp?? Awesome!!! 

It does seem amazing they can support 500 million people with 50 engineers. 

This morning I had a business call with someone in London. We used WhatsApp. The call quality was better than I experience with AT&T's Uverse (triple-play landline), T-Mobile mobile phone at my SF apartment, and Skype on my laptop. It didn't suffer from the poor line quality of AT&T, the high rate of dropped calls from T-Mobile or the deterioration over call-time that is one of the new Microsoft features added to Skype. The call was actually perfect over a 3G/LTE network with 3-4 bars.

So who'd have guessed that 'social media' has come this far and enabled this level of communication. Pretty damn impressive. Okay, not sure what might happen if everybody started to use WhatsApp calling, but maybe they'll be able to get voice to scale as well as texts.

I didn't realize Microsoft deteriorates Skype over time.

Do FaceTime and Google Hangouts degrade too?

You're right that WhatsApp is pretty wonderful quality.

Re Skype and call quality - not sure what is going on, but my experience has been of degrading Skype call quality over longer calls. A note from 2012/2013 that refutes the claim I also have MS Lync - corporate Skype as part of the paid for Office 365 service - don't have enough data on this because there are not enough people on it for me to make a lot of calls

I've never noticed the Skype deterioration but maybe I'm not on long enough to hear it. 

Looks like I have to give WhatsApp a try... Too many messaging apps!  Have anybody here tried How is it comparing with Skype, Google hangout and WhatsApp?

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