How a $19B Deal Gets Made (Over Chocolate-Covered Strawberries)


In the spring of 2012, Mr. Zuckerberg first reached out to Mr. Koum. The two met at a coffee shop in Los Altos, Calif., and spoke for an hour, then took a walk for another hour and a half. Later that year, they began a series of dinners, and continued to discuss messaging and communication services during meals and walks in the hills above Silicon Valley.

Mr. Zuckerberg asked Mr. Koum to dinner at his home on Feb. 9, where he formally proposed a deal and invited Mr. Koum to join the Facebook board. Mr. Koum thought about it for a few days, and the two men met again on Valentine’s Day. Mr. Koum came over to Mr. Zuckerberg’s home, crashing the dinner Mr. Zuckerberg was sharing with his wife, Priscilla Chan. They negotiated over a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries intended for Ms. Chan.

I have many questions about this, namely:

– Where was Priscilla Chan when this happened? If I was her I would refuse to leave the table.
– Did she offer the Whatsapp guy the first strawberry, or did Mark?
– Did neither of them offer a strawberry, but when Mark Zuckerberg slid an upside-down piece of paper across the table towards Koum, did he flip it over, take a look, flip it back over, stretch his arm out over to the gleaming pile of chocolate strawberries, and without saying a word, take a bite?
– Did Mark Zuckerberg cover the strawberries in chocolate himself?
– Did Priscilla and Mark do the strawberry dipping together, as a pre-dinner ‘couples activity’?
– How many strawberries did each person eat, and did they sincerely enjoy them?
– When making a business deal, does one still keep a little pile of strawberry hulls on a napkin, or is that a quick way of identifying oneself as inferior?
– Or were the strawberries pre-hulled? Not as authentic, but admirable in its efficiency.
– Do true businessmen eat the little leaves?
– In how many bites does one eat a chocolate-covered strawberry when negotiating a 19 billion dollar business deal?
– One?
– 19?
– 0?
– “I will eat one strawberry for every billion dollars you offer me.”
– Did they leave any for Priscilla?
– Did she throw the plate across the room when the Whatsapp guy left, shouting, “So much for our pre-dinner couples’ activity! I regret the day I married you!”
– Or did Mark close the door behind him, turn around to Priscilla standing in the foyer, and pull a melted chocolate-covered strawberry out of the khakis of his pocket. “I saved you one, baby.”

Photo: justinny8s

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