Tag Archive: Instagram

Quick Thoughts On Facebook’s Acquisition Of Instagram

Not that you could dodge this news, but Facebook purchased Instagram today for One BILLION dollars. Yes, One BILLION. There’s plenty of speculation as to why Facebook purchased Instagram. From engineering resources to capitalizing on the fact that photos create great “stories,” there’s plenty of potential reasons. I’m sure there’s not 1 single reason and yes I do happen to think that one of the reasons was to stop Google from purchasing them.

All that said, here’s a few quick thoughts:

  1. It’s not about photos as stories
  2. I think a big part of the acquisition is all the geo-location data they just received. Think about it. Nearly every Instagram photo contains some type of geo data. That geo data is built on foursquare’s platform.  This allows them to out foursquare…foursquare…without having to buy foursquare. Keep in mind, Facebook purchased Gowalla earlier this year.
  3. The open graph is all about you and your interests. Instagram is the visual expression of those interests. It’s the food you ate, the people you were with, the sunset you saw, the slope you boarded down and more. Consider Facebook’s “Timeline” format. Instagram allows you to fill in the gaps…with visuals. Awesome. Brilliant.
  4. Hipstamatic was a competing app that burst on the scene roughly the same time as Instagram. They chose a pay per download model. They chose the micro payment approach, where as, Instagram took the let’s build something awesome…give it away for free…create a huge following…then sell it for a BILLION dollars.
  5. Facebook has struggled to monetize the mobile experience. At fMC, they announced that as part of Facebook Premium advertisers could FINALLY extend their ad buys to the Facebook mobile experience. Having Instagram as part of the Facebook family will allow Facebook to monetize the mobile experience like never before.

I’ve said for the past 2 years, we’re going to see more and more consolidation in the social space. Social is such a young industry, but it’s growing up very quickly. Today’s acquisition announcement shows us that it’s growing up even faster than many of us thought it would.

Instagram Is Suffering From A Case Of Twitter

99 times out of 100 I agree with Gizmodo.  Their writing, insights and thought leadership are usually spot on.  But, in a recent article titled, “Cut It Out Instagram Cheaters!” they’re definitely not seeing the forest for the trees. Nearly 2 years ago I wrote the following regarding Twitter’s business model:

“The problem with Twitter remains it has never innovated. All of the innovation has come through acquisition (eg Summize) or by third party products (eg Tweetdeck). For a company focused on the real time web, they certainly are quite glacial in their innovation. I think people will become bored by Twitter. Well, many people are, as evident by the fact 60% of people who create an account post once and never come back. 1 Billion? I just don’t see it.”

Fast forward to today and I was spot on.

  1. Twitter acquired Tweetdeck and Atebits to improve the app based twitter experience
  2. While the number of new accounts has increased, my 60/40 ratio has held true and actually gotten worse for twitter
  3. Google+ launched and has already siphoned off a large portion of twitter’s base
Mat Honan, who wrote the Gizmodo piece does a GREAT job of outlining ALL of Instagram’s MANY shortfalls.  Among them:
Instagram does not have a web-upload option. It barely has a website. It’s entirely mobile, and photos can only be sought-out through the app. Sure, each photo generates its own URL, but you can only get that URL if the photo is posted on another service like Facebook.

Given the overall tone of this post, you’d think I wasn’t a fan of Instagram.  Quite the contrary, I LOVE Instagram. I’ve recommended Instagram to and/or helped signup no less than 50 people.  I even tried to pitch Instragram on partnering with us at Walgreens…they declined, indicated they were not doing partnerships, and referred me to their API documentation.  Bummer.

I think they’ve built a great mobile app.  But, that’s what it is right now…an app.  Not a platform.  Not a network.  An app.  So long as it remains just an app with an API, the innovation will come from other hungrier and more innovative developers.  For example:

Postagram: Let’s you create postcards out of your Instagram photos.

Blurb: Let’s you create keepsake books from your Instagram photos.

I think what Mat is really frustrated over though are the clones/competitors that are popping up and creating Instagram like tools that aren’t built on the Instagram API and not germain to the “Insta” nature of Instagram.  For example Daniel Box’s GREAT Photoshop Actionsthat let you recreate the Instagram experience without ever using their app.

This photo, for example was taken on a DSLR (Nikon D700) and then processed using Daniel’s Photoshop Action.  I chose the Earlybird filter.

I think this type of innovation is a good thing.  Remember, Smartphones are still less than 40% of the market and on top of that Instagram ONLY works on the iPhone.

As Mat says in his article, “There is obviously no right way to Instagram. You use it for what you use it for.”  So long as Instagram continues to take a snail’s speed approach to innovation, other developers will bring to market features that fill in the gaps Instagram is creating.  I’m actually bummed by it all.  I love Instagram.  As an avid photographer I can see so much potential.  It’s disheartening to see them act more like IBM and less like a startup.  Instagram by design is supposed to be social, yet how they use social media to improve the product is decidedly unsocial.

John’s 2nd Birthday

Technically, the birthday is Wednesday, June 15, 2011, but we decided to celebrate his birthday today.  Great day for the celebration.  In the morning it was roughly 60 degrees and overcast.  While that might not sound like perfect weather, it’s ideal for great photos.  The overcast sky means no harsh shadows or squinty eyes.  We headed over to the baseball field for some early morning photos and this one was easily of my favorites.

The rest of the day was filled with fun.  Great food, family and friends created a very memorable day.  John definitely enjoyed himself and that’s all that really matters.

Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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