Snapchat is one of those apps that seems to have been around a lot longer than it actually has. The popular photo-sharing app started life as a college project for three students at Stanford back in 2011 and by 2015, it was estimated that 6 billion snaps were being shared each day. The AppStore monster has evolved numerous times since its inception and new features are rolled out at regular intervals. One of the most recent features is that of Discover, which allows users to view snaps relating to current affairs. The man behind this feature is – or was – Nick Bell, a British businessman who yesterday announced his sudden – and rather elusive – departure from Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, which also operates quirky cartoon avatar app Bitmoji.
Bell joined the company in 2014 as Head of Content and had, by the age of 31, could already boast an illustrious career as a savvy businessman and entrepreneur. At the age of 16, having got on board with the dot com boom of the 1990s, he sold the domain Teenfront.com to a multi-million pound London based company for a sum reportedly close to $1m. Not bad for a website he created aged 14 in his bedroom! What followed was a series of diverse business ventures which included spray tanning and audiovisual equipment.
As chief of projects at Snap Inc. such as launching the Discover feature and the introduction of the Live Stories feature, it’s no wonder that Bell was named on Fast Company magazine’s prestigious 2016 list of Most Creative Businessmen, landing at at the very respectable place of 21. Bell’s innovation and prominence at Snap Inc is perhaps why his sudden departure from the company has come as a shock to so many, with some news outlets calling the “media matchmaker” an ally for the app which has risen to the caliber of social media giants Facebook and Twitter in only half the time. With nothing more than an email memo posted to his team on Monday, Bell simply stated that he was leaving the company to “recharge his batteries.”
More to this Snapchat Story?
Of course, with Bell’s sudden departure from the company coming in the wake of fellow prestigious employee Imran Khan (who left only in September), one has to wonder whether there is more to this Snapchat Story than we know already, especially given that only last month Bell stated that he was happy and content at Snap Inc.
Still, for now, we can reassure ourselves with a from Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel:
“We are so grateful for Nick and everything he has built at Snap. It has been an incredible journey that began with our vision for what content could be on mobile. Today, more people are watching more premium content on Snap than ever before, and we couldn’t be more excited about the momentum we are seeing with Snap Originals. We will miss Nick, and we wish him all the best.”