Instagram not just a photos and filters app insists Systrom at Le Web

Interviewed on stage at Le Web by our very own Alexia Tsotsis, Kevin Systrom, CEO Instagram, said the photo app is hitting a new watermark in adoption “every day”. Now on 14 million users , the app is now generating “60 photos per second” and “We’re only at the tip of where we want to be,” said Systrom.

As a former member of the Odeo podcasting team which went on to “pivot” into a little thing called Twitter, Systrom also counselled the audience into thinking not about great products, but “great teams”.

“In the last 2 months we’ve doubled staff, and will be about 10 people in a month. Even though Odeo didn’t go anywhere, it was clear that Twitter cam about because we learned ‘Team’ was so important.”

He also recalled how another failed project Bourbon failed not because they had a moment of revelation that it wasn’t going to work, but that they didn’t have that moment. “There wasn’t a dark moment with Bourbon. It’s the lack of that dark moment that kills most startups.”

Tsotsis pointed out that photo apps and filters existed before Instagram, so how did they get big? Instagram just made it easier to produce beautiful photos, as well as share, said Systrom.

But what if Apple of Facebook did an app with filters?

Instagram is not about filters, said Systrom. “The defensible asset is the community, nowhere else would you find such passionate users.”

In addition, they have Android and a web site to launch, so lots of growth left, he pointed out. “It gives us the potential to grow into a very meaningful company.”

Will they put ads into the stream? “The focus right now is growing the network. History shows you need to build out the network or no advertisers will care. Burberry, Audi, these brands are sharing pictures of their products, and that shows what will come with brands and the advertising experience in Instagram will be extremely engaging,” he said.

Photo by Paula Marttila