Instagram, the name originated from ‘Instant‘ plus ‘Telegram‘. The app was first published on 6th Oct 2010 by Kevin Systrom and his co-founder Mike Krieger. Though, it was available before that. As of today, Instagram is the fourth largest social media platform with 1.4 billion users or subscribers. With time the brand became ubiquitous. The company was bought by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook back in 2012. More than 1 billion of us use Instagram every month. We take photos and videos of our food, our faces, our favorite sights, our families, and our interests and share them in the hope that they reflect something about who we are or what we are aspiring to be. In this article, I’ll talk about the rise and growth of Instagram, the team behind the success, Facebook acquisition, and different stories that are directly or indirectly the part of the brand with amazing facts.
The Rise of Instagram
Early offer from Zuckerberg
Kevin Systrom (@Kevin) was born on 30th Dec 1983 in Massachusetts, United States. He was studied at Stanford University. He always wanted to meet Mark Zuckerberg as he was the tech wunderkind for his excellent work on Facebook. Once at the Zao Noodle Bar on University Avenue, about a mile from Stanford’s campus Zuckerberg met with Kevin and he tried to convince him to take the same decision (dropping out from the school). Zuckerberg wanted Systrom to join Facebook for Systrom’s interest in photography and the programming to make that happen in everyday life. Before that, Systrom published his side project Photobox where people can upload large image files and then share or print them. Zuckerberg was already impressed with that.
Earlier, Zuckerberg was seen holding up posters for his company outside the Stanford Computer Science Building in hopes of infiltrating the way campus org recruit members. He had stepped on the field and told Systrom he was offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with the team that would be huge in the future. Later he met with one of his mentors during his Stanford time,’ Fern Mandelbaum’. She advised Systrom not to give up his potential to work for someone else’s vision. Systrom realized that she was right, although he didn’t come to Silicon Valley to get rich quickly. He was there to get a good education from Stanford University. After he made up his mind he thanked Mark for his offer and then he planned for studying abroad in Italy.
Internship, Twitter, and Getting a Job at Google-
Systrom always loved the science behind the art. He has this amazing personality where people instantly love him or wrote him off completely. He is really good at listening and explaining something. From childhood, he is interested in photography. During his study in Italy, he was searching for an internship during the summer. Systrom read about online audio trends in the New York Times. There he saw mention of a company called Odeo that had created a marketplace for podcasts on the Internet. There he decided to do an internship. He accidentally emailed CEO Evan Williams, who helped launch it for several years, 45 minutes north of San Francisco by car. You may have heard the website ‘Blogger’, a blog website. Williams is already world-famous for selling Blogger, to Google. Systrom has been accepted for that internship. He takes the train into town every day, which is more exciting, with a high-quality whiskey bar and lives music.
At Odeo, he worked for a new engineer, Jack Dorsey (co-founder and the CEO of Twitter). Dorsey, age- 29, looked more like an artist for his anarchic tattoos and a nose ring. He dropped out of New York University. Sometimes, he used to dreams of becoming a tailor or you can say a dressmaker. He is an engineer, but only as a means to an end, creating something out of nothing with code. Also to be able to pay rent. And of course, he’s not one to know what to do with an intern.
#Funfact Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Kevin Systrom (Instagram), are the founders of the largest applications out there. They both started their journey in Odeo, which doesn’t exist anymore.
Neither Dorsey nor Systrom was hoping for a good relationship between both of them. But they became good friends with time. After the internship, Systrom worked to make some side money by pulling espresso shots at CaАé del Doge on University Avenue in Palo Alto. One day, Zuckerberg walked in, puzzled to find the student he’d tried to recruit working at a coАee shop. Even back then, the CEO wasn’t comfortable with rejection. He awkwardly ordered and moved on. It was the time when facebook.com became Facebook. Later the app adds a new feature where users can tag their friends in photos and videos. Systrom felt that he missed a good opportunity. At that time more than 5 million people were using Facebook. At that time, the team at Odeo was launching a new status update product, called Twttr, pronounced “Twitter,” with Dorsey as its CEO. And he missed another chance to join the early/fast team of Twitter. Most people never get the chance to join an iconic company in its early days. Sadly, Systrom squandered both of his.
However, after graduation, he managed to get a job at Google with a $60,000 paycheck. Founded in 1998, Google had started trading on public markets in 2004. The company cut off enough millionaires to lift Silicon Valley out of its chaos from the dot-com crash. When Systrom stepped in 2006, it had nearly 10,000 employees. There he was writing marketing copy for Gmail, where the team was trying to figure out how to get users their email faster. Their solution was creative, suppose a person wants to see his emails, now as soon as the person went to Gmail.com and started entering his/her username, Google would start downloading the data for her inbox while he/she typed in her password. Once that person clicked to log in, some of their emails would be ready to read, leading to a better user experience without requiring a faster internet connection.
Google was not interested in letting Systrom make some products (since he didn’t have a computer science degree as well). Soon he became so bored in writing marketing copies. It was the time when the Global Recession occurred in 2008. The U.S. economy fell into the crisis from a mortgage default. Systrom decided to move on!
Invention of Instagram
With all this Systrom had his introduction in how growth-driven Facebook was, how scrappy Twitter was, and how procedural and academic Google was at the age of 25. From outside of Silicon Valley, it looked like the companies run by geniuses. Where Systrom knows the leaders of the tech giants, how they think, how they work, what drives them. It was clear that everyone was vulnerable like he was, at this point, he was also ready to taste the same path.
He was ready to be an entrepreneur. Still, it would be risky if he starts anything without getting constant pay. So, he took a job as a product manager at a tiny startup called Nextstop that made a website for people to share their travel tips. In the meantime, on nights and weekends in cafes, he tried to build a new skill in making mobile apps. Systrom thought that what he lacked in some technical ability. He didn’t actually know how to make an app, only a mobile website. He asked one of his Stanford friends Gregor Hochmuth to teach him. With the help of Hochmuth, he built Dishd for people to rate meals instead of restaurants.
At the end of that year, Systrom built an app called ‘Burbn’. The website Burbn was perfect for Systrom’s urban social life. It allows people to say where they were, or where they planned to go so their friends could show up. Though he knew it was enough to enter the race of Silicon Valley app race, the website lack some features as users can’t add photos in it, they need to email them in.
As early as Jan 2010 he made up his mind and quit his day-to-day job in Nextstop. He used to work for his startup at Madrone Art Bar in San Francisco. The place used to be full of venture capitalists. Before there Caterina Fake co-founded Flickr, image storage and sharing platform or website. Later it got sold to Yahoo for $35 million in 2005.
Over cocktails, Systrom met with two major checkbooks VCs, Marc Andressen, co-founder of Netscape, and Steve Anderson, who originally ran a much quieter investment firm called Baseline Ventures. Anderson likes the fact that Systrom still doesn’t have an investor for its mobile app. Anderson loves Systrom’s personality. He told him, that he is interested in his idea but he usually doesn’t invest in solo founders. Systrom quickly realized that most investors did not invest in a single founder’s vision. He turned to his Stanford junior, Mike Krieger (@mikeyk). He wrote his doctoral thesis on Wikipedia which somehow grew a community of volunteers to update and edit its online encyclopedia.
Systrom always liked him. He is kind of a good-natured guy and most important Systrom knew that Mike was a much more experienced engineer than himself. Systrom approached him with the idea. Krieger, like Systrom, had had no idea he’d end up in the startup world. Mike accepted the proposal and they both started working hard on this app name “Burbn”. After they got an investment from Anderson somewhat they felt like they were working on a real company. He convinced both Anderson and Andreessen for a $250,000 investment each. All of a sudden they were ready to edge their idea with half a million dollar cash. After working day and night for few months they both realized that the startup wasn’t going anywhere. They need to change a lot before they ran out of cash. The app Burbn is all about prizes and to see what your friends are doing and you can join them. Systrom and Mike knew it wasn’t much different from some other apps that were existed at that time. They understood their app was fun but was it useful?
The founders took a whiteboard in one of Dogpatch Labs’ conference rooms and brainstormed what would form the basis of their overall leadership philosophy to “ask what problem they solved first and then try to solve it as quickly as possible the easiest way. They started with a list of the first three things people love about the Burbn.
And finally, the basic idea of Instagram came from excluding features from their original idea of Burbn. But the name “Instagram” didn’t exist until then. They knew they had to come up with a catchy name, a little more than Burbn. They borrowed a trick from Gmail, they also wanted to show a sense of speed in communicating. So they developed Instagram, a combination of Instant and Telegram.
The success of Instagram before the acquisition
Shortly thereafter, Systrom and his future wife Nicole Schutz, whom he met at Stanford, went on a short vacation. During one of his trips at sea, she warned him that she might not be using his new app. No good smartphone photos were good enough to post. Nicole was the first to suggest him adding filters to the app. Systrom realized she was right, anyway, people were going to use filters for their photos. Why not adding the features in the app itself. Mike and Systrom started working on this and soon they added the first-ever filter to the app X pro II.
#Funfact on July 16th, 2010 was the day when the first-ever photo was being posted in the app.
Still, they had no idea whether people is going to use and love their app or not. Later they hired Cole Rise on a contract basis to work and develop filters for their app.
#Fun fact– In that same Dogpatch Labs, late one night Systrom was working in the corner, and trying not to get distracted by the fact that was an entrepreneur pitch event going on. The pitch was given by Travis Kalanick, the co-founder and the former CEO of UberCabs. (In 2017 he had to resign as CEO for legal lawsuits on him).
In that same event, Chris Sacca was present. Sacca already had invested in Twitter and UberCab. He noticed Systrom coding in the corner. Sacca knew him from before when they both met in Google (when Systrom was working in Google). He thought at this time in the night if Systrom is working on something that must be new and huge.
Sacca approached him and Systrom explained everything without any hesitation. He knew how helpful Sacca can be. Sacca just had one doubt, in the end how big can photos be. It’s not the first time someone thought of an idea like this. Before also Sacca had invested in Photobucket, later that sold to New Corp media for $330 million. Flickr, another photo app that has been bought by Yahoo for $35 million. He used his Stanford exclusivity and said to him that he is only inviting 3 people including him. The other 2 investors were Jack Dorsey and Adam D’Angelo (co-founder and CEO of Quora).
With time Jack Dorsey became kind of a great salesman on Instagram. He was not upset to know that his investment was going to a different project than Burbn. Usually, founders pivot their products to avoid going out of the business. But that was not the case here. Personally, Jack loved the app. He used to post a lot on Instagram. Once he thought, why didn’t he get that idea for his app (Twitter)? Even Dorsey once asked Systrom if he would be open to twitter to acquire his company. Systrom sounded enthusiastic.
Dorsey became addicted to the app. Everything he used to post on Instagram, would immediately cross-post on Twitter (at that time he had 1.6 million followers on Twitter). And this was a head start for Instagram.
After the app was released to the public on October 6, 2010, it immediately went viral thanks to folks like Dorsey. It reached number one for the camera app in the App Store of Apple.
#Fun fact- At that time, Instagram only had one computer server that processed all activity remotely in a data center in Los Angeles.
On the first day, 25,000 people used Instagram. It crossed 1 lakh in its first week, and Systrom had the real experience of seeing strangers scrolling through apps on buses in San Francisco. Six weeks later they were at 2 million.
Hiring the first engineer at Instagram
With the rising success, Systrom and mike knew that they need to hire people, they need to create a team. But the problem with them as they were so picky or choosy at that time. They needed a person who can believe in the same vision, a person they can trust. And mostly they needed help, when people couldn’t remember their passwords or needed to change their usernames, there was no solution within the app. Systrom was just responding to user’s tweets and giving out his own email address. But he knew this was not the way to do that. That was unsustainable.
Shayne Sweeney (@shayne), the name of the first engineer, they hired. Systrom knew him from before. Sweeney was the man who teach him Apple operating system, showing him how to build the iPhone’s camera functionality into Instagram so that people could take pictures inside the app.
Shayne Sweeney, a 25-year-old boy, who was coding since he was a teenager. Previously he helped several web startups (to help them he used to skip college classes). Few facts to understand him- Once, a music venue told Sweeney that he need to check his laptop bag at the front before going inside and guess what he choose not to go to the concert. He was so busy he forgot for an entire month to message the girl he was dating. Finally, when he remembered to get in touch and apologize to her, she had already moved on.
The Story of Instagram Acquisition
Suddenly one day at the night of the month of April 2012, the CEO asked the whole team to meet him on the next day at 8 o clock in the morning. And that shocked the team because he never asked the whole team to meet in the morning. When finally everyone arrived in the office on next day, Systrom was already there waiting for them. He stood there in front of everybody and simply said,-
“So over the weekend, we had some conversations about a potential acquisition, I talked to Mark Zuckerberg, We said yes to Facebook. We’re getting bought for $1 billion.”
There was a mixed feeling around the office, but $1 billion, was a magical number that no company bought recently a mobile application for this much amount. Instagram raises its bar in the race the last time was YouTube was bought by Google for $1.6 billion.
And he said he and Mike will go to the Facebook office to meet the management, and asked his teammates to call their families, within 30 minutes the news was going to be public.
That morning after the deal was public users of Instagram has different concerns with this deal. ‘What if Facebook dissolves the app, what if they make it a news feed, or fill up with the scraps.’ apart from these facebook will get all their data, which is another concern for the users. Facebook has always been in the news for the concerns over the user’s database. To clarify all these things, Mark and Systrom made a statement publically, Instagram isn’t going away, and Facebook is not dissolving it. And Instagram will continue to work in an independent way.
#Funfact User no. 19 Chris Messina created the concept of hashtags on Instagram. Today it is everywhere.
Till 2018 Kevin Systrom served as the CEO of Instagram. Later Adam Mosseri became the head of the team. Mike Krieger also left the company in the same year after serving as head engineer for 8 years. We’ll talk about it in detail in the later part of this article. Check details on the official page.
Above the information, most of us know. But how this all happened, he did Mark convinced Systrom? How the valuation of $1 billion came?
This all started in the first week of April. Mark called him and asked to meet, he said, he wants to buy Instagram. Systrom panicked and call his board members, Cohler, Anderson. Of course, no one will say no to Mark Zuckerberg. Anderson simply said, “If the current king of the internet wants to meet you, why not meet the king? And you just raised money. A lot of money.”
Before that, there was a fundraiser going on at Instagram for $500 million. Even Twitter was there in the list of those who wants to acquire Instagram. When Zuckerberg heard the news he knew this tiny little company can become a big threat in the future. He just had 2 options, either his engineer will build something more entertaining than Instagram or he will have to buy the company. He had to choose the 2nd option, as his company (Facebook) is near to the Initial Public Offering and Instagram has already loaded with millions of users.
#Funfact– In Japan, there is a word for Instagrammable design movement: Insta-bae (イ ン ス タ 映 え), pronounced “Insta-bye-eh.” The more Insta-bae something is, whether it’s an outfit or a sandwich, the more socially and commercially successful it has the potential to be.
He simply gave an offer that Systrom can’t refuse. The magical number is $1 billion. And precisely he gave two reasons for that one, whatever the valuation Systrom was currently getting that is 500 million dollars, Mark said he would give double and second, He said Instagram has one percent user currently as compared to Facebook, facebook current valuation stood at that time was $100 billion. So, $1 billion.
Who actually won the game in acquisition?
Facebook always has this simple strategy: “Domination“. Mark always wanted to build or to have the most efficient social media, communication platforms out there.
Rejection from Snapchat-
Kevin Systrom’s Instagram was not only the platform that Zuckerberg was looking to buy. At the same time, Zuckerberg was trying to convince another founder of a rising platform. Evan Spiegel, the co-founder and the CEO of Snap Inc. or Snapchat. Mark was looking to acquire Snapchat as well. Even Facebook offered $3 billion to buy the company. Snapchat rejected the offer. Facebook didn’t want to stop, they were waiting for the next big thing, and they wanted to grow more.
#Fact There was a time when Emily White (One of the key people at Instagram) joined Snapchat as COO, the news rattled Systrom’s confidence. Not only Systrom, but Mark also felt a little uncomfortable with the news. Systrom and Emily had quite a good brainstorming session together. She knew how Systrom thinks. Even after this Systrom stopped Q&A meetings with staff for a while.
His next target was WhatsApp. At that time WhatsApp had 450 million monthly users all over the world. After the failure with Snapchat, Mark thought to do it in a different way. Zuckerberg asked Systrom to help acquire the app. Systrom met with Jan Koum the CEO of WhatsApp in early 2014. They both had a sushi dinner. Koum explained to Systrom about his visions, how he is creating end-to-end encrypted messenger. And this was a unique idea. Every user would love to use what Systrom knew. And how much Mark would want to buy that idea also he knew. So he gave it all, he said enough to convince Jan Koum.
And when finally the deal was announced everyone was shocked including the team of Instagram and…..Kevin Systrom. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion.
Now the question is, what if Kevin would wait a little more, what if he would let his idea grow more before Facebook bought Instagram. How much more Mark would pay to buy Instagram $1.3 billion, $1.5 billion, $2billion, or $5billion?
Early privacy concerns
In Dec 2012, Instagram faced another crisis. It was the time when they didn’t have any lawyers in the team. The company took a few things for granted, as only the product matters. But when you are growing exponentially you need to look after a lot of things, especially your users/customer/ subscribers privacy. As they didn’t have any lawyers, their first ‘terms of services’ made some issues. How they did it is simply copied and pasted some boilerplate language from the internet, and then edited it to be Instagram specific until it looked right. Neither Kevin nor Mike read that carefully. But media read it,- When CNET posted the news with the headline “Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos” or the Guardian’s news “Facebook forces Instagram users to allow it to sell their uploaded photos,” it made the user worry to use Instagram. Users started deleting Instagram. The (hashtag) #deleteinstagram started trending on Twitter.
Certainly, it sounded true as Instagram didn’t have a clear business model in terms of profit generation (at that time it was clear that insta will not show you ads). So users thought they may make a profit by selling user’s data. Facebook acquisition made it more clear the idea of data selling, Facebook did have that kind of reputation even then. This all was making users angrier.
After all this, Kevin Systrom wrote the first-ever apology blog. Where he explained, the languages in the ‘Terms of Services’ were unintentionally confusing and would be removed. And he mentioned, “Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos, we respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos and we respect that your photos are your photos.” After publishing the apology post, and the quick changes in ‘Terms of Services‘ made Instagram return back to the growth path, and the deletion of insta by the users stopped immediately.
2014-2015 Turning a new chapter.
Since the acquisition, the app has worked well. Users were increasing every month. Kevin thought it would be a good idea to add ads on the app to make some revenue in order to prove Mark’s idea of buying insta was profitable. He pitched the idea to Mark. But Mark rejected it at first, by saying it would be early to do that. It’s time to focus on growth only. Systrom thought he was right, it’s time to make the app best.
Soon in the mid-end of 2013, Mark thought it was time to gain some value of acquisition from Instagram. He talked with the Insta team and said to work on this. Systrom and Mike thought it would be bad to add advertising on the website right now when they were already working on some new features to add. Systrom tried to convince, he said adding advertise before Christmas will make users more boring, they will not get a good time to test that. Mark Convinced.
As early as Jan 2014 Mark said it is the time to go. Systrom didn’t want to show advertise till then but Zuckerberg has made his mind. Instagram published their first-ever advertisement. It went well. Systrom thought what the best he could do id to check every ad personally, their graphics spam looking banners, and he used to change those minor things by himself that can look bad in his app. But this became a slow process for Facebook.
He asked Systrom to increase the frequency of Instagram ads or the number of advertisers, but above all, it is no longer so valuable for the quality of micromanagement. Zuckerberg knows the potential of Instagram. All Instagram has to do is get involved and boom, they’ll have a billion-dollar business. Zuckerberg estimates they could hit $1 billion in sales by 2015. Systrom was a little suspicious of this move, knowing that if he made a bad move, he could destroy the brand Instagram had built.
But things were going well. Insta ads became attractive for small-mid -large companies. When a company couldn’t afford the price to place an ad directly by contacting insta, they picked influencers to show or promote that brand’s product to their followers. This Idea also worked out well.
Apart from Systrom’s cautiousness, everything was going well. By the end of 2015, 50% of youth were using Instagram. From this time onwards the company didn’t have to think much about filters, Phone camera has improved a lot over time.
The End of an Era
There was something strange that happened in late 2015. There was/is/will be a work culture in every organization. Facebook headquarters is optimized for technical performance. Food is free, gourmet and plentiful, and served in themed cafes less than five minutes’ walk from each office. When the employee returns to the keyboard and finishes breakfast, there will be no interruptions in their focus. Even everyone has small trash can at their feet, or under their desks so that if they want to through any garbage, they can use that trash can. Somehow Systrom didn’t like that idea.
Systrom tells his staff that Instagram is a craft, beauty, simplicity, and creativity that the office also needs to reflect. So the trash can isn’t going to help his idea of his dream office. It was time for the office to imagine who they were. Facebook covered its walls with printed motivational posters like “Getting done is better than perfect” and “Move quickly and break things”, which is the opposite of celebrating crafts. Last year, in 2014, Systrom dropped some of them in a rare display of emotion on Instagram’s micro kitchen. He then spent millions renovating spaces, specifically his own conference room called South Park, after the company’s initial offices. Employees don’t believe this is a productive way to do their jobs. This is impractical and seems like a distraction from what they need to focus on their competition. For them, this is a demonstration of the highest value, expressing Systrom’s opinion about the product itself.
After all, the strange thing happened when employees did what twenty-something-year-olds do when they feel uncomfortable, they memed it, calling it #trashcangate, or #binghazi. When Systrom went overseas to meet celebrities for meetings and deliver any packages to the office, they congregated outside his South Park room, where staff took pictures of them and laughed ironically. One employee even disguised himself as a trash can for Halloween. In the end, they were really upsetting.
Another issue occurred in Systrom’s journey when they needed to fight back with data. A debate about whether Instagram threatens Facebook’s dominance or not has begun between the two management teams, especially when it comes to hiring. Instagram can’t just go out and pick the people they need. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger had to make a detailed analysis of an employee and that has to show to Mark Zuckerberg, and only he can decide if the headcount is worth it. Systrom never liked that, so it didn’t get the independence it needed to run the company smoothly.
In 2018, when Instagram was working on IGTV, they needed new experience sources or employees. Mark allowed only 68 people, they can hire. That number was not going to help Systrom. It’s just going to increase only by 8 percent. Kevin knew they weren’t adding people nearly as quickly as the app was growing. Soon the app was going to touch 1 billion user marks. He spoke with Brendan Iribe the CEO of the Oculus virtual reality division that Facebook had acquired for $2.2 billion in 2014. When System asked, how many employees Oculus was working currently the number was more than 600. Systrom is Shocked to know that where he is giving the return of around $10 billion to Facebook, which is way more than Oculus. But he is getting fewer sources. Why?
Kevin will, the man who was hired by Systrom from Twitter, was transferred to the cryptocurrency division of Facebook LIBRA. That was the time when the breaking news came about the Facebook data breach, – “Cambridge Analytica“. Kevin and Mike thought during all this if tensions with Zuckerberg escalate or they get tired of exploring politics with Facebook, they need to train someone they can trust who can advocate for Instagram with Facebook. They recruit Adam Mosseri, one of the top leaders in the Facebook department.
This is very evident when In Zuckerberg’s mega-network plan, Instagram should focus on finding users other than Facebook. And now that Instagram is growing faster than Facebook in sales and user count, it was decided it was time to take the wheels off completely. That summer, Zuckerberg directed Facebook’s head of growth Javier Olivan to compile a list of all the ways Facebook’s apps power Instagram. And then he ordered the support device to be turned off. Instagram is also no longer allowed to do free action on the Facebook news channel. This feature is used to bring a steady stream of new users to Instagram.
And… Kevin Systrom felt punished for Instagram’s success.
At the end of 2018, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned. When they announced within a minute the story was everywhere. New York Times: “Instagram’s Co-Founders to Step Down from Company.”
Mosseri became the “Head of Instagram”.
Kevin always wanted Instagram to be as successful as Facebook. He never liked if the product need to be compromised a bit for revenue. But he knew the way Instagram was growing he can’t have both. Mark made that clear to him for the advertisement business.
As Mark Zuckerberg believes, “Where there is a growing network, Advertise business will follow”. And he proved it.
May 21, 2018, remains the last date that he posted any photo on Instagram. Last letter Kevin wrote to all the members of the company and as well as for the users of Instagram.
Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six
years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people to over
a thousand with offices around the world, all while building
products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re
now ready for our next chapter.
We’re planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity
and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back,
understand what inspires us and match that with what the world
needs; that’s what we plan to do.
We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in
the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a
billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and
extraordinary companies do next
—- —- —-
Interesting Stories of Celebs related to Instagram
Kylie Jenner (Journey of the first-ever billionaire using Instagram)
Instagram has fueled so many careers and even celebrity empires, one of the best examples is this one. Kris Jenner, American Businesswoman, producer, and media personality she became famous with the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. But that’s not the story, the main story is how she and her family became rich by brand promotion cycle. Once she said, she wakes up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. daily in her home, palatial Hidden Hills, California, and checks Instagram before she does anything else. So what’s the story?
Today, she and her children represent dozens of brands between them, including Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Stuart Weitzman, but are also launching their own makeup and beauty lines. The family’s five sisters—Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, and Kourtney Kardashian, have a combined reach of more than half a billion followers.
How this all started?
Kris Jenner recalls, long ago one day when first time Kylie asked if it was okay to start a lipstick business, just through her Instagram feed, without any physical product in stores. kris replied that she needs to choose just three colors, whether people will love it or else she needs to wear that for the rest of her life. And guess what after she posted the first link the entire items were sold out within a sec, first they both thought insta got crashed. But, it wasn’t. Kris realized whatever her daughter Kylie would post people are going to love that. As expected over the next few months, whenever Kylie would announce on her Instagram that new products were coming, there would be more than 1 lakh people waiting for those to drop on her website.
At the age of 21, Kylie Jenner (@Kyliejenner) became the youngest “self-made” billionaire ever, declared by Forbes.
#Funfact- In 2018, when Forbes published a story putting Kylie’s net worth at $900 million just a little low from $1billion, Josh Ostrovsky, the owner of the popular account @thefatjewish told his followers to donate to a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100 million for Kylie. “I don’t want to live in a world where Kylie Jenner doesn’t have a billion dollars,” he wrote in his caption.
Issues before becoming a billionaire
At the age of 17, Kylie was embroiled in controversy because of a viral challenge. The sultry pouts featured in her Instagram selfies were inspiring young girls to try a dangerous body hack by putting their lips inside the mouth of a shot glass and then sucking, in order to create enough pressure and swelling to plump them up like Kylie’s. Later she had to reveal that she used temporary cosmetic fillers to achieve the effect. Again it was spurring several more news cycles.
Then she remembered when the team of Instagram told her family that if ever they need help related to any project on Instagram they would help. After she contacted insta, Liz Perle, the head of teens, came up with an idea of how Instagram could use the controversy as an opening to deliver more positive messages. The idea was to pick a bunch of accounts who had been vocal about their various body-related concerns. Kylie did take interviews with them personally and people started appreciating it more.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez
Back in summer 2011, Instagram just crossed the 6 million users’ mark, where Twitter had around 100 million monthly users and Facebook had more than 800 million. Co-founder Mike used to carry his laptop during that time, he used to take his laptop to restaurants, malls even to the bars, to check whether there is any issue in the app, any user complaints. He set up an alarm on his laptop so that whenever this kind of notification would come he would get an alarm. During that summer in 2011, Mike got an alarm and it was because a 17-year-old pop star joined Instagram, Justin Bieber (@justinbieber). He then had 11 million followers on Twitter already. When he posted his first photo on insta and shared that on Twitter, suddenly there was huge traffic on the server. Bieber was getting 50 followers per minute.
“Justin Bieber Joins Instagram, World Explodes,” Time magazine reported.
Scooter Braun, Bieber’s manager, knew Bieber from 2006. Back then Justin wasn’t that famous. In 2011, Justin was one of the most famous celebrities on the internet. Braun thought he couldn’t take any advantage of Twitter or Facebook but he can make some from Instagram. He reached to Systrom and proposed his deal,” Kevin, I’ve got Justin on the line, let Bieber invest, or pay him for his content. Or else he’ll stop using Instagram.” It was just a few months since the app was born. Systrom had his clear vision that he will not be paying anyone for their content as he wants everyone to come there and had fun. He didn’t want to use the app for commercial purposes. So he said no. But Justin Bieber loved the app to use even his girlfriend Selena Gomez (@selenagomez). Bieber immediately returned to the app and continued to overload Instagram’s infrastructure to such an extent that the company had to set aside half the servers for his account activity only. There was a time when the founders needed a designer for their app. During the meeting to hire their ninth employee Tim Van Damme, the server crashed again. Again because Justin Bieber had posted.
The name is popular today to all of us, as an actor, TV star, entrepreneur, investor, and even as a producer. He did work as a Lenovo product engineer in Lenovo Ltd for its yoga line tablet (no update if he still works there or not). But he was also so popular on the internet. In 2009 he became the first person to have 1 million followers on Twitter. He started learning new staff especially techs. Eventually, he became more interested with time.
His partner in the investment journey was Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager, to sort through all the opportunities to invest in valuable startups. Both decided to take a look on Instagram as it was rapidly. They knew It’s a competition for attention, all learned the value of this concept from Twitter and Facebook. Now they wanted to invest.
First, they struggled to get a meeting, then got a chance to visit the South Park office (Instagram office at that time). In a very first sentence, Systrom made it clear to them that he wasn’t looking for any new investors, though he would like to explain to them what Instagram is all about. That meeting went a little on and off. Kutcher thought, he has a great idea with less flexibility.
Later, he invited Systrom via a mutual friend Joshua Kushner, with a couple of tech founders. There was the way Systrom handled everyone, Kutcher knew he is a great leader. Eventually, they became good friends with time and Kutcher would later help Instagram build more credibility in the entertainment industry.
At the same time, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseari invested $500,000 in Uber, a bet that is now worth 100 times. It would be easy to withdraw this as a lucky bet. But this isn’t a single one that turned out to be a fortune for them. Kutcher and Oseary’s portfolio of over 70 investments includes Uber – Skype, Airbnb, Spotify, Pinterest, Shazam, Warby Parker – with valuable start-ups like Zenefits and Flexport still growing.
Within six years in 2016, they turned $30 million into $250 million.