Instagram not interesting

Great photo-sharing app, dull founders


The 27-million users of the photo-sharing app Instagram use it because of its social networking function, not the gorgeous, high-end photos it takes.

That’s a head scratching comment, for sure. Not just because Instagram’s cool photo filters are its most likable, appealing feature, but because it came from cofounder Kevin Systrom.

He and fellow Instragram brain-trust Mike Krieger took the main stage at SXSWi to say a whole lot of other confusing and/or useless points about their app and its exploding popularity.

Right now, Instagram has more users than Foursquare and any other photo-sharing app, and it’s just on iPhone. On its first day in the iTunes store, it had 25,000 users. In under 18 months, 15 million people were using it.

How did that happen?

People bought a lot of iPhones, Systrom said. And Instagram won iPhone App of the Year.

OK, how did you scale your business for the rush of users that arrived out of nowhere?

We switched to Amazon servers, said Systrom. And during our server migration, we drank Red Bull and Doritos.

Basically anything TechCrunch goddess Alexis Tsotis asked, including some great questions about Instagram’s suspect $500 million valuation, were treated with similarly flat responses.

Disappointing for the single biggest mobile success story of the past few years.

There were a few bright spots in the interview, but those were mostly watching the founders dodge questions about their company’s business plan, value and funding.

Overall, the on-stage interview seemed like a vehicle to announce that Instagram is coming to Android. “One of the best Android apps you’ll ever see,” according to the guys who built it.

Next time, just send out a press release.

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