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Published by Kishan Patel

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Published by: Kishan Patel on Jun 18, 2012
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Meet The 28-Year-Old Who Made $400 MillionToday
By Nicholas Carlson | Business Insider
21 hours ago
Kevin Systrom is the cofounder and CEO of  Instagram,  which Facebook just acquired for $1 billion.  Reports say Systrom will make $400 million in the deal.Instagram is a photo-sharing app that launched just a couple years ago, and already has 30 millionusers. We'd love to talk to Systrom about the deal, how he got to where he is today, and his plans goingforward.But we can't.Facebook  is going to IPO next month, and that means its executives
now including Systrom
arerequired to honor the SEC's "quiet period" rules.Fortunately, Systrom is not just a wildly successful CEO, he's also a Quora addict. He's answered over 50 questions on the site.  Also, Systrom did a Q&A with Business Insider's Matt Rosoff last fall. Below, we've collected (and lightly edited) some of the best questions and on-record-answers fromthose resources to compile a Q&A with Silicon Valley's newest $400 million man.
 Depends what you mean by coding. I've been programming here and there since I was in middleschool. In high school I was excused from my foreign language requirement so I could take morecomputer science classes. The first real class I took was in Pascal, and then later in c++.Independently I started playing with MySQL and PHP, but never did anything significant.My freshman year at Stanford I took CS106X which was the first year's worth of CS in 1 quarter (it'susually two). I wouldn't say I did so well... I looked around and saw so many fantastically smart folksin that class and decided I was better off majoring in something like business. Looking back I wish Ihad stuck with it. It turns out that no undergrad class prepares you to start a startup -- you learnmost of it as you do it.
So anyway, long story short, I only took one CS class at Stanford, and instead of majoring in it, Icoded basic projects on the side for fun (a student marketplace, an internet radio station, etc). AtOdeo as the intern I picked up Ruby on Rails but forgot it quickly as I took a marketing job atGoogle.  Only at my next job at Nextstop would I say I went from being a hobbyist to being able to write codethat would go into production. The lesson I take from this all is that a) don't give up so quickly if it'ssomething you actually enjoy and b) 99% of what I do on a daily basis I learned on the job --classes/majors can prepare you to learn on the job, but *doing* the work is where you learn what you'll use every day.
 Our filters are a combination of effects
curve profiles, blending modes, color hues, etc. In fact, Iusually create them in photoshop before creating the algorithms to do them on the phone
 I wish that I could say it's more interesting - but often it has to do with the inspiration for the filter...a type of film, a photo we've seen, or simply what we were doing at the time.
 From day one. We realized that if we were going to do photos, that we'd have to be different andstand out. Square photos displayed really well in a feed format and frankly we just liked the aspect ratio better. It wasn't much more complex than that.
 I was born Dec. 30th 1983
  Yes. I've been doing mostly backend work lately 
python/django stuff.
  A long week of searching for something that combined the 'right here right now' aspect of what we were trying to accomplish with the idea of recording something in your life (hence the suffix -gram).
 We also wanted something relatively unique. We had a bunch of other names that were in therunning, but there were lots of other apps with names that were too similar. Another characteristic was whether or not you could tell someone the name and they could spell it easily.
It's hard to answer this question, because there's the client and then there's the server. Most of the server code was taken from Burbn.(For those who never used Burbn, Instagram looks/feels/acts a lot like burbn, only it's focused on posting a photo). That code took many months to develop,refine, and turn into libraries that we can use internally on just about any project. We built themknowing we'd likely reuse them in other experiments down the road. We learned *a lot* along the way that made Instagram act the way it does currently.The app itself took about 8 weeks.
It was just two.
Instagram is an app that only took 8 weeks to build and ship, but was a product of over a year of  work.The story starts when I worked at Nextstop. While I was there working in marketing, I started doingmore and more engineering at night on simple ideas that helped me learn how to program (I don'thave any formal CS degree or training). One of these ideas was combining elementsof foursquare (check-ins) with elements of Mafia Wars (hence the name Burbn). I figured I could  build a prototype of the idea in HTML5 and get it to some friends. Those friends ended up using theprototype without any branding elements or design at all. I spent weekends working on improvingthe prototype for my friends. At a party for the Hunch folks I ran into a bunch of people who would  basically make starting Burbn a reality. At that party were two people from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.I showed the prototype, and we decided we'd meet up for coffee to talk about it. After the first meeting, I decided to take the dive and leave my job to go solo and seeif Burbn could be a company. Within two weeks of leaving, I raised $500k from both Baseline and Andreessen Horowitz, and started work on finding a team.

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