26-Year-Old Programmer Built a $1 Billion App In 2 Years — After Following His Girlfriend’s Advice

“You should probably add filters”

Snippets of wisdom from Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram

  1. Learn just enough to be dangerous.” — Kevin is a self-taught coder, but he admits he would never be able to build Instagram without the help of his more proficient friends. Instead, he advocates learning enough about a subject to build an MVP, and then bringing on real talent once you know the demand is there.
  2. You’re never ready, but that’s the fun part.” — you don’t build a billion-dollar company at 26 by waiting for enlightenment. You get your hands dirty, and you see if any gems emerge from the mud you dig up.
  3. The hardest part is finding the problem to solve; solutions come pretty easy.” — alludes to Einstein’s “understand the problem and the solution will emerge” wisdom, which is extremely relevant today, because we live at a time when our problems aren’t obvious, and the solutions aren’t that complex.
  4. Great ideas are about editing the bad ones out.” — exactly what happened with Burbn.
  5. One day on the job is more than one year in a book.” — big words coming from someone who has a pile of books on his bedside at all times. If I were you, I’d take it at face value.

“If I could only read two books, I would read these two books”

“Principles” by Ray Dalio

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

Four reasons why Instagram became a $1bn company in two years

#1. Instagram was ridiculously simple

#2. Instagram was born out of a field test — not imagination

#3. Instagram fit into an already existing ecosystem

#4. Kevin listened to advice, but made his own decisions

Keep it simple, stupid!

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