In the world of multi-billion dollar commerce, decisions and fortunes are made due to factors that can often seem mysterious or opaque to people outside the boardrooms in which they are finalized. But in a recent CNN interview, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg peeled back the curtain on the deal between his company and WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired back in 2014 for some $19 billion. And according to Zuckerberg, the key to it all was Beast, his Hungarian sheepdog:
"My dog Beast, I think, is actually the secret weapon here… It was a tense moment and [WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum] was like, 'All right I need to think about this.'"
As Zuckerberg tells it, it was at that moment Beast entered negotiations, looking "kinda confused" and seeming to think, "'What's going on? These two guys are just sitting here silent.'" But instead of retreating to a more familiar and comfortable part of the house, Beast decided to ramp up negotiations to the next level:
"[Beast] then walks up to Jan and jumps in his lap… And then Jan starts petting him and a second later he's like, 'Okay, I think we're good.'"
Beast is a social media darling for his shaggy, adorable appearance, and if you've seen photos of the dog it isn't hard to imagine that a well-timed appearance from him could indeed push someone on the fence over the edge. But despite the cheerful story the relationship between Koum and Facebook took a turn for the worst after a few years. Koum reportedly left Facebook in 2018 due to disagreements over the monetization of WhatsApp, following fellow WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left the previous year. By doing so, they forfeited some $1.3 billion in the value of their unvested stock options, as well as (presumably) any visits with Beast in the near future.