Thursday, April 12, 2012

Instagram


Instagram is the latest mobile app that's making a new wave  in the social networking world today. Since its launch in October 2010 at Apple's App store, this photo sharing and filtering app for iphone has gone a long way with more than 13 million downloads recorded already. What made the success of instagram very amazing is that, the founders had never spent a single cent marketing this app. Today, Instagram has 30 million users.

Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it and then share it to social networking sites. Initially supported on iphone, ipad and ipod touch, the company added support since April 2012 for android camera phones. What's great with this app is its very unique way of taking and uploading photos--faster than the iphone app of facebook which has six screens to go through, but with instagram, there's only one. This fresh and exciting feature made instagram a potential threat to Facebook, but Mark Zuckeberg of course, could not allow this to happen, so he made a very clever plan to erase the competition.

He immediately announced a very surprising news:

"I'm excited to share the news that we've agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook. For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we'll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagram on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.
These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram's experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook's strong engineering team and infrastructure.
This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in cash and in stock on April 12, 2012, making its 28-year-old co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, one of Facebook's top executives now. Before the acquisition, Instagram has 13 employees and operated in San Francisco, California. 

Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram focuses its multi-featured HTML5 check-in project Burbn on mobile photography. In January 2011, Instagram added hashtags (a form of metadata tag) to help users discover and connect with each other through photos. On the following month, Twitter's co-founder, Jack Dorsey, made his investment in Instagram.
Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram. A passionate photographer who has no formal training in programming before he created the prototype of Burbn (an HTML5-based location sharing service) the focus of Instagram.

But did you know that Kevin Systrom has no formal training in programming? He obtained a bachelor of science degree in management science and engineering at Stanford University.

According to Business Insider, Systrom's training was on marketing. When he was working in the marketing department of Nextstop (acquired also by Facebook for $2.5 million in cash in September 2010), he would spend time learning how to code. He is also a passionate photographer which explains why the concept of Instagram was born.

He said " While I was at Nextstop, I started doing more and more engineering works on simple ideas that helped me learn how to program. One of these ideas was combining elements of foursquare with elements of Mafia Wars (in which the name Burbn was taken). I figured, I could build a prototype of the idea of HTML5 and get it to some friends.....I decided to make the dive and leave my job to go solo and see if Burbn could be a company, within two weeks of leaving, I raised $500, 000 and started work on finding a team"

Now, Systrom is worth $400 million with 40% stake in Instagram's sale to Facebook. Asked about why Instagram easily invaded the world of technology, Systrom said "We took a very basic action that everyone does in the world, taking a photo and put some meaning behind it, some reason behind it. The reason is suddenly all your friends can see that photo immediately, in an instant. But also we make the photo more beautiful".

Kevin Systrom spent his internship at Odeo (a podcasting service) and worked for two years at Google as a Corporate Development Associate on which he worked directly with Gmail and Google reader. He joined Nextstop as a Product Manager three years later.

He also admitted he love photography. In an interview with Business Insider, he revealed this passion "I was a photographer before I was a programmer, if you go on to my flickr page, you'll see a photo that looks like an instagram photo. I've always been into taking my photos, cropping them square, putting them through a filter in photoshop". Read the full interview of Business Insider with Kevin Systrom HERE.

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