some thoughts on video discussion with kevin systrom of instagram

Talking to entrepreneurs for TechCrunch's "Founder Stories" has been a great educational experience for me.  (The fact that I've learned so much is one reason I lobbied to change the name from "Startup Sherpa" to something else since with these talented entrepreneurs I've been anything but a sherpa).  So far I've talked to Perry Chen of Kickstarter, Kevin Systrom of Instragram (part 1 is up and part 2 coming soon), Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures (not posted yet – and yes he's an entrepreneur along with being a super investor – wait until you see the video), and David Karp of Tumblr (only a portion posted so far).  

Going forward I plan to rewatch the shows and blog about the parts that I found most useful/educational and try to add a little interpretation.  I am supposed to be on vacation this week so for now I will just mention a few off-the-cuff moments about why I enjoyed talking to Kevin @ Instagram so much and what I learned:

1) the decision to pivot pre-launch when they already had ~100 friend loving their existing app
2) the way they thought about creating a new photo sharing app. they listed 3 simple problems they had with existing apps and tried to solve them. simple and elegant.
3) the importance of timing – instagram and other photo sharing apps all came out around the time of the iPhone 4 which with HD was finally a true camera replacement.
4) the fact that he came from Google along with a lot of the other founders of hot social startups (twitter, 4sq) makes you think the wonder if the problem at Google with social isn't talent but how they deploy it.  (kevin mentions that he could have never pivoted pre-launch at a big company).

You can watch part 1 here and feel free to leave thoughts in the comments below.
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2 thoughts on “some thoughts on video discussion with kevin systrom of instagram

  1. tarikh says:

    This was awesome. I was amazed to hear how surprised Kevin was by the launch – from the outside it seemed to epitomize careful and shrewd launch planning – a slam dunk of a launch. I guess it was more organic than planned. Having released an iPhone app a month or so before Instagram, and even having gotten some nice press: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/marco-service-helps-people-find-each… we watched the Instagram launch with a mixture of admiration and envy. Instagram, had a launch to die for, a feeding frenzy of downloads, and then press about the success of the launch that contributed to even more downloads. Having an active private beta and a group of folks clamoring to get in seems to be one key to their early success. Of course, the brilliant product implementation and integration of social sharing keeps Instagram’s success growing. I was also surprised to hear how successful Burbn was when they decided to simplify the feature set. I wonder if Ludicorp’s Game Never Ending–>Flickr played into their decision making? Looking forward to Part 2 and more of these – they’re great, thanks!

  2. Swathi Dharshna Naidu says:

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