Review: A Startup in Focus

‘Dude, I have an awesome idea!” The idea—sending disappearing photos—belonged to Reggie Brown, a Stanford junior. When he shared it one day in the spring of 2011 with Evan Spiegel, also a junior, Mr. Spiegel declared: “That’s a million-dollar idea.”

Or so the story is told in Billy Gallagher’s breezy company history, “How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story.” The two students recruited a third co-founder, Robert Murphy, and launched an iPhone app named Picaboo. Mr. Brown wanted to promote it with this line:...

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