Instagram

Instagram's Founders Say They're Resigning Because They Want New Challenges, But They May Also Want to Get Away From Zuckerberg

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving on a high note.
Instagram's Founders Say They're Resigning Because They Want New Challenges, But They May Also Want to Get Away From Zuckerberg
Image credit: Ben Gabbe | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
3 min read

How do you know when it’s time to make your next big move? Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom revealed yesterday in a company blog post that he and co-founder Mike Krieger would leave the photo sharing platform owned by Facebook.

“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Systrom wrote. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”

Systrom and Krieger are leaving on a high note. This summer, the 8-year-old company achieved a major milestone, hitting 1 billion users, up from 800 million in 2017.

Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion. Mark Zuckerberg released a statement via on Facebook’s Twitter account.

“Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents,” he said. “I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next.”

While wanting to generate new ideas and generally avoid the burnout that comes with driving at the same thing every day for eight years is certainly understandable and a healthy decision to make, reports of Systrom’s and Krieger’s exits noted that disagreements with Zuckerberg over Instagram’s independence and place within Facebook’s ecosystem ultimately led to their departure.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About IGTV, Instagram's New Longform Video App

While Instagram’s growth has been on a steady ascent, Facebook has spent much of the past couple of years weathering fallout from scandals, including Cambridge Analytica. As of July 2018, Facebook’s growth in the U.S. and Canada had leveled off, hovering around 185 million users. A Pew Research Center poll found that 44 percent of Facebook users aged 18 to 29 reported deleting the app from their phones in the last year.

How Instagram will change or become more or less incorporated to Facebook proper remains to be seen, but Systrom and Krieger’s decision is one that every entrepreneur can learn from.

When you’re building a company and investing so much of your time and energy into it, it's important to remember that as important as the work is to you, it is not all that you are. Change is scary, and so is leaving something you carefully crafted in the hands of someone who may not share your vision. But if there comes a point where you feel you need to do something else, it’s important to honor that.

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