Sabeer Bhatiya an ordinary guy from banglore came to Los Angeles eleven years ago, in September 1988. He was 19 at that time and had only $250 in his pocket and knew nobody in America.
Sabeer intended to complete his degrees and go back to India to work with some Large Indian Company as an engineer. Sabeer did his MS in 1993. Sabeer thought that one should be superhuman to start a company and it was an impossible task for him.
But during his graduation in Stanford, he used to spend his lunch hours in the basement of Terman Auditorium. He listened to enterpreneurs like Scott Mc Nealy MBA’80, Steve Wozniak and Marc Andreesen, they all had a common message – “You can do it too.” Sabeer knew that famous people always says so to inspire others.
After completing his graduation Sabeer dropped the idea of going home. He took up a job with Apple Computers and so did Jack Smith, his friend and co-worker.
Sabeer and Jack had a dream to start a company and they were really working hard on it. They wanted to email notes to each other, but they were afraid of being accused by their bosses of spending their working hours on personal projects. They had personal American Online account, but they could not access it from office network. Jack was frustrated by all this problem. And this gave birth to an idea of free e-mail accounts that can be accessed anonymously over the web – HOTMAIL.
In mid-1995, Sabeer began his business plan for a netbased personal database called Javasoft. Javasoft became the front for Hotmail for Jack and Sabeer in December.
Sabeer knew Hotmail was an explosive concept. Sabeer convinced Imperial Bank to loan him $100,00. Then he convinced McLean Public Relations to represent Hotmail in exchange of stock.
In June the product was ready to launch, at that time they had 15 employees working for them. They launched it on July 4, 1996 – Independence Day – as Sabeer and jack thought free email was a great Independent idea and populist tool. Every body who owned a computer had their own email accounts, but with webmail, they could log on from anywhere in the world. The first users found it all by themselves and then it spread like a forest fire. there were 100 in first hour, 200 in second hour and 250 in third hour. the idea was so intuitively powerful that 80% of those who signed up for Hotmail; learned about it from a friend.
In just 2 1/2 years, Sabeer built Hotmail’s user base faster than any media company in history- Faster than CNN, faster than America Online. By summer 1998, with 25 million active e-mail accounts, the company was signing up new users at the rate of 125,000 a day.
On the New year eve,1997 the negotiations with Microsoft was finalised and the ownership of Hotmail was exchanged for 2,769,148 shares of Microsoft worth $400 million. Everbody in the valley was shocked with the dealing. but 8 months after the New Years announcement, microsoft ‘s $400 million price tag looked like a bargain, considering Hotmail had more than tripled in size since it was purchased. Nobody thinks the price was unjust anymore. Sabeer had a 3year commitment (through 200) to head Hotmail for microsoft.
Being the head of the world’s fastest-growing media company, backed with Microsoft’s financial muscles Hotmail’s Juggernaut appears unstoppable. He feels absurd when people call him ‘Powerful Man’ he is just ordinary flesh and blood like anyother man.