Instagram Was Born Next to a Glass of Whiskey. When Kevin Systrom and Mark Krieger met, they couldn’t think that they would start the most important networking project of the decade. Their ways had been separated their whole lives. Systrom had grown up in Google as a product executive before going out to the world. He and Krieger created a check-in tool that allowed users to post their plans. It was called Burbn, and it turned out to be very complicated for the average user.
What happened next? As they saw that users wanted no complication in social networks – they were calling for an intuitive app – they focused on pictures. Burbn had a function that let users send pictures to each other and proved to be the most used one. That’s how Instagram was born, or re-born, from the ashes of its older sibling Burbn.
However, they had no business ideas at all
Systrom and Krieger developed what would later be known as Instagram simply because they wanted. Ars gratia artis. They didn’t keep the name Burbn – which had been given to it because of whiskey. Systrom was very fond of Kentuckian whiskeys, so he named their application after one of his favorite things. Then came Instagram, which is a blend of Insta(nt camera) and (tele)gram.
It was officially launched in October 2010, exclusively through App Store, and it got one million users only in one month. In a year, ten million were already sharing their pictures through the app. The funniest part about this is that Instagram – in a way similar to other projects which didn’t have a defined business plan, such as YouTube or Twitter – didn’t have a way to go. None of its creators knew where it would go. Then came Facebook and they became billionaires.
Everything thanks to a bottle of Kentucky whiskey.