Kevin Systrom, one of the co-founders of Instagram, was recently interviewed by The Messenger about his current project, Artifact, a social news app. During the interview, he discussed various topics, including Instagram, Threads, and the original version of Twitter.
When asked about his thoughts on Instagram’s creation of the new app, Threads, which is a short-form social messaging platform similar to Twitter, Systrom admitted that it’s too early to tell if the project will be successful. However, he acknowledged that the launch phase went better than expected, recalling the words of a Twitter founder who once said that social platforms take time to succeed. Indeed, it took Twitter four years to reach its high level of success.
The main challenge for Threads is to differentiate itself from other platforms and make users see its unique value. Systrom recognized that the previous successes were partly due to Elon Musk’s decision-making, but if users don’t see any difference, the platform’s value diminishes.
Systrom speculated that if Elon Musk were to monetize his user base, it could provide an opportunity for Threads to compete for users again. However, he emphasized that it’s difficult to make any judgments at this point. He also revealed that the idea of monetizing user bases has been on his mind since his time working at Instagram under Facebook. The thought was that if a platform had a substantial user base, advertisements would naturally follow, and with enough users, such ideas would vanish.
In this interview, Systrom also discussed the latest feature of Artifact, which allows users to share interesting links with their friends, making the app more social. However, he acknowledged that there are still many challenges and opportunities for future development.
Lastly, he touched upon the current state of Instagram. Systrom admitted that comparing the platform now to when he was just a child is not fair. He witnessed Instagram’s tremendous growth and recognized its fierce competition with TikTok. The app has become a massive revenue generator for Meta, and it’s no longer the same Instagram it used to be in the past. Looking at it from a different perspective, it could be an opportunity for someone to recreate that past again.
TLDR: Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, was interviewed about his new project, Artifact, and discussed various topics, including Threads, the challenges of differentiation, and Instagram’s competition with TikTok. He also touched upon the possibility of monetizing user bases and the growth of Instagram under Meta.