A picture is worth … a billion dollars

Image courtesy of FreshnessMag.com

Barely two years young, Instagram will be acquired by Facebook to the tune of a cool $1B.  Here are some lessons from this acquisition:

1. Work on something that people will use.  And share.
I don’t have Instagram on my iPhone, but have seen its proliferation on Facebook.  A quick litmus test – if I see it being used extensively by my relatives, it must have legs. The app was built to be able to insta-share it with friends/network from the very beginning.

2. Keep It Simple… Sir
Why install another app when the Facebook app on iPhone already interfaces with the camera? Because it takes me multiple steps to select, upload, place on album, and share photos using Facebook.   Instagram makes these steps simple, easy-to-use and, well, instant.

3. Focus, focus, focus. But leave room for creativity.
Instagram’s first version was on the iPhone.  No Blackberry app.  No Android app.  All its efforts were focused on making the best experience for their iPhone users, filter feature included.

So, interested in building the next billion dollar company?  Don’t be the next Instagram (that ship has sailed), but learn from how they successfully built a billion-dollar app.

Post script 1: If a picture is worth a billion dollars, what would pages and pages of pictures be worth, Pinterest?

Post script 2: This is all happening in the heels of Kodak reeling and struggling to keep what’s left of their employees happy: http://on.msnbc.com/HY2Zzd

Post script 3: For comparison, Flicker was acquired by Yahoo for $35M seven years ago: (Dan Primack: http://bit.ly/HE08wc)

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