The billion Dollar question

In one of our previous posts Mirella told you guys all about how entrepreneur are getting even younger, if you’re not familiar with it check it out right here.
Now as one of her examples she chose Instagram.

Instagram just sold for one billion Dollar to facebook!!! Instagram – a startup company that has only been on the market for roughly two years- sold for that kind of money! I was so stunned by this fact that in this Blog post I would like to take a closer look at what makes Instagram so special.
What are the key points for a billion Dollar idea?

Another post that visits the subject of what is needed for a successful business is Nourann‘s post on Nike’s success story. While I’m more concerned with what constitutes a good idea she takes a swing at long-term-success.

What is Instagram?

Instagram was developed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010 and is a word play on Polaroids, which were marketed as being instant and the idea that now you can send your pictures to other people by wire – very much like telegrams.
For those of you out there who are not familiar with Instagram yet, it is an iPhone application which allows people to take pictures, immediately edit them with different filters and then share them on their preferred social network such as Instagram’s own network service, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.
For anyone who wants to know a bit more about the concept just check it out right here.

The idea behind it

Before the development of digital photography people used Polaroids. The Instagram depicts a different generation Polaroid. According to ther creators they tried to combine the old idea and flare of a Polaroid with modern technology.
The idea is that now you can simply take pictures with your mobile phone, edit them to make your pictures beautiful and then upload to share them with your friends.

Another advantage of this idea is that you carry your phone almost everywhere. Instagram offers you the opportunity to capture unique scenery and create your own pictures simply by using your phone, no need for a single lens reflex camera.

In this short interview by Forbes Kevin Systrom gives a great overview about Instagram, the idea behind it and its future.

Its recipe for success

So far so good. Still does not sound that different or exciting to justify a billion Dollar does it?
Then what makes this business idea a huge success and other one’s a failure?

What many other business Blogs suggest as the key ingredient of Instagram’s success is that in a world where processes get more complex and elaborate as we speak Instagram keeps it simple, easy and convenient!

People today tend to believe that these are three of the most important aspects for a successful start-up company.

Instagram offers the opportunity to make ordinary pictures look extraordinary and that simply by working on your phone – no need for photoshop! How much more simple, easy and convenient does it get?
Another point argued to make Instagram such a hit is that they combine our feeling of nostalgia and longing for the old days with the convenience of modern time. Still that’s only speculation.

Fact though is that some sources estimate that Instagram has grown over 1600% in just one years! For more stats on Instagram just check out this website.

Another reason discussed as a source of Instagram’s success is that it markets “a world more connected through photos”. They advertise the concept that now you can share your life instantly with the people you love and again don’t people in our society just want to feel connected to someone?!

On their official website Instagramm summarizes their idea in three points, highlighting the points mentioned before:

  1. Mobile photos always come out looking mediocre. Our awesome looking filters transform your photos into professional-looking snapshots.
  2. Sharing on multiple platforms is a pain – we help you take a picture once, then share it (instantly) on multiple services.
  3. Most uploading experiences are clumsy and take forever – we’ve optimized the experience to be fast and efficient.

What can we take away from it

  1. Find a hole in the market – Instead of simply copying some app that’s already on the market Instagram found its own niche in our society. There needs to be a clear place in the market for your idea, otherwise it will simply disappear in all the other similar projects.
  2. Getting down to the essential – keep it simple and easy!
  3. Make it convenient for the customer!
  4. Instead of trying to do everything do one thing but do it right – Instagram chose photos and perfected not only the look but also the mobility and uploading process. Focus on one aspect and make it world-class
  5. Make use of major distribution networks – Instagram could be used on Facebook and Twitter, through these social platforms the app spread like a bush fire.
  6. Make use of the iterative process and keep being innovative – test your idea, then go back, reflect and improve. Systrom and Krieger developed a precursor called Burbn, which did not take off. When reevaluating they found out that the strongest and most used feature of Burbn was the uploading process. Therefore they focused on this feature and developed Instagram, which became an instant hit!
    Afterwards they moved on to develop Instagram for Android, which was released on April 3rd – and instant hit as well

Still all of these points are only the ingredients necessary for a successful start-up – the most important aspect and something only yourself can do is coming up with your own one billion Dollar idea. Go out, talk to your friends and find the idea that’s going to make you a billionaire!

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About Nicpic

My name is Nicola but I usually go by Nicky. I'm 21 years old and study International Business Management at the HWR in Berlin. Before moving to Berlin I spent a year traveling around Southeast Asia as well as Australia. I am very passionate about different cultures, languages and exploring the world, which is partially due to the fact that I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for four and a half years. Apart from that I am a huge music fan and love doing all sorts of team sports, whether it's Basketball, Soccer or Volleyball. Fastexposure is my first Blog, which I am really enjoying so far! I try to offer a great variety of topics always with a hint of humour and some personal experiences since I find those stories are easier and more enjoyable to read! Still I hope I can also always offer some interesting new facts. If you have any further questions,input, ideas or would like to be included as a part time Blogger just contact me! Cheers and enjoy our Blog!
This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Business and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The billion Dollar question

  1. HAS says:

    Hey Nicpic!

    I was very curious about reading your article, because I always get those Instagram information on facebook and always wondered what this actually is. You gave a nice overview, maybe you could add whether it is free or not and if you use it yourself and include some personal experiences. Moreover, I think you found an interesting aspect with connecting Instagram and the start-up scene. What I mean is you could have just inform us about Instagram whereas you added this whole start-up topic. I really liked this and your summary at the end. Nevertheless, mind your spelling and especially check the bold printed words (last billionaire is written wrong), because they are immediately attracting the readers attention. Try the proofread section when you are writing your next blog entry. It is very helpful, because I know myself that it is really difficult to recognize faults in your own text. To sum it up: informative article. Nice greetings from a hopefully future billionaire;)

  2. Pingback: Do not own! « Curiosity Killed The Consumer

  3. tkronsbein says:

    Hey Nicpic,

    I was curious to read your post as well, but not because I am interested in Instagram, because I think it is a stupid idea, which is not worth a billion dollar, I was interested in how you answer this Instagram-hype. I really liked that your post was really well structured. Moreover it was great that you refer to articles of other authors who wrote about a similar topic on your blog. However, I think it might be better to refer to these in the end of your article, otherwise people will click on it first and won’t read yours.

    In addition to sum up the history of this start-up, the best part of your article for me was your conclusion. I really liked this list where you summarized the essentials, what we can learn from these entrepreneurs. Because here I think you really nail it down to a very important point. The 6 ingredients an idea has to have in order to become famous and worth a billion.

    Anyways, there is one thing I want to add to the list. I think there are two additional skills YOU should have in order to find such an idea. I think you need passion, and even if young entrepreneurs become more successful in a short period of time at the moment, you definitively need endurance. This is important because without passion you can will give up when the smallest problem occurs and without endurance your idea cannot develop to a billion dollar idea.

    • Nicpic says:

      Hi Tizian,
      two very important points not only for a start-up company but for everything you try to achieve in life!
      I’m glad you found it useful since you and Christian are currently working on your own start-up company, right?
      Hopefully yours will sell for two billion one day 😉

  4. mirkalilka says:

    I am glad that you presented Instagram in your blog post. I frequently use Instagram and I really enjoy all the features you can use and all the filters which make your photo look professional. It is amazing! When I installed it on my iPod half a year ago, I didn’t know that Instagram would become so popular that it would sell for $1 Billion to Facebook.

    I think Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger definitely captured the exact spirit of the times and reached the contemporary consumer with their innovative idea. As I described in my first blog post “Zara’s fast fashion ideology vs. vintage clothing becoming a mainstream product” vintage clothes or furniture attract notice and hype and so do vintage photos.

    I have a vintage Polaroid camera and everybody who has one, too, knows how expensive the film is nowadays. The original film is no longer produced, but with the new film it is quite difficult to make cool photos like back in the old days since the film is too photosensitive. Therefore it is convenient what those two entrepreneurs invented, it is easy to handle, it is completely free, the result is awesome and you can share it immediately.

    Your chronological structure to explain what Instagram is and what made it so successful really appealed to me. I especially liked the summary at the end of your post because it also some kind of advice. However, I would have liked it even more, I you have put white space between each new aspect. That would be much better for the sake of readability.

  5. Mai says:

    First of all, great post! Very structured, easy to read and very informative. Since I don’t have a smartphone, I did not know about Instagram until lately. But if I had one, I would definitely download it. As you said it is very convenient and creates beautiful nostalgic effects, which is quite popular these days.
    What I liked the most about your post was the fact that you did not just introduce the idea but what we as future entrepreneurs can learn from it. You analyzed the root of Instagram’s success and converted it into a useful step by step plan for all of us. Seeing this really motivates me to think of a market niche 😀
    Moreover, this post really fits to the question Mirella has posed in the post before. Shows great communication between the authors.
    What I missed was maybe some personal experiences from you or people you know who use it. Just to have some point of views.

  6. kizaza says:

    Hey Nicpic,
    Thanks for your Instagram post. I was not surprised that facebook bought Instagram, I just thought 1 billion is a massive amount of money for a service that mostly 14 year old kids use. A very risky future investment? I think so! I guess 1 billion is not too much for facebook at the moment, but it was still too expensive. I once heard the saying “Facebook is like Starbucks, everybody hangs out there but nobody buys anything”! Do you think the idea is worth a billion?

    For me the core part of your post was the list with your six bullet points. Those were six excellent points, especially the last one! I feel that a lot of companies forget about the last point completely. What happened to big companies like Yahoo and Sony? It is essential that you keep pushing yourself to come up with new ideas. If Google remained a search engine only, we might not know the company these days.

    • Nicpic says:

      Morning Kizaza 🙂
      I agree that 1 billion is an incredibly high sum, but what we cannot forget is that facebook was missing a simple, convenient way to upload your pictures directly from your smartphone. So the billion dollar was a good investement in refining facebook. I loved your saying. I had never really thought about linking Facebook with Starbucks. Since they’re two very succesful companies the saying cannot be a hundert percent accurate though 😛
      Furthermore I also agree with your second point. It’s not just a problem for companies but a very general one. The saying “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it” does not seem to fit anymore in our society. We have to constantly keep improving and a lot of people don’t! Instead they rest on their achievements and think they have accomplished enough. Huge MISTAKE!!! As long as time doesn’t stop we can’t either, right?!

  7. Appreciate an additional instructive blog. Where by as well may I buy that type of internet data written in type of best approach? I’ve a job that i’m at the moment doing, i have been on the structure released designed for this kind of details.

    • Nicpic says:

      Hi I am not sure I understand your question correctly but if you try and explain it to me again I’ll do what I can to answer it 🙂

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