Nov 25, 2021

Instagram Founder - Systrom Wisdom

Tommy and I came across an interview with the founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom. and as the title suggested it was filled with wisdom. You can listen to it in full here.

Some of the things we were struck by was how well he sees the world - not just the technology side of things, but the human side of things. These two elements can't be separated - they are in essence the same interaction. A couple of the insights we found compelling were:

The Data Doesn't Lie: Have some metrics that matter - and rely on them. There is an art to this, they can't be vanity metrics, and you can't have too many. Just a few key ones which measure traction. It's a bit like flaying a plane - you might keep an eye on altitude, air speed, radar, and attitude - make sure they are all humming. But you need to fly the plane too - you can't be looking at every instrument in the cockpit all the time - or you'll crash.

Product Market Fit Matters: If your product market fit is right, and no one else really has that, users or customers will tolerate many other imperfections. On the flip side if you space have many offers with good product market fit, you can't have as many things which need fixed. This reminds me of the Wave Pool in Melbourne I surf at. The website kinda sucks - has glitches all the time to book surfs (I've spoken to them about it too) - but they have an incredible product and the only one of its kind in Australia - perfect product market fit - so customers - including me put up with some of the 'work in progress'.

Do less: There are usually a few key killer features which bring people back, be expert in those, and do them well - people will notice. A product which doest everything most often ends up serving no one. A product for everything, is a product for nothing.

Embrace Imperfections: Constraints make you more creative. The original instagram pics were all square because it was easier for them to make it that way. The filters were also an artistic way to get around early  iPhone cameras being kinda crappy.

Get your ears on this interview - We learned a lot. and while we are on the topic - I reckon Meta would be a far better and human business if he was running it and not Mark Zuckerberg!

Steve (& Tommy)