Last year, in an effort to give shape to The Interface’s coverage area, I posted a public list of questions that I hoped to investigate over time. I saved my favorite one for last: why did Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger really leave Instagram? In the months since the co-founders abruptly quit, we’ve gotten more details about the split. We learned that increasing tension with Facebook, combined with an unusually long post-acquisition tenure at their acquirer, had made them antsy. But we still never knew what specifically led them to resign, or why it was announced in such a hurry. Today, with the publication of Nick Thompson and Fred Vogelstein’s 12,000-word account of Facebook’s past year and a half, I am happy to say that the mystery is now solved. Drawing on interviews with 65 current and former employees, the Wired authors paint a detailed picture of the steps leading to Systrom and Krieger’s departure. According to their reporting, the timeline goes like this: Instagram’s rapid rise bred resentment at Facebook, where some top executives came to feel that the acquisition was siphoning growth and engagement away from the core Facebook app. As Mark Zuckerberg prepared to reorganize his executive team for the first time ever, the Instagram founders pushed for then-News Feed chief Adam Mosseri to be their official delegate from the mothership. They liked him and thought he could be an effective buffer against intrusive Facebook demands. After Systrom participated in magazine profiles, Zuckerberg declared that no one… [Read full story]
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