Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Instagram story

I was shocked at the $1B Instagram acquisition, but then again I'm not exactly up to speed on the latest in iPhone apps or social networking. This Times article gives some background. Although the article stresses founder Kevin Systrom's Stanford connections, it seems like the go to guy was really a Caltecher ;-)
NYTimes: Past midnight, in a dimly lighted warehouse jutting into the San Francisco Bay, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger introduced something they had been working on for weeks: a photo-sharing iPhone application called Instagram. What happened next was crazier than they could have imagined.

In a matter of hours, thousands downloaded it. The computer systems handling the photos kept crashing. Neither of them knew what to do.

“Who’s, like, the smartest person I know who I can call up?” Mr. Systrom remembered thinking. He scrolled through his phone and found his man: Adam D’Angelo, a former chief technology officer at Facebook. They had met at a party seven years earlier, over beers in red plastic cups, at the Sigma Nu fraternity at Stanford University. That night in October 2010, Mr. D’Angelo became Instagram’s lifeline.

... For Mr. Systrom, the connections forged at Stanford were crucial.

Mr. D’Angelo, a 2006 graduate of the California Institute of Technology, helped him find engineers, set up databases and flesh out features. Soon after Instagram came out of the box, he put his money into it.


Rodrigo Carvalho said...

The link is linking to this post, not to the NYTimes. Oh, the joys of recursion...

steve hsu said...

Thanks, I think it's fixed now ...

ben g said...


It took several weeks to make a billion dollar product.

What's been going on for a long time now is a process where starting up has gotten cheaper and more hassle free by the year. Every year new software frameworks come out that make previously tedious and/or difficult tasks from web dev to design to app building to server maintenance simple and easy. From the business/funding side there's also been the emergence of kickstarter and angellist as well as a growth in angel and incubator investments relative to vcs.

Its not quite as fast or as measurable as moores law is for hardware but from an economic perspective it might turn out to be just as important

MtMoru said...

Does it matter?

That Apple is the world's most valuable company, what does this mean? Something. Especially considering its modest P/E.

It says this:

The ideology of the industrial revolution, liberalism, laissez faire, is dead, but the weekend at Bernie's isn't over.


Because it is possible to scrape by without actually producing anything of value as long as you can sell it.

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