Yesterday the cofounders of Instagram shocked Silicon Valley with their resignations from parent company Facebook. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced their intentions to leave citing the need to “explore our curiosity and creativity again”. In 2012 Facebook purchased Instagram for $1B, and kept the pair on to run the publisher as an autonomous business unit. Since then Instagram has flourished by outmaneuvering newer social platforms like Snapchat and grow to 400M monthly MAUs globally.
So why would Systrom and Krieger choose to leave? One theory is that Facebook is pushing aggressively to monetize Instagram as a hedge to the mothership’s flattening ad business. It’s common to see founders bristle at the commercialization of their baby, which could be the case here. In fact, last month WhatsApp (also owned by FB) cofounder Jan Koum resigned under pressure to start placing ads on the messaging platform.
Is it just me or does it feel like things are getting awfully lonely on Zuckerberg Island?