In his first public appearance since resigning as chief executive officer of Instagram last month, Kevin Systrom told the audience at the Wired25 Summit in San Francisco that he’s not retiring from the tech and business world. On the contrary, he thinks he may have “a few more Instagrams” left in him.
Granted, it’s not that easy to duplicate the social media company’s success, and no one knows that better than him and fellow departing cofounder Mike Krieger. At the outset, when they launched the business, the partners didn’t even have a business plan, Systrom admitted. And they had no inkling of what was in store for the company.
They couldn’t have conceived of someday selling it to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, nor imagine the drama that would follow. Systrom also surprised himself by sticking around for six years after the acquisition.
But recently, the parent company has been increasingly focused on aligning its various companies more firmly under the Facebook umbrella. Reportedly, the friction between Facebook ceo Mark Zuckerberg and the Instagram cofounders has been heating up over things like changes to the platform, staffing and other matters related to the parent company’s growing control.
Systrom didn’t deny those reports, simply saying, “No one ever leaves a job because everything’s awesome.” But, he added, there are no hard feelings.
Now he plans to rest up, focus on being a father to his newborn child, do some writing and brainstorm with Krieger to “explore our curiosity and creativity again.” And he seems heartened that at least he’s leaving the platform in a strong position, with more than a billion active users.
And he may not be on the court at Instagram and Facebook anymore, but he’ll still cheer them on from the sidelines.
“If this thing triples in size and becomes like the most important company in the world,” Systrom said, “that will be an awesome outcome for me — even if I’m not running it.”