I’ve been a big fan of the iPhone photo app Instagram for the past six months — it’s fun to take photos, make a quick comment, and then automatically upload the photos (with GPS coordinates) to my favorite social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and the usual suspects. So it was with great interest that I heard the news this week that Instagram was acquired by Facebook for a cool $1 billion. Not bad for an iPhone app.
This news piqued my curiosity: Who is the guy or gal who devised this particular bit of software, and how did he or she turn it from just another app — into something that Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t resist?
Well, as it turns out, the Los Angeles Times ran an article last summer that answers these questions and more. If you don’t have time to read the full article, here it is in a nutshell:
Love what you do: Instagram grew out of Systrom’s passion for photography. He’s been a shutterbug since he was a kid.
Go where the action is: Systrom grew up outside Boston, but he got himself to Silicon Valley. He attended Stanford. He worked at Google. And he networked with technology luminaries. They included Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who invested in Instagram, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who just bought it.
Get celebs to use it: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, rapper Snoop Dogg and singer Justin Bieber are avid fans. Brands such as Kate Spade, Red Bull and Starbucks also use the service.
Eat molé: OK, that might not make you rich, but it will sure make you happy. In his rare free time, Systrom said he likes to prepare this Mexican specialty with his girlfriend. "Cooking is essentially a social activity," he said. "It’s also very analog. It has nothing to do with tech."
So, will you launch the next Instagram? Eat your mole every day, and you just might.