The story of Instagram’s explosive rise reads like a Silicon Valley fairy tale, with the company gaining staggering momentum within just a few short months.
Around 10 years ago Instagram was launched. As it first came to the Apple app store, the app was accompanied by a brief statement outlining what the product can do: to make mobile photographs simple and beautiful. This is hardly any evidence of an app that would be embraced by the most powerful, famous people in the world, be priced at a billion dollars, and change the way people see photographs.
A decade ago, Instagram was developed in the US by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Systrom was a marketing guy, who at nights learned how to code. He soon came up with his own app called Burbn. An app that would enable users to check-in their location.
Soon at a party, meeting his friends working from VC firms, Systrom got them to discuss Burbn. After his first meeting, he quit his job, and just two weeks from then he raised $500,000 from those firms.
Now was the time to hire a team and Mike Krieger was the first to fall in. This app was no different than other apps in the market, so they decided to pivot their model to ‘communication with images’. They stripped the app of all features except uploading photos, commenting, and liking it. And so it was called Instagram as people were sending a sort of instant telegram.
Kevin Systrom's shared first photograph of a stray dog sitting near a taco stand in Mexico is the first image ever shared on Instagram. The app's co-founder captioned it 'test', and uploaded it a few months before his idea was launched to the public on October 6, 2010.
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From a handful of users, it soon went on becoming the number one photography app making over 100,000 users in just one week and then increasing it to a million in 2 months. According to Systrom, the app only took 8 weeks to build and was soon acquired by Facebook at a billion in 2012. basically, Facebook made an offer to purchase Instagram for about $ 1 billion in cash and stock, with the key provision that the company would remain independently managed. Shortly thereafter and just prior to its initial public offering, Facebook acquired the company for the whopping sum of $ 1 billion in cash and stock. After the Facebook acquisition, the Instagram founders have done little to change the user phase, sticking to the simplicity of the app. The astounding rise of Instagram’s popularity proves that people believe in real connections rather than those based on only words.
On September 24, 2018, it was announced that Systrom resigned from Instagram and would be leaving in a few weeks.
There are several cases where people quit their job to start their own business and end up with a bad career and a failed startup. But there have been cases where they’ve succeeded too. The point here is to be careful and know when to quit your job. Systrom didn’t quit his job until the first meeting and he raised half a million dollars just 2 weeks later.
As of this year, the most followed person on the photo-sharing app is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. He is the most-followed person on the photo-sharing app platform with more than 239 million followers. Instagram's own account was ranked first with over 369 million followers. #Instagram is the world's fourth most-downloaded app.