The old Instagram is dead.
The titan’s founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, left the company in September of this year. The platform will now be run by longtime Facebook vet Adam Mosseri.
Normally, the departure of your founding executives would seem reason to pull a company fire alarm. Evidence of trouble. But the departure, in this case, is actually a good thing––for both sides.
It takes a special set of minds to create something as game-changing as Instagram.
But, as any successful founder knows, starting and running a company are two very different things. In the beginning, founders are almost purely creatives, problem-solvers running on inspiration—their work changes minute by minute, day by day.
The head of a machine as large as modern-day Instagram, on the other hand, has different priorities. They’re going to focus on things like:
Furthermore, Instagram now exists under the umbrella of Facebook, which means heightened expectations. Facebook wants Instagram to serve as part of its big data program, while moving in on the market share carved out by Snapchat. That’s likely not what Instagram’s founders imagined when they first started the business.
What Instagram needs, now, is a leader who can commit to those new goals and expectations without friction or pause.
The new Head of Instagram will be able to do just that. Systrom and Krieger, meanwhile, will be able to bring their prestige and marketability to whichever venture they take part in next.
That marketability will prove insanely valuable. One of the chief goals of a startup is gaining exposure––reaching as many people as quickly as possible. With their experience and reputations, Systrom and Krieger will be kingmakers.
But since the buyout in 2012, Instagram has exploded.
Before, Instagram was a growing app of 30 million users. It was a popular startup that captured the ideas and hearts of creatives and influencers across the world. But it needed Facebook’s prestige to become the massive success it is today. Instagram is now one of the most well-known social networks in the world, with more than a billion active members.
It comes down to basics: Facebook has an infrastructure the original Instagram team could only dream of. By integrating the photo-sharing platform within a network of billions of existing users, Facebook created a new audience for the site. The user base blew up, as did Instagram’s cultural impact.
With the departure of its founders and a Facebook exec placed at the company’s head, Instagram will become more integrated within Mark Zuckerberg’s system. Which means it’s further integrated into a network of 2.2 billion users.
That’s a lot of follows and likes.
For Facebook, the change in Instagram’s leadership will prove an intelligent decision.
For one thing, promoting from within will allow them to double down, as it were, on their mission to integrate Instagram more completely into Facebook. This creates a stronger revenue model in that it benefits Facebook’s advertisers and consumers.
The impact on advertising will be particularly impressive. Instagram will soon flip the script in this field with tools like integrated shopping, wherein users will be able to buy Christmas gifts from straight from their favorite accounts. If you love the sweater Selena Gomez’s dog is wearing in a Story, you’ll be able to purchase it from the actual page.
And that’s only the beginning.
With plans to compete directly with Youtube, for example––not to mention a commitment to further refine smash-hit features like Stories––Instagram will continue to play an important part of Facebook’s future. While buyouts and the departure of the company’s founders sounds rocky, in the end, both of these moves can only help Instagram.
The departure of Systrom and Krieger will prove a boon to the startup world. And Mosseri, as the new head of the company, will help make the new Instagram an even stronger app for advertisers, users, and its parent company alike.
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