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Instagram’s Kevin Systrom Talks Virtual Reality

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Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram recently talked about Virtual Reality and working with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook in Bloomberg’s Studio 1.0. Instagram story started on Stanford University where Systrom was studying, and Facebook gave him an job offer. Kevin didn’t want to drop out of school, so he passed on the opportunity.

During the college years, he got his first taste of the startup world after being chosen as one of twelve students to participate in the prestigious Mayfield Fellows Program. The fellowship led to his internship at Odeo, the company that eventually gave rise to Twitter. After graduating Stanford, he joined Google as an ‘Associate Product Marketing Manager,’ working on Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets and other products. In total, Kevin spent two years at Google; during his second year, he joined the Corporate Development team, learning on how Google ticks.

Systrom also said that his first idea didn’t worked out. Instagram came out of a project called Burbn. The name of the project came through Kevin’s love for Bourbon and other spirits, mostly from Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee. In just one month after launching, Instagram grown to 1 million users, passing the 10 million users mark a year later. Today, this social media platform has over 400 million active users. The major breakthrough came through as Time magazine listed Instagram as one 50 Best Android Applications for 2013.

The teaming up with Facebook happened when two things happened – Zuckerberg liked Instagram app and wanted to buy it and Kevin’s desire to focus on the product rather than battling startup issues. In a move not similar to what happened with Oculus a year later, Mark liked the application and wanted to make it a part of Facebook family. At the same time, Systrom said that Instagram was struggling to keep the site up, fight numerous hack and spam attacks and more. It was only coming inside Facebook, when they started to use Facebook’s infrastructure helped Instagram to grow exponentially. Facebook’s adventures into VR also made a deep impact on Instagram.

“If our vision is make you feel like you can travel anywhere in the world in a fraction of a second, and experience anything that is happening in the world, imagine the day you can put on a headset and feel real experience anywhere in the world, that’s the kind experience we are trying to create and I thing Virtual Reality in the coming years will play a critical role in seeing that thing to come true.” concluded Systrom.

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