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How I Made It: Kevin Systrom of Instagram

April 10, 2012|By Marla Dickerson
  • Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom, left, works alongside engineer Shayne Sweeney at company headquarters in San Francisco in April 2011. Facebook just bought the photo-sharing service for $1 billion.
Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom, left, works alongside engineer… (Associated Press / Marcio…)

So how did Kevin Systrom take Instagram from just another photo-sharing app to a $1-billion payday?

L.A. Times technology reporter Jessica Guynn provided a glimpse when she chatted with the entrepreneur last summer for the popular “How I Made It” Sunday profile.

You can read the full story here, but here are some quick hits on how Systrom made it big at the ripe old age of 28.

Love what you do: Instagram grew out of Systrom’s passion for photography. He’s been a shutterbug since he was a kid.  

Go where the action is: Systrom grew up outside Boston, but he got himself to Silicon Valley. He attended Stanford. He worked at Google. And he networked with technology luminaries. They included Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who invested in Instagram, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who just bought it.

Get celebs to use it: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, rapper Snoop Dogg and singer Justin Bieber are avid fans. Brands such as Kate Spade, Red Bull and Starbucks also use the service.

Eat molé: OK, that might not make you rich, but it will sure make you happy. In his rare free time, Systrom said he likes to prepare this Mexican specialty with his girlfriend. "Cooking is essentially a social activity," he said. "It's also very analog. It has nothing to do with tech."

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