Displaying results for "Facebook"
I woke up to this post this morning by Jenna Wortham saying Facebook had acquired Instagram for $1 Billion.
My initial response was that my jaw-dropped: 1 Billion? It was only a month ago that estimated valuations were half that, and not long before that Instagram was still running on $7.5 Million funding. So in a matter of a few months, Instagram has gone from a team of 10 people working in Twitter’s old conference room to being acquired for a billions dollars. Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong: I think Facebook is an extremely capable company. I admire Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to run it so well. But I just can’t help but think that in the long run, this is going to ruin the Instagram experience. As a photographer and appreciator of aesthetics, I loved that Instagram was the one social network where people told stories of their lives 100% visually. When I went to NYC, I documented my favorite moments (and views) on Instagram. When I went home for spring break, Instagram’s photo filters helped me illustrate how wonderful it was to be home. There was something quaint, beautiful and intimate about the service. It enabled people to tell share their life moments artistically.
I think part of the reason why I’m disappointed that they sold so early is because I knew how small the Instagram team was. This knowledge perpetuated the intimacy of the service and served as a model for a startup in my favorite stage - successful and growing, but with the team minimal and tightly-knit. They were growing fast (in users) but taking their time growing their team. It was a great startup success story. I suppose you could argue that their acquisition is a culmination of just how successful they are. But I’m going to miss the old idea of Instagram as a small team of workers devoted to minimalism and simplicity. I hope they can remain a bastion of this simplicity in their new 3,000+ person company.
I like that the NYTimes used the word “dream” here. I think no other word communicates the amount of idealism and motivation (to reach that ideal) that seems to be ubiquitous in the Silicon Valley and other tech circles outside of it. This idealism is what draws me to the field in the first place. People in technology startups are, for the most part, refreshingly uninhibited by the suppression of the status quo. As Steve Jobs said:
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
This dogma is the framework outside of which the tech community works. I suppose it’s silly to note that the very definition of technology implies progress outside of the status quo - a level of attainment that surpasses current capabilities of humanity and its present instruments and utilities. This article emphasizes that there is a place out there for the dreamers, the people who are willing to work hard to make a vision a reality. I hope that I can look back at pieces like this and Jobs’ Stanford speech every time I second-guess my ambition to found a company of my own. These people do good work, push boundaries and witness profound results. We should all want to do that in whatever job we seek.