5th May 2020 - 14:17:15 - 1854 characters

Notes From Kevin Systrom of Instagram on Seizing the "Aha" Moment:

The improving camera in the mobile phone represented a new opportunity in the field to redefine social media. People were taking more and more photos, everyone had a phone in their pocket, so it was inevitably new opportunities would arise - they just had to differentiate themselves to compete against the big companies.

Instagram escaped from Burbn and avoided being held hostage by their initial consumers. They tested a product, learned from their experiment, and then destroyed it to create something new.

The key differentiators for Instagram: limited format (square photos), instant upload (compensating for slow upload and slow apps at the time), filters (compensating for low quality cameras at that time), distribution ("One Ring to rule them all" would upload their photos to multiple social media sites).

Figure out a compelling reason for the consumer to help you grow virally that's the best strategy

The exercise used to reach these key differentiators:

  • what do people most love about the existing products in our field
  • what do people hate about the existing products in our field

Systrom notes that there is no single way to use a social network. The way he uses it is entirely separate to how teens use it and so on. Every single day he is surprised by how people use Instagram. Provide the fundamental tools and let people use them to create their art.

The Instagram team were also effective at high scalability with a small team, hitting only 13 engineers when acquired by Facebook, and grew to 14 million users in just over a year.