Mike Krieger

Mike Krieger

Co-founder, Instagram

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 07, 2015

Discussion

Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
Thanks everyone!
Zach Kahn
Zach Kahn@zkahn94 · Lead Podcast Marketing @ Vox Media
Do you have any plans to change the iOS icon? And if so, when?
Zach Kahn
Zach Kahn@zkahn94 · Lead Podcast Marketing @ Vox Media
@mikeyk Alright how about this: why haven't you yet?
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@zkahn94 @mikeyk 7 months later, here it is 😄 Detailed backstory on FastCo and more on PH.
Jamie Perkins
Jamie Perkins@inorganik · Maker of side projects
@rrhoover Puke! This new logo spews pandering to design trends and leaves a red hand-shaped smack mark on Instagram's identity
Evan Petrack
Evan Petrack@petrev01 · People Researcher; Loves GIS & Data
@inorganik @rrhoover I mean, don't disagree, but c'mon - the previous icon was also very pandering to the skeuomorphic trend of a few years back....so no surprises here.
Nathan Bashaw
Nathan Bashaw@nbashaw · Head of Product at Gimlet Media
From the outside, it seems like Instagram exploded out of the gate and never slowed down. Here we are, a few years later, and it's even surpassed Twitter by quite a bit. Two questions: 1) Is this narrative accurate, or were there slow patches? 2) Do you think the growth potential of a product is intrinsically connected with its core purpose and value it provides to users, or do you think optimizations can meaningfully change a product's growth trajectory? To me this is a really fascinating question. The popular narrative about Twitter right now is that they haven't grown as quickly as Facebook / Instagram / Snapchat / etc because of the management team and a failure to execute. But I wonder... Maybe different products have different natural growth rates, and optimizations can only do so much?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@nbashaw we definitely see some seasonal effects (kids going back to school, holiday season, Valentine's Day)...but the overall direction has been consistent. On #2--the way we look at growth efforts is helping capture intent that we were previously dropping on the floor. For example, making sure people can find a username when they sign up, or connect with the accounts they were looking for, or find out when one of their favorite accounts posts a photo. It's very difficult to change a product's retention curve, but you can work to get either more people into the funnel, or bend the curve in a few places where your own product is getting in the way.
Dan Li
Dan Li@kittylover34 · Product Lead, Shopbolt
Hey Mike, is Instagram on the road to more monetization? I'm seeing apps like Spring pop up, where they take the Instagram model and try to monetize quickly. Will there be a shoppable Instagram one day? How do you think that would impact the user experience? Thanks!
Leah Faul
Leah Faul@leahfaul · Program Manager
@mikeyk How do you determine which ideas are worth following and acting on and which ones should get thrown out or on the backburner?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@leahfaul a glimpse into our product process: we zoom out at 6-month marks and look at what's working and not working on the product, where the industry is going, and where we want to be in 6 months. Then, we have teams spring in 8 week chunks where each team (eg the IG Direct team, or the Search & Explore team) gets together, comes up with ideas and looks at data about how people are currently using the product, and then spends 6 weeks building and shipping their next iteration. Then we get together and check-in to see how we're tracking versus the 6 month plan. Within that process, we ended up throwing out way more ideas than we follow up on--and that ends up being a combination of intuition/product-fit, and opportunity sizing. For example, we might have a great idea but if it would take 2 months to build and only affect a tiny portion of our users' experience, it usually goes onto the backburner.
Chris Messina
Chris Messina@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
Do you see a future where indie Instagrammers are able to make a living sharing what they love on Instagram (i.e. making art, taking photos, etc)? Obviously there's the buy button and Etsy-like features for selling hard goods, but what about digital content?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@chrismessina hi Chris! We see this happen organically right now (even including IGers getting hired by national tourism agencies to show off a country's sights), but no plans to add to the product though in terms of buying/selling digital content.
Eric Willis
Eric Willis@erictwillis · Working on something new
@mikeyk Bom dia! Thanks for doing this AMA. I have a non-Instagram related question for you. How often do you go back to Brazil and what's your favorite place to visit in Brazil. I have dual-residency there (lived all over but spent a majority of my time living right near Avenida Paulista x Consolacao). So I've always been curious as to how much time you still spend in Brazil.
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@erictwillis about once a year! São Paulo will always be my home, though I also love taking folks to Bahia to see a different side of Brazil.
Sydney Liu
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
@mikeyk Hi Mike, Thanks for doing this AMA and for building an amazing product! It seems like most social networks get a group of users who love them a lot and then leverage them to share with friends. And then people who wanted the product to share wit their friends. And then people who were more ambivalent but still interested to get hooked. What did that process look like at Instagram? How did you optimize for the first initial group to share and what did that first initial group look like (I know it grew to like 10k users really fast so I imagine it may be hard to describe)? Thanks, Sydney
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@sydney_liu_sl thanks! the core of it was helping people create content that they felt was awesome and that they wanted to show their friends. If you zoom back to 2010, most mobile cameras were pretty "meh" and there was a large gap in between what people felt/saw in the moment, and how the photo came out once it hit your phone's sensors. Our initial work with filters was all about trying to bridge that emotional gap--and when it worked, it made people way more excited to share that with their friends. One other thing we did early on is that we wanted to seed the community with talented people who cared about app design + photography. So we went to Dribbble and found our favorite designers and reached out to see if they wanted to beta-test our app. We got two nice things out of that--app design feedback, and an initial community of folks that could see things out in the world and capture them in an interesting way.
Russ Frushtick
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
What's the single biggest change in the mobile space since you started Instagram?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@russfrushtick Android's growth and polish have probably been the biggest change--in 2010 the frameworks and design patterns weren't really there, and it's night and day from here to there. #2 would be the shift to more focused apps and app switching--in 2010 we didn't even have backgrounding! I think with Layout we found a good way of building a separate app that still can feel part of the main IG production flow.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Mike! BIG Instagram fan. It's one of the few apps that's become a fixture on my homescreen for years. I find it fascinating to see how IG has become a platform that enables so many other makers and businesses. Here's a collection of some just some of the creative apps and services built on top of your platform. How important is this to your business and do you have plans to open the API to support write capabilities (i.e., ability to upload photos or add comments to IG)?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@rrhoover no plans on opening up photo upload--it's one of the decisions Kevin and I made early on when creating the API and I think it's still the right call. Having posts all go through our mobile apps means that we can change something pretty fundamental (like allowing landscape and portrait) and instead of having an upload API out in the wild on potentially hundreds or thousands of different apps and versions, we just have to update our main app and anyone who's using iOS' Document Interaction or Android's Share Intent have the latest right out of the gate. Over time we've change a lot about that production flow--better location search, user tagging, etc--and it's another area where updating it in one place versus tracking API versions has helped. I think our API is at its best when used to bring IG content into stories (through our embed), or letting you take your own content with you through integrations like Strava.
Zack Shapiro
Zack Shapiro@zackshapiro · Director of Engineering at BUMP (YC W18)
Hey Mike! Features like "send this photo/video to a friend" have been happening for so long on Instagram with the crude @username comment, how long did it take you guys to design and build a solution that you were excited to ship? I have to imagine you were working on it for quite a long time. It's amazing, by the way, curious how long it all took.
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@zackshapiro we kicked off our Direct revamp around Q2 of this year--first we fixed some of the really obvious things (we didn't have any in-app notifications, for example) and then took a deeper look and realized that threads + resharing content was a huge opportunity. Turns out 40% of comments on popular accounts are just @username "reshares". The threading part was by far the hardest in terms of both design and engineering, especially on the storage side. The reshares were the "easy" part :)
Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones@rjonesy · Founder, Weather Line
Hey Mike! I'm kind of a details guy and thus obviously love Instagram's tight design. #1 Instagram is incredibly thoughtful and purposefully in its actions. Small tweaks today lay the groundwork for big features years down the road (See 2012: laying foundation for Places/Events/Nearby https://twitter.com/rjonesy/stat...). At FB shipping fast & iterating is heralded, how do you maintain the separate IG culture? #2 Also, what's the story behind the legacy limit of maximum 8 liked photos in Activity view still?!
Andy Hoang
Andy Hoang@andy_hoang · CEO - Founder
Any plans to fully open up your API in the future?
Tim Johnsen
Tim Johnsen@timonus · iOS at Pinterest, formerly at Flipboard.
@andy_hoang similar question, maybe not *fully* open up your API but do you have any plan or ideas about reallowing creation of likes/comments/follows through your API for folks not creating business applications?
Tyler Swartz
Tyler Swartz@tylerswartz · maker of things
Hi @mikeyk, thanks for taking the time today to answer questions. Post acquisition, what were some of the positive changes or resources that Facebook was able to contribute to Instagram? In other words, what part of Facebook (besides their large user base) have you leveraged the most to help grow and innovate at Instagram?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@tylerswartz The #1 thing (far above anything else) has been help with recruiting and building out our team, on engineering, design, PM and beyond. On resources, we work most closely with their infrastructure, spam, and monetization teams. On infra, there are internal services we've been able to use to make our site far more reliable and capable, and we now run in multiple data centers that are geographically distributed. On spam, we've been able to replace a super janky home built system with Facebook's far more robust machine-learning systems. And on monetization those teams have shared years of what they've learnt and also have built great relationships.
Tyler Swartz
Tyler Swartz@tylerswartz · maker of things
Thanks for the answer @mikeyk!
uking3
uking3@uking3
Hey @mikeyk - I've heard you are a music lover. What are you listening to these days? What are some of your favorite artists to listen to while working?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@uking3 nowadays "work" means 1:1s and meetings so not so much music listening :) but on the shuttle from/back from San Francisco I've been listening to a lot of Julia Holter lately, her new album is 👍
Ali Ahmed
Ali Ahmed@aliahm081 · Mechanical Engineering Student
Who's mentored you throughout your successful ventures, professionally and personally? Why does a mentor matter?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@aliahm081 having mentors with distinct perspectives has been really helpful. Matt Cohler was an amazing mentor for us as we scaled the company, since he brought the perspective of seeing multiple companies go through hypergrowth. On engineering, I was fortunate to have worked for some great eng leaders like Elaine Wherry at Meebo and Dave Loftesness at Xmarks, who taught me how to balance building the right thing, with building things the "right" way.
Jefferson Matos
Jefferson Matos@_jeffersonmatos · Jeffferson Matos
@mikeyk verifica a minha conta no Instagram de presente de aniversário por favor _jeffersonmatos
Behrouz
Behrouz@behrouzix · PhD Candidate at Manchester Biz School
Hi Mike. Happy belated Instagram's birthday to you! What was the biggest challenge you had during the first year at Instagram? How did you overcome that?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@behrouzix keeping the site up through crazy growth while trying to learn as much as I could about infrastructure, database sharing, memcached scalability, Redis performance...all of it was very new to us and we had to learn "on the job" :)
Brian Krall
Brian Krall@bkrall · Lead Front-end Developer, Tovala
@mikeyk How does Instagram approach their web app? How was it decided which features would work for iOS vs. what works on the web (i.e. posting photos, search, etc.)?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@bkrall we still see ourselves as a primarily mobile experience--the Web for us works best to either give people a public presence for their IG content (with public profiles), as a way for journalists and others to find content (using search), and as a way of sharing content beyond IG (through embeds). Building primarily on mobile means we have fewer surfaces to worry about when we change or revamp a feature--implementing something twice (iOS and Android) is already enough :)
Willy Simonsson
Willy Simonsson@wiillyson · Founder of Sodio
Hey @mikeyk, was there any moment during the building of Burbn/Instagram that you had a lot of doubt and wasn't sure whether things would turn out well?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@wiillyson every day! :) Part of the challenge of those first few years was staying sane and on track while dealing with the doubt of whether this thing would ever work. The way we kept going was to set weekly goals starting on Monday, ship a new beta version to our testers on Friday, and learn over the weekend. That way, even if we went off track (and at times we did!) we'd only have lost a week, and still had a sense of momentum and learning.
tudor capraru
tudor capraru@tudorcapraru · software developer
@mikeyk Hi mike. Is there an android version for hyperlapse in the making?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@tudorcapraru nothing in the short term, unfortunately. Recent Android updates have gradually started adding the APIs we need, but we've found their implementations to not be consistent enough yet to get us to the quality level we'd like.
Nikolay Derkach
Nikolay Derkach@nderkach · Digital Refugee
Hi Mike, I heard that at some point you were almost forced to leave US because of your visa situation and you considered quitting Instagram. At that point did you consider working with your team remotely? Do you think it was crucial for the success of the company for everyone to stay in US? Could you give any other advice to foreign founders in the same situation? Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@nderkach hi Nikolay! We've just set up our first engineering presence outside of California, in NYC, and we're in learning mode of all the challenges of time zones, video conference, etc. I've seen some companies definitely make the remote setup work, but when I think back to the intense 1:1 time I spent with Kevin in the early days, I think that would have been very very difficult to do remotely. In terms of advice--if you're forced to be distant, maximizing as much 1:1 time in person through a shared trip or visit would be my instinct.
Catherine Shyu
Catherine Shyu@cthrin · PM in crypto
Hey Mike! I'm sure you guys have thought about the live video trends happening with Periscope, Meerkat etc. Any thoughts on how Instagram might address that?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@cthrin hi Catherine! we see a lot of great footage from events right now on Instagram, but there's a lot of work to do to organize it/make it easier to watch. Stay tuned, no pun intended :)
Tim Johnsen
Tim Johnsen@timonus · iOS at Pinterest, formerly at Flipboard.
Hey @mikeyk! Huge fan, thank you for building such a great product. 1. I was wondering if the company has any plans to build an iOS share extension or support sharing via UIActivityViewController from within the app. I'm a fan of those two iOS technologies and I'd love to see them in Instagram! 2. I'm also working on an Instagram client for the Apple TV and I wanted to ask in earnest if there's any way one request like/comment/follow for apps other than business apps. I know the Instagram API permitted this some number of years ago, and I understand the rationale for removing it (spam/abuse can be really bad), but still just wanted to ask! Thanks!
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@timonus thanks Tim! #1 On Share extension, right now the way we're architected we'd have to almost double in binary size to do the Share extension right--as we modularize things it's something I'd love to revisit. On the native sharing, I'll ask the team to take another look--right now we have built-in FB and Twitter link sharing for photos in feed, and could be nice to open up sharing to others from that UIActivityViewController. On #2, thanks for asking--we found that in the long run it's better to be clearer and more narrow about API use cases that we're supporting for those write APIs, even though there are some legitimately cool apps that could be built on top of them.
Dan Li
Dan Li@kittylover34 · Product Lead, Shopbolt
Hey Mike, what marketing channel/campaign helped with initial traction the most? Knowing that Instagram definitely has the network effect, I would love to hear about how you first spread the word and successfully built a group of users and brand advocates. Thanks!
Shatonia Salhab
Shatonia Salhab@livetobeknown
@mikeyk I have a proposition for you, would be ecstatic if you would spare a minute to listen to my cause
Shatonia Salhab
Shatonia Salhab@livetobeknown
Hey @mikeyk are you an active user of your Instagram. It sounds crazy to ask but I am making reference to your personal page. Do you just post and leave or do you scroll about? Like stuff...watch videos, read messages - message other people?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date and why?
Bernard O'bien
Bernard O'bien@bernard_o_bien
Hi!! @mikeyk, Thanks for taking out time to answer Qns. What is the future of interactive and curative sharing(3D views and geo tagged shopping experiences)? Do you see Instagram leading the charge in this respect?
Teresa Hammerl
Teresa Hammerl@colazionearoma · Socialmediapreneur
Hi Mike, how did you celebrate Instagram's birthday yesterday?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@colazionearoma we got the company together to celebrate--seeing how the team has grown and how much talent I'm surrounded by makes me super excited about the next birthday :)
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
@mikeyk Hey Mike! Thanks for doing this! What do you think you'd be doing today if it weren't for Instagram?
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
Hi Mike, what do you think will be the biggest revolution / advancement / update when it comes to photo and images over the next 5-10 years?
Jefferson Matos
Jefferson Matos@_jeffersonmatos · Jeffferson Matos
@mikeyk Olá mike eu gostaria de ter uma conta verificada no Instagram. garanto que eu tenho um público no Twitter e outras redes sociais. Agradeço pela atenção!!! 🇧🇷🇧🇷
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@mikeyk i love Instagram and it has Made me fall in love With photography again. What does nstagram plan to do for growth? I am really keen for the market operations team and would love to learn more about Instagram hiring strategy. Thanks!
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@neeeharika one of the most important things we can do for growth is make Instagram work better in places that don't have great cell service. Right now our Android and iOS teams are taking a look at how we do networking and image downloads to see if we can make IG work way better in places like Brazil, which have a ton of smartphone users but can have very flaky connections.
falling for a square
falling for a square@ffas_ · musician
@mikeyk - blue album / pinkerton ? go.
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@ffas_ hi! definitely Pinkerton--can you believe that album will be 20 years old next year?
Nakul Verma
Nakul Verma@nakulve · Coder, 91springboard
@mikeyk Instagram is a really visual social media platform which is one of the reasons why the engagement rate among users is so high. What I would want to understand is how does one think about the values or attributes in their product that they probably can leverage for high user engagement. My question is in regard of both online platforms as well as offline community offerings like coworking spaces.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
Hey @mikeyk, so great to have you here! How is the Instagram team thinking about regram functionality? A lot of makers don't like the idea of it, but it's also a big opportunity for social amplification within the platform. Will the future of Instagram make it easier to share or click-to-buy/learn more about makers and products?
Mike Krieger
Mike Krieger@mike_krieger
@melissajoykong hi Melissa! We started with 1:1 or 1:small group reshares with the new Direct and we're learn from that to figure out if a broader reshare option makes sense. Our primary concern is not having feeds feel cluttered but still allow great content to spread--which right now it does either through the small-group Direct sharing, or through Explore.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Mike! What apps do you use most often?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Jesar Shah
Jesar Shah@jesarshah · Product Management, Doxa
Hi @mikeyk ! Absolutely love the product, but one question I have about functionality is: why can't users download photos from Instagram?
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
At first, people thought Instagram video would put Vine out of business. They seem to tackle two very different markets. Is there a segment that Vine dominates that you'd like Instagram to move into?
Shashwat Pradhan
Shashwat Pradhan@shashwatpradhan · CEO/Founder @emberify
Hi @mikeyk do you have any plans to showcase apps developed using the Instagram API? Also to combat the hundreds of 'Get xyz likes for Insta' off the app stores?
Vinay Mimani
Vinay Mimani@wiredmau5 · Founder : trbble
Hi Mike! As for your vision for Instagram, how excited are you about integrations like Flipagram? Do you think integrating with a music service will lead to better retention/engagement time on the app? Also, don't you think enabling desktop login might get you a similar content strategy like Pinterest? Thanks
Juan Pedro Córica
Juan Pedro Córica@jpcorica · Co-Founder of www.qmax.com.ar
How much do you think Instagram performance influenced in the success of your photo community?
Stephan Ango
Stephan Ango@kepano · Co-founder, Lumi
Hi Mike! IGer since day one. I have tremendous admiration for your restraint on the product development side. The app has continually improved, though it remains true to what it was when it started. 1. What are some of the technical challenges you encountered building the ad product? Do you plan to build any IG-specific tools to track performance or will all that be managed through Facebook's ad platform? 2. Do you ever plan on adding multi-user support? For many of us switching between personal / business accounts is a real limiting factor.
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Thanks for being here Mike! It's been a pleasure.
Leo Faria
Leo Faria@lhfaria · Founder @Saasmetrics
Hey @mikeyk, thanks for doing this AMA. Amazing to have you here. I'm a fellow Brazilian working to build an international product - www.saasmetrics.co. What advice would you have for me since you've walked this path so successfully?