Instagram’s Kevin Systrom

on Starting a Small Business

“Instagram is a photo social network on your iPhone that turns your mobile photos into beautiful works of art through hand-crafted filters. We launched in October of 2010 and since have grown to over 15 million users who in aggregate share nearly 60 photos a second.”

Kevin’s Tips:

  • Pick a great team. People are everything and will make or break your business. Find the people you respect most and work with them—be relentless about creating an amazing team.
  • Solve problems. Start with solving a problem instead of having a technology and then searching for problems it might solve. When you create a problem driven business your roadmap dictates itself.
  • Build only what you need to prove that you can succeed. Create the minimum you can in order to test the hypothesis of whether your business will succeed or not. Polish, and bells and whistles are great, but if you focus on answering whether your fundamental assumptions are correct, you’ll be much better off in the long run.
  • Failure is part of the process. In many ways, you should fail your way to success. Nobody gets it right the first time, so fail quickly and fail often and learn from each of the steps in order to create a winning strategy.

I wish I had known…

There’s a big difference between building a product and building a company. Many people in Silicon Valley start off by wanting to build a product without realizing that the key is to be able to build a company.

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