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Shira Ovide

Snapchat Doesn't Know What It Wants to Be Yet

The IPO pitch was about staying tightly focused. Now the company is throwing the masses into the mix.
Photographer: Jon Levy/AFP/Getty Images

Snapchat executives had a coherent message when they pitched the company's initial public offering: It will never be for everyone in the world. It didn't have and didn't want the global masses of Facebook with its nearly 1.3 billion daily users in every corner of the world.

Instead, Snapchat had a deliberate strategy to concentrate on people -- mostly young people -- who use its app avidly in North America, Europe and other places with robust mobile phone service and high-end smartphones that can handle the app's heavy reliance on video and other sophisticated technology.