Before being listed as one of Fortune’s “40-under-40”, he had already brushed arms with some of the most prominent internet ventures of the last 10 years. He turned down an opportunity to work with Mark Zuckerberg during the early days of Facebook, was an intern at the company that became Twitter, and spent some time behind the walls of Google helping to develop some of their trademark products, like Gmail.
It was perhaps only a matter of time.
Systrom’s startup model for Instagram was simple: a constrained, mobile-first picture app. His idea would eventually take him full circle as Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. The Stanford alum has this to say about entrepreneurship:
“If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100% from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.”
“Great products sell themselves.”
“Every startup should address a real and demonstrated need in the world. If you build a solution to a problem lots of people have, it’s so easy to sell your product to the world.”
“Most of the companies I interact with worry more about getting something that works with consumers, because if you don’t get consumers no one will want to advertise with you. If we were to just build a product for advertisers we would have no consumers.”
“I think not focusing on money makes you sane because in the long run it can probably drive you crazy.”
“When people say that college isn’t worthwhile and paying all this money isn’t worthwhile, I really disagree. I think those experiences and those classes that may not necessarily seem applicable in the moment end up coming back to you time and time again.”
“I’m always in awe of people who are artists in their fields – people who understand that simply by taking ideas and translating them into reality, they’ve created value in the world.”
—Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram