In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Burbn, a location-based check-in app. While the app gained some popularity, it wasn’t enough to make it a hit. However, Burbn’s creators noticed that one of its features, photo sharing, was particularly popular among users. They decided to focus on this feature and rebranded Burbn as Instagram. In this post, we’ll delve into the fascinating story of Instagram’s origins and how it became the social media giant we know today.

    The Beginnings of Burbn

    Burbn was Kevin Systrom’s brainchild. While working as a product manager at Google, Systrom developed a passion for photography and nurtured a longstanding interest in creating his own app. He teamed up with Mike Krieger, a Brazilian software engineer he met while studying at Stanford University.

    Burbn was launched in March 2010 as a check-in app that allowed users to share their location with friends. At the time, Foursquare, a location-based social networking app that was gaining popularity, served as the inspiration for the app. Burbn also allowed users to share photos and notes, but it was primarily a check-in app.

    The Pivot to Instagram

    Despite Burbn’s promising start, Systrom and Krieger noticed that users were particularly drawn to the app’s photo-sharing feature. They decided to focus on this feature and stripped away the other elements of Burbn to create a new app: Instagram.

    The new app was launched in October 2010 and, consequently, focused exclusively on photo sharing. Instagram not only allowed users to take photos but also provided them with the ability to apply filters to enhance their images. Moreover, users could easily share their photos with their followers, making the app incredibly popular. Thanks to its simple interface and user-friendly features, Instagram quickly became a hit among smartphone users.

    The Rise of Instagram

    In its first year, Instagram gained 1 million users. By 2012, the app had 30 million users. Facebook took notice of Instagram’s success and bought the app for $1 billion in April 2012.

    Under Facebook’s ownership, Instagram continued to grow. The app introduced new features, such as video sharing and Instagram Stories. It also became a powerful marketing tool for businesses, with influencers and brands using the platform to reach new audiences.

    Today, Instagram boasts over 1 billion active users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide. Moreover, its impact on the digital world has been truly significant, influencing various aspects ranging from fashion and beauty to travel and food.


    The story of Instagram’s origins is a testament to the power of pivoting and listening to your users. By focusing on photo sharing and stripping away the other elements of Burbn, Systrom, and Krieger created a social media giant that has changed the way we share and consume content online. What do you think of Instagram’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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