April 14, 2012
Is Instagram a tech company?

Is Instagram even a tech company? I'm not trying to be flippant here. I find this a real and interesting question. There's been hundreds of succesful social image sharing companies before and there's going to be a hundred more. In that sense, Instagram is just a recent hit in a string of hits.
In fact, Instagram's engineers keep it simple on purpose. They try to invent as little as possible.

The consumer side of the mobile revolution is more a media revolution than a technical revolution. Most of the hits are simply new rides at the amusement park, or fresh hit singles, because we got bored with last years' hits.
Isn't Instagram more the Angry Birds/Rovio of photos than the Apple of photos?

That's not to take away from Instagrams colossal succes, more power to them! It just means that we need to evaluate the succes differently. Instagram didn't disrupt or disintermediate or transform or restructure anything. Instagram entertained and connected a lot of people for some time. That's a different function than a typical tech company. It doesn't generate the same kind of aggregate benefits more and more tech output from a company does. It doesn't produce the kind of grinding deflationary pressure on older technologies, other companies, other kinds of photography, for instance, that we're used to. Sure, Kodak is dead - but didn't Apple do the killing? Was it Instagram? Weren't we sharing visuals at about the same clip before - just on Facebook + Photobucket + Twitpic + Yfrog + Flickr and on and on.

What's your take? Is Instagram transformative - or just this really nice way to share photos right now....

Posted by Claus at April 14, 2012 07:42 PM | TrackBack (0)
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