Michael Sayman

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Michael Sayman
RSM1 in Pompeii.jpg
Sayman in 2019
Born (1996-08-24) 24 August 1996 (age 24)
Occupationmobile application entrepreneur, product manager at Google
Years active2013–present

Michael Arthur Sayman (born August 24, 1996) is a first-generation Latin American mobile application entrepreneur and software engineer. He is best known for creating top-charting apps as a teenager to provide for his family during the Great Recession, as well as his subsequent work at Facebook.[1]

Sayman published his first app to the App Store (iOS) when he was 13 years old.[2] He later gained recognition from Mark Zuckerberg with his launch of 4 Snaps, a turn-based photo game, in his junior year of high school.[3][4] Zuckerberg then hired Sayman, becoming Facebook's "teen-in-residence" at 18.[5] His success with mobile application development grew in his teenage years, generating millions in revenue as a high school student.[6]

Sayman is currently a product manager at Google[7][8][9] heading a social gaming startup within the company.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Michael was born in Miami, Florida in 1996 to Bolivian father Miguel Sayman and Peruvian mother Maria Cristina Gálvez Sayman.[11][12] A large part of his life is defined by effects the Great Recession had on his childhood.[13]

In 2010, when Sayman was 13 years old, his parents lost their jobs and were forced to foreclose their home.[6] His mother considered having them move back to Peru.[1] Sayman insisted they remain in the United States, and that he would pay for everything.[1] Throughout his adolescence, he provided for his family via the money he earned publishing apps on the App Store.[14] In an interview with People magazine regarding his teenage years, Sayman said there were moments in which he did not know how his family would be able to afford to buy food or pay the electricity bill.[15]

In 2014, as tech companies were flying Sayman out to tour their campuses and speak at conferences, he still owed tuition to Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, the private high school he attended.[16] The school refused to give him his graduation certificate due to his inability to pay the outstanding balance he owed.[16]

In August 2018, Sayman publicly came out as gay in an interview with People en Español.[17] He said in the interview that he chose to come out because he believed that "this will be able to help other Latinos who go through the same situation."[17]

Early Career: 2010–14[edit]

Sayman taught himself programming through tutorials he found via Google.[1]

4 Snaps[edit]

In 2013, Sayman developed an app named “4 Snaps”, a turn-based game which gave the user a choice of words, allowed them to take four pictures based on the word they picked, and then sent over to the opponent player to guess what the word was, based on the pictures taken.[18] He released the app on August 8, 2013[18] and by the year after, the app had over one million downloads.[1]

4 Snaps was received with mostly positive reviews.[18] It peaked at #1 on the word games chart with a few million users.[19]

Facebook: 2014–17[edit]

Sayman joined Facebook when he was 18.[5] Mentored by Mark Zuckerberg[6], Sayman played a role within the company as the social network’s "go-to teen".[5] Over the course of 3 years at the company, he worked on developing products for the teenage demographic. He helped the social-media company understand how his generation uses technology, advising on experimental products for teens and helping executives understand trends.[10]


At age 19, he launched Lifestage, a new standalone, video-centric social app for high school students while working at Facebook.[19] The app was largely focused around the teenage demographic; anyone 22 or older is locked into only being able to see their own profile. When users signed up, with no need for a Facebook account, they would select their high school, and then see the video profiles from people at their school or ones nearby.

Sayman released the app on August 19, 2016 for iOS devices in the United States and name is 4Snaps.[19] The app was met with criticism regarding its privacy model and compared to Snapchat and Yik Yak.[20][21]

Less than 12 months later, Facebook pulled Lifestage from the app store and shut it down on August 4, 2017.[22]

Google: 2017–present[edit]

On August 28, 2017, it was reported that he was leaving Facebook to work at Google on its Google 'Assistant' project.[8] Before Google, Facebook was the only place Sayman had ever worked.[6]

Sayman is currently building a social-gaming startup within Google as part of the company's effort to create offspring companies from within the internet-search conglomerate.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e DeAmicis, Carmel (30 April 2014). "How a Florida kid's "stupid app" saved his family's home and landed him on the main stage at Facebook". Pando. Pando. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  2. ^ Tapia, David Blay (2014-09-04). ¿Por qué no nos dejan trabajar desde casa? (in Spanish). Bubok. ISBN 9788468657028.
  3. ^ "Conoce a Michael Sayman, el trabajador más joven de Facebook". América Televisión (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  4. ^ "4 Snaps". iTunes App Store. Apple. August 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Facebook teen-in-residence defects to Google and launches Lies". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  6. ^ a b c d "This 21-year-old millionaire was hired by Facebook at 17 and now works at Google — and his career advice is wise beyond his years". Insider. Insider. April 2018.
  7. ^ "Michael Sayman - Forbes". Forbes 30 Under 30. Forbes. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Facebook's 21-Year-Old Wunderkind Leaves for Google". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Google: Google and Facebook are fighting over this 21 year old". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  10. ^ a b c "Google Wunderkind Is Building a Secret Social-Gaming Startup". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^ Opinion, Diario (2015-06-28). "Programador de Facebook cuenta sus secretos". Diario Opinión (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  12. ^ "16 and About to Release His 9th App". ABC News. ABC News. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gHSVxWhnzk
  14. ^ "Teen's App Helps Pay Family's Bills". NPR. NPR. 5 May 2014.
  15. ^ Hansen, Lena (November 2018). "Una vida sin secretos". Historias. People en Español (magazine) (Magazine). 22 (11). p. 78.
  16. ^ a b DeAmicis, Carmel (2014-09-01). "How Facebook's newest teen engineer supported his family with apps until cashing in". gigaom.com. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  17. ^ a b Hansen, Lena (2018-08-24). "Michael Sayman, exitoso ingeniero hispano de Google, dice su verdad: "Soy gay"". People en Español (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  18. ^ a b c Beasley, Mike (2013-08-08). "Review: 4Snaps is a fun new word game for iOS". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  19. ^ a b c Constine, Josh (19 August 2016). "Facebook's new teens-only app Lifestage turns bios into video profiles". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  20. ^ "What it's like to use Facebook's new Snapchat competitor that's only for high schoolers". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  21. ^ "Privacy concerns about Facebook LifeStage app". www.privacytrust.com. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  22. ^ "Facebook killed the Snapchat-like app for high schoolers it quietly released last year". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-11-14.

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