I've read Sarah Frier's "No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram" and *really* enjoyed it.
The book gives an account of Instagram's story between the initial idea (the check-in app 'burbn'), and the resignation of CEO Kevin Systrom in 2018.I'm impressed by how the book explores the 'Instagram DNA', which often clashes with #facebook 's own prinicples.
I'll post a thread with some key aspects and quotes.
Kevin Systrom, before founding Instagram, had graduated from Stanford, interned at Odeo (which later became #twitter) with Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey, and personally declined an offer from Zuckerberg to work on #facebook before it was big. He insead decided to work at #google:
"Most people never get the chance to join an iconic company in its early days. Systrom squandered both of his, choosing instead to do something much less risky."
On #facebook company culture:
"It was the culture that drove homepage leader Marissa Mayer, who later became CEO of Yahoo!, to famously test 41 shades of blue to figure out what color would give the company’s hyperlinks the highest click-through rate.. A slightly purpler blue shade won out over slightly greener shades, helping boost revenue by $200 million a year."
Again, on how well connected Kevin Systrom was early on:
"By age 25 Systrom had received an introduction to how growth-driven Facebook was, how scrappy Twitter was, and how procedural and academic Google was."
This reminds me a lot of what I read about other 'successful' people. They don't follow the "dishwasher to millionaire" route, but start out with heavy advantages.
About the woman who started a popular #instagram account for her dog:
"Her friends warned her about what was coming before she realized it: she would have to quit her job at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and run her dog’s account full-time."
What a world we live in.
"Twenty of the top Viners banded together to negotiate with Twitter, saying that for about $1 million each, they would post every day for the next six months. If Twitter rejected the deal, they would instead start posting Vines to tell followers to find them on Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat instead. Twitter refused, the stars abandoned the app, and eventually, Vine shut down entirely."
Instagram blatantly copied the #snapchat Stories idea, and openly admitted it:
"Systrom had told his communications team that he would acknowledge to the press that the Stories format was a Snapchat invention that Instagram had copied, and that was why they had the same name. (“You’re going to do WHAT?” Facebook PR head Caryn Marooney exclaimed."
The feature was hugely popular, and relieved some of the pressure for a beautiful life for its users.
Instagram: 1 billion USD
WhatsApp: 19 billion USD
"there were suddenly no more doubts about whether Instagram was worth $1 billion to Facebook. Instead, Systrom was getting constant questions—from the media, from his peers in the industry, from everyone—about whether he’d sold too soon."
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